On the way home from a long weekend last night, Miles described his plans to turn his bedroom into an aquarium, complete with cardboard waves and sharks. Came home tonight to find all of my aquarium equipment intermingled with his project stuff – a giant barnacle around the neck of a giraffe, plastic plants decorating his globe, feathers sticking out of driftwood, rows of cowry shells conjoined to strings of fish on parade. He was disappointed that I had promised him there was coral in the aquarium supplies box, when all he found was brain coral (i.e. “not real coral”).
In the afternoon, he started taping and gluing cardboard and wood like crazy, and asking to borrow scissors. Amy found him stabbing the scissors into a block of scrap wood and asked about his plan. “I need a hole for a mast.” Amy responded that he needed a drill for that, not a pair of scissors. “No, I need a square hole.”
From there, he set in on making a “real” aquarium – inverted a plastic bowl over another bowl of water, gingerly placed plastic sea creatures into it. Looked lovely. Then came time to feed the fish. In went handfuls of Peanut Butter Panda Puffs, dirt, Cheerios, and real fish food. The slopfest is sitting out on the deck now, waiting for morning cleanup.
After dinner, he started separating his plastic animals into two separate parades: “Shiny” and “not shiny.” Took a while to figure out he meant “perfect” and “not perfect,” where “not perfect” means any animal with the slightest blemish. Then we had to build a home for the imperfect animals – cardboard box with cut-out windows and doors, and a red construction paper top. Only when the project was complete and all imperfect animals loaded in did he reveal the full plan: Imperfect animals are “stupid and dumb,” so we have to put them in a home out on the street so someone will take them away. Tried to explain that the animals cost money and we shouldn’t be giving so many away. He answered, “They’re not that expensive – they only cost 19″ (19 has replaced 40 as his catch-all number). I lost that round, but brought the box back in after he went to bed; he’s going to be ticked at me in the morning.