Originally, the tiny cardboard home pictured was designed, built, and decorated for our household population of stuffies.
They hung out in there for a while. A unicorn and a hippo and one of Santa’s elves, among others, cohabited peacefully in somewhat cramped conditions. Eventually, they seemed to find their way back to other, more conspicuous locations (sprawled on beds, stairs, dining room tables, etc.). Still, the kids didn’t want to part with this box.
Then, we got kittens. Sometimes, they pretend some small prey has scurried into the box. There’ll be a lot of commotion coming from inside, and when we peek in the door, a cat will glare back at us, looking annoyed at having been disturbed, but also slightly embarrassed about having been caught pouncing on a non-existent enemy.
Anyway, this cardboard box got me thinking about space. Our personal space, our longing for a place of our own.
As kids, we were forever building blanket/snow/cardboard forts, or climbing into tents or closets or other household nooks and crannies. A kid with a treehouse was the envy of the neighbourhood. Even our dolls had miniature houses.
My kids, too, are charmed by tiny spaces. They’re getting pretty creative with their blanket forts – now they’re being designed with multiple rooms and entrances.
I wonder if the childlike attraction to small spaces has something to do with our innate desire for security, for protection. For privacy – to have a warm, secluded place to be alone with our books or our Ninja Turtles or our Pokémon cards. Where we can be ourselves, separate from the real world, which is filled with boring things like adults and chores and vegetables.
Other times, when we share these special spaces, maybe it’s a means of bonding with our selected siblings or friends – a restricted turf that’s ours, and only ours. We’re part of something. We belong.
Maybe our makeshift rooms are just safe places where we can pretend we’re bears, or astronauts, or dragon-slayers.
Or wild cats, hunting our prey.
(A rather unusual submission for Norm’s Thursday Doors)