The House Within Our House

He excitedly tells me where he and his friend hid in their game of Hide and Seek: behind the bathroom door, behind the chair in his room. The best place, where he says his friend never found him? Under the covers of our bed. Interesting. I may need to shut the door next time.

He’s making a list.

My son sleds down the little hill in our back yard. The hill is long and steep enough to get a good fast ride down the hill without over-tiring on the walk back up. “I can make it past the second tree sometimes!”, he says.

He’s defining the parameters.

I remember the spot in my childhood home where I needed to start running… to get enough momentum… to do a jumping somersault on my parent’s bed. I knew I could jump higher on my parent’s bed than on my bed, and wouldn’t have to worry as much about falling due to the larger size. I knew how to sneak into the living room and hide behind a certain chair to spy on the conversation of grown-ups. I remember the house within my childhood house.

These days my son hides under the same dining room table that I hid under when it sat in my grandmother’s dining room. He knows a good hiding table when he sees one.

He’s building a map.

He knows that the sofa pillows are large enough to rest against the sides of the living room table and create an enclosed fort.

His blueprints are being sketched.

His view of our house is unique. He catalogues and tabulates his evolving inventory as he inches upward, his back against the kitchen door jamb where the pencil marks accumulate. Before long, he will have a secret language with his friends that describes features of our house that I know nothing about.

He’s building a house inside of our house.

So, I ask him about his game of Hide and Seek and try to mask my surprise at hearing he hid from his friend under the covers in mommy and daddy’s bed. I laugh with him as he tells me that he yelled to his friend that he was downstairs when he was really upstairs. I share his disbelief over his friend tiring before he did (although I am not surprised).

I ask him about his other favorite hiding places. He looks at me. “I’m not going to tell you where the places to hide are because then you’ll find me. It won’t be a game”. It was worth a try.

I stay in his house within our house with him as long as he will let me.

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7 thoughts on “The House Within Our House

  1. Hats off to you for interpreting your lil boy’s actions and giving it such a higher purpose. These skills are a must to survive and to do well in life.

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  2. Thank you both. I particularly enjoy thinking about children having a completely different perception of the home than adults do. We don’t have the same priorities, after all!

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  3. A lovely post! I remember too nooks and crannies of the houses we stayed in as children and how perfect they seemed for our play. The secret world of children is really fascinating.

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    1. I sometimes wish that I could see our house as my children do. I’ll bet it’s a very different place than what I see from an adult perspective!

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