Monday, March 02, 2009

Hanging Gumballs is Not a Euphemism

I thought I'd update you on what I have been up to with Little lately and some of the plans we have for this new house. (Sidenote, if you are new to this blog, and you might be today, "Little" is my little sister from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. She's also frequently my partner in crime.) Little now has her "own" room. We haven't clearly defined exactly what she'll be doing with this room, but since there is a room free, it is all hers. We've been picking out furniture, paint, and decorations for her room. So far this involves a daybed from Ikea, lavender colored walls, a moon chair (like from the movie Men in Black), a desk, and hanging gumballs from the ceiling. Don't worry we'll come back to the gumballs in a minute.

Here's the bed she wants-

It comes with an optional pull out headboard that can convert into a desk and has a hiding spot inside of it. She has big plans for that hiding spot. What exactly she thinks she needs to hide from me in my house still has not yet been discussed. We've also discussed getting her this bed instead, because in all likelihood she will be sharing this room with a foster child some day. She likes this one because we can put a desk or a couch or another bed under the bunk.

As you can see, we have been quite busy planning out her room. I'm going to put a plug for myself out there. If you happen to know where I can get one of these great beds, or ones just like it, for way less than retail, please share. I am a girl on a budget!! Now, before I get to the gumball hanging (and I know you want to know, because really, why wouldn't you?), I'm going to answer the other question you are too polite to ask. Why would I go to all this trouble for a child that doesn't actually live with me?

The answer is actually quite simple. First, she doesn't know it yet, but I'm teaching her how to plan something from beginning to end. Minus the budget aspects of it all, she's learning how to figure out what she needs, how to get it, and what kind of time and effort it takes to make it all happen. This was all her idea. And now she's learning that you don't just wave a magic wand to get what you want.

Next, she's incredibly creative. Just this past week she won an art award for the State. (not that she bothered to mention it to anyone!) She writes songs and poetry. She creates things. And what I like most is that she's not lost in her imagination. She's learned how to apply her very creative imagination and make things happen from it. I'm in a unique situation where I can give her a lot more space to be creative right now. And so I'm letting her run with it and figure out how to make her crazy ideas happen!

Which brings me to the gumballs raining from the ceiling. Somewhere along the way when I was nixing her splatter paint idea and a few other ideas that don't go well in rented homes, she suggested raining gumballs from the ceiling. I'm pretty sure I nixed that idea too. And then she came up with a variation on the idea where when you open the bedroom door (or I think she said walk through the beads we'll hang in lieu of a door) something triggers and a gumball will fall from somewhere and land in your hand. Since I told her she had to plan this whole thing I was pretty sure this was never going to happen.But I didn't tell her no.

I was wrong.

You all remember the Cute Blushing Boy, right? Have I mentioned yet that he is now my neighbor as well? Still not sure how that one happened. But yes, he lives around the corner from me now. Crazy. Anyway, Little has a little bit of a crush on him. He was nice to her one day, gave her candy, and well, that is all it takes whether you are 11 or 34 to start a crush on a boy.

A few weeks ago I told him about her idea to "rain gumballs from the ceiling." He loved it. He even offered to help her with it. I didn't take him too seriously, but I did tell Little about it. Now remember, I'm giving her free reign to do whatever she wants with this project. So she decided she wanted to take him up on this offer. I then warned him that he if he wanted to back out I was giving him the chance to do so. But no, he still wanted to help her plan how to hang gumballs from the ceiling. Which is how I found myself in his office, during the work day last week, with Little, listening to the two of them plan how to hang gumballs from the ceiling in a way that it would look like it was raining gumballs.

Have I ever mentioned that sometimes my life feels like a really drawn out sitcom episode?

The two of them (heaven knows I have creative moments, but seriously, I'm not this kind of creative. my brain does not work in these ways.) came up with a plan to take the gumballs, fishing line (because its clear and you won't see it), and those glow in the dark plastic hard stars. First, you take a big sturdy needle, thread it with fishing line, and put it through the gumball. Then you have to tie it off really good. Then you make sure there is a good long tail on the fishing line (all different lengths so it looks like it is raining), and loop and tie it off. Then you take a plastic star, loop the line over that, and stick the star to the ceiling. And tada! It looks like it is raining gumballs in her room. We practiced this several times in the car today, and it worked really well.

We're still working on a way to open the door and have a gumball run down a track and fall into your hand. After we visited the Cute Blushing Boy last week (who has offered to come over and help hang the gumballs and paint her room with us), I took her to Home Depot where she got to explain to the different floor staff what we were trying to build, and could they recommend a pipe or tube for us? Apparently the kid's cuteness works on not just me, but on the Cute Blushing Boy, and the sales staff of Home Depot as well. Next thing you know, we've got a team of helpers making suggestions on how to build it. (Sadly, being non-mechanical, most of this went right over my head.) So we got some samples and left. Sadly, we left the samples at the paint section, so I had to go back the next day to get them again. When I walked up to the paint workstation where I was pretty sure we had left them, the manager saw me and said, "Ma'am! Your daughter forgot her tubes here. But hey, I was thinking about her idea, and thought..." Yes, the staff at Home Depot is still trying to figure out how to build it for us too.

In the meantime, we have the paint, the gumballs, the stars and the fishing line. I sent her home tonight with everything to string up the stars. She's coming back over on Saturday to paint her room and hang the stars. I'm not entirely sure we're really going to invite the Cute Blushing Boy over for that activity. If I run into him, sure, I'll invite him over. But there is no way in hell I'm going back 20 minutes away to his office to invite him over, when I know he lives within a few houses of me (I just don't know which one). I guess in a way I'm also letting her learn that just cause boys flirt with you (and it is rather cute the way he flirts with her. makes me melt!) doesn't mean they are actually ever going to come through for you. If only I could have learned that lesson at 23 years ago when I was still 11...

Oh and I took her to D.I. (Utah's equivalent of the Salvation Army) today to look for "unique, wierd, or interesting" furniture. And sure enough, we found a totally quirky desk that we both loved. So we're going to sand it (with the awesome sander Julipalooza and family got me for my birthday) and paint it. I'll have to post some before and after pictures of that.


  1. I love reading about yours and Little's plans..for the room and yours for your life.

  2. This is so AWESOME. In part, it reminds of the 'Last Lecture' - I'm assuming you've heard of it Professor Randy Paush? It was a big deal - google it. Anyway, he says one of best/ coolest things his parents did was let him paint his bedroom when he was kid. He painted an elevator... a hatch on the ceiling... just whatever inspired him.

    I love that you give Little 'free rein' if she can figure it out, she can do it. That's awesome.
    And, unless you have a careful reason, which I'm sure you do - I'd let her understand the budget process too. My parents sort of let that go on me...

    You are such a great influence on this kid... and you are obviously well matched in the program. So cool.

    Particularly, teaching her that just because a boy shows signs of liking you doesn't mean he's going to come through. Huge lesson. Huge.

    Good luck!

  3. Jan (aka Joyful)1:11 AM

    I have a friend who recently painted part of a wall with magnetic paint, and then covered it with chalkboard paint. Now the wall doubles as a chalkboard and a place to hang pictures by using a magnet. It's working great!

  4. This sounds like a fantastic plan - I can't wait to see the pictures!

  5. That sounds really neat. It's neat that you are letting her be creative and follow through with it. We have a no gum rule in our house, so I'll never have to try to hang gumballs from the ceiling, Yeah.


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