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August 09, 2005: Working with hands

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A while ago my older sister noted that my two little nephews would love a puppet theater. And since my dad likes puttering around in his workshop playing with wood and tools, and since my mom had been wanting to 'steal' the boys for a grandparents-and-grandsons-only day, they decided that my dad would build them a theater, and then the boys would come down to help grandpa and grandma paint it. That was on Saturday.

Richard and I had a pile of errands to run and chores to do around the house on Saturday, and then there was also a birthday party he needed to go to, so I did not make it over to my parents' house until the evening, for dinner. While we were at Costco, I saw a pile of plush hand puppets for sale for an unbelievable price and dithered a little before picking out a set of four sea creature puppets to bring them, for their new theater, so I brought that over to the house with me when I came.

The theater is fairly large - a three panel contraption where the two side panels act as the supports, with the middle panel having a cut-out at the top where the puppets could go. It was rather obvious that the boys had done most of the painting, because there was a lot of abstract blue and green and brown, meant to be trees and trunk and sky, and I had to be told that the black smudges were birds and the red speckled things were lady bugs and, and, and. It amuses me because with both the boys there are times when they will just begin to talk and then they continue to talk and talk and talk and sometimes you have to stuff their mouths with food to get them to stop. The younger one still talks mostly in incomprehensible babble, but the older one is quite clear (he's in first grade, after all) and he has a lot to say.

We ate dinner and the boys chattered. We'd discovered earlier that they are *very* into knock-knock jokes, and can happily go through far more of those than any adult can possibly stomach, all in one sitting. They were very happy to point out where and how they had 'helped' with dinner. And after dinner we got them to put on a puppet show; or rather, first the oldest and grandpa put on a puppet show with the batch of puppets they'd brought with them. I think it was supposed to be Sleeping Beauty, but it was a little abbreviated and there was a dragon in there who occasionally showed up, and perhaps what was far more amusing than the actual puppets themselves was that there was a lot of whispering behind the scenes where my dad and my nephew were hashing out just what the heck was supposed to happen next. Then they pulled out the sea creature puppets - the two boys did, at this point, since we adults decided we wanted to watch while they performed, and my older nephew started singing 'There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea'. Except that he kept forgetting the order in which all the things happen in this song - which is very long and repetitive to begin with, but which is made even more long and repetitive when the singer keeps starting over from the beginning, again, and again, and again. Oh, to be as oblivious as seven. It was hysterical to watch, although I pity my older sister and her husband, since it is likely they will have to endure far more verses of that particular song than we did once the puppet theater and the boys returned home.

Mom and Dad took the boys to church with them yesterday, but I was the pianist that morning so could not go along to see how they did. But I hear they had fun there too, and only asked a few humorous questions during the children's time, and there were no more recitations of The Hole in the Bottom of the Sea, at least not while they were still with my grandparents.

This afternoon I went back to Costco and bought the other four sets of plush hand puppets they had on sale. It's early yet, but these will keep perfectly fine until Christmas. An aunt is all about being an enabler, after all, and I am nothing if not determined to be a very good aunt.

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