A Childhood Milestone: Moving Into the Playhouse

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(For those just joining us, you’ll want to read the first part of this story: A Lemonade Stand– Bringing a Bit of American Childhood to Bury St. Edmunds.)  Well, we had a big milestone for a certain little girl this weekend!
Amelia had worked hard all summer long, with her lemonade stand, despite it being quite an anomaly here. Bury St. Edmunds was a bit of a tough crowd, but that did not deter Amelia. She was persistent and determined, and in the end, her net profit was about £70! (Probably £90 if you don’t count what she spent on supplies.)  Play houses are pretty expensive here, but I managed to find one that we could pick up on ebay, and I talked the seller down to a more manageable price– we chipped in a little bit, but she really did pay for most of it! The weekend before last, we took a surprise detour on our way home from the coast, and picked up the kit to put it together with. Amelia was so excited, and the really sweet older couple that sold it to us were really impressed that she was buying it herself.

Jeff worked hard on putting it together after work for a couple of days, and then finished it up on Sunday. Amelia had £10 she’d been saving from her birthday, and we took her shopping at Poundland ( it’s like the Dollar Store.)  She had such a fun time picking out soft furnishings: a mirror, battery-operated votive candles, candle holders, a silver tray, tea towels, etc. I am always amazed by how she knows what she wants (or doesn’t want) almost immediately. I hope she can hold onto that sureness through adolescence.

Moving these items and anything else she could find into her little house was such a thrill for her. She loves setting up her space. I know her little mouse tendencies will come into play, and she will probably pack this space full. But it’s her’s! She earned it! She ate dinner in there by battery-operated candle light, and last night she and Jeff squeezed inside to do her homework. Soon, I’ll paint it for her.

The little boys next door bought a lot of lemonade from Amelia this summer, and eagerly watched through the hedges as Jeff put the playhouse together, running inside to update their parents on the progress he was making. Once she had gotten it all set up, the first thing Amelia wanted to do was invite the boys over to see it. They were really excited, and the whole family came over. Once again, Amelia helped us make a nice connection– it was the first time they had come over to our house, and the next day, she was invited over to theirs. We’re proud of Amelia, that she wanted something, worked hard for it, got other people to buy into her vision, and achieved her goal.

Plus, I like the way it looks in our yard!

What was the first big thing that you saved money for and bought for yourself, as a kid?

(This post was shared at Our Small Hours Mothering Monday.)


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12 Responses to A Childhood Milestone: Moving Into the Playhouse

  1. Heather M September 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    So impressed by Amelia’s enterprise, decorating skills, and hospitality! I love that you have encouraged her to trust and develop her intellect, heart, and instinct for people and beauty.

    • Ariana Mullins September 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

      Thank you, Heather. I impressed with her, too– such an interesting little human! I’m also happy that she feels such a sense of pride and accomplishment!

  2. greatdana September 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    I simply adore it! I remember endless hours of play when I was a kid in a little house my dad built us. Ah, good times and I’m so glad she has some play mates too!

    • Ariana Mullins September 19, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

      Yeah, I think having the neighbor boys appreciate her little house made it that much more exciting for her. They have a play house, too, and it’s so sweet that they want to invite each other over. I didn’t have a play house, but we were always building forts. I remember just hanging sheets on all sides of my bottom bunk, and enjoying the incredible feeling of blocking out the world around me! (I guess I was born an introvert.)

  3. Valerie {all mussed up} September 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    This warms my heart! When I was young my parents did whatever they could to provide us with creative space and to champion our inventions/creations/endeavors – how awesome for Amelia to experience this, too! (:

    • Ariana Mullins September 19, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

      I love that, Valerie. My aunt had three daughters, and they each had a special place that was just for them. Did you ever read the Betsy-Tacy books? That really reminded me of them– each child had a special place of their own. I am loving watching Amelia make herself a little home!

  4. Liene September 18, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    Congratulations to all three of you on a wonderful accomplishment! You should be (and definitely are) so proud of your enterprising daughter, I wish to instill in my sons similar values and love to hear stories like yours… xox

    • Ariana Mullins September 19, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

      Aw, thanks Liene! It was really fun to share this part of the story, after posting about her lemonade stand– so nice to have a great conclusion to share. I think we’re all still kind of amazed that we pulled it off– that she was willing to put the time and energy into selling, that I was able to make that possible for her, and to find a playhouse she could afford, and that Jeff was able to put it together pretty quickly, in time for her to enjoy the fruits of her labor before it got too cold, or it was too long ago that she worked for the money!

  5. [email protected] September 19, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    Loved this post! Though it’s not the same I love taking my daughter to our local farmer’s market every Saturday, handing her our money, and standing in the background to make suggestions while she does our shopping. Though I don’t make anything worth selling I often dream of opening a booth there just so she can get the experience of working in it. We live in the country so not many lemonade customers out here 🙂

    Lovely, lovely post. So excited to have discovered this blog!

    • Ariana Mullins September 19, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

      Thank you Heather. I love your idea of letting your daughter shop at the farmer’s market. It’s so important to make that connection of buying food– who they are buying it from, where it came from, etc. I did actually really consider getting a booth at our open market for us to sell there– we would have made a LOT more money that way! But I am still glad we did it this way, so she had more ownership.
      Thanks for coming over!

  6. Great Aunt Gretchen September 20, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    What a great experience! I love her little purchases. SO exciting!

  7. Elie September 28, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    I am so proud of her…as usual! I love how you two have taught Amelia the value of money and hard work and reward. It’s a dying art, I think, among parents in this age of get-what-you-want-when-you-want-it. She will always value her work, I am sure. What a gift!

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