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Monday, March 23, 2009

The Toothpaste Box

Last night was a big night: We finished off one tube of toothpaste and started on another one. ...which my wife promptly squeezed from the center of the tube.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

The fact that she clearly refuses to correctly use the toothpaste tube doesn't cause that much marital strife.

Really.


Proper Toothpaste Usage

...where was I?

Ah yes.

As I walked to the recycle bin to dispose of the box in an environmentally friendly way, I felt a rather strong desire to keep the box just in case. 'Just think of all the things you could do with that box,' my inner child said to me.

'Like what?' I queried.

My inner child couldn't think of anything precisely, and so the box went into the recycle bin. But as I walked back toward the bathroom--where my wife was mutilating the shiny new tube of paste--I realized that something had just died a little more within me: The belief that raw materials are worth something simply because of the potential they contain; raw materials wait for our creativity to bring them to life and give them purpose.

I still get giddy about a 1'x2' bit of 1/4" flooring rubber, but I no longer keep Mac & Cheese boxes to turn them into burning buildings for a video (unfortunately, my mom caught me heading out the door armed with paper, a box, and matches before I was able to create that scene). I think I've lost something about creative thinking and natural wonder, and I hope I get it back when I'm finally a dad. I remember all the time I had as a homeschooled child that let me create cell phones from plywood and used cap gun caps, rocket ships from bicycle pumps, and castles from toilet paper tubes. A shoe box used to be the perfect foundation for... well... something.

And I've lost much of that, but I think I will need to get it back. For now, I must live vicariously through all of you. What crazy creative things have your children recently done with the "junk"/"treasures" around your house lately?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

18 comments:

Catherine said...

Hmmmm. Anything long has become a weapon in my son's hands - thankfully no one has been seriously hurt. He made crackers by rolling out bread with the rolling pin and then broiling it - that one caused a small fire! My daughter is a little older. She once made several "quest books" from paper and cloth. She made a bunch of origami boxes and put desk supplies into them.

You have much to look forward to in the next few years/decades!

Tiffany said...

My husband and I are cracking up reading this and here's why: you look just like a much-younger version of a friend of ours. And your post is so much like him. Part way through reading it we were remembering when Chris once saved toilet paper tubes for an entire year and then built a castle with them. He let his kids help. When we read that you plan to build TP roll castles too, it just cracked us up!

Kim & Dave said...

Our oldest is always writing. & leaving it all over the house! While I love her creativity, the mess nearly sends me over the edge!!!

Mrs. C said...

Soda box Roman shields we made last year. I thought they looked the perfect size for small warriors, and I hated recycling them each week. :]

http://homeschoolnetc.blogspot.com/2008/03/romans-are-coming.html

Jean said...

I recently discovered an entire "office" made from scavenged cardboard in my daughter's room. Laptop computer, mouse, phone, furniture, I can'tt even remember it all. I rejoiced with her at the time. Later I threw it all away. Somehow, cardboard tools just don't stand up to a lot of use...

Laurel said...

"raw materials wait for our creativity to bring them to life and give them purpose"

Yeees!! I couldn't have said it better my self. That is art in a nutshell.

Luke said...

Catherine, long items turning into weapons? Sounds about right <smile>. I certainly do look forward to those kinds of things. Thanks for sharing!

Tiffany, that is good stuff <smile>.

Kim, <laughing> I hear that creative types can be rather messy. I've always somewhere near the middle between the two, so some things I like perfectly organized, and other aspects of my life are a complete mess <smile>.

Mrs. C, those are great! <smile>

Jean, that's amazing, but I totally believe the wear-and-tear would set in pretty quickly <smile>.

Laurel, I'm glad I get the "artist stamp of approval" <smile>. And I see you posted about it too... I'll add that to the Other Posts of Note tomorrow <smile>.

Thank you all again for jumping in here and sharing your experiences <smile>.

~Luke

Melonie said...

Oh my - I'm so glad I'm not the only one who feels this strongly about the toothpaste tube. I could care less about the box (I guess I'm not creative enough - my only concern is guilt if it gets tossed in the trash instead of the recycle bin) but the TUBE.... AAHHHH Squeezing from the middle is like defiling a temple. Okay, maybe not quite THAT bad, but close. ;-)

As for creative uses for all things not currently used - oh my. You've described my daughter to a T. Drives me bonkers. Again, we get back to me being about as creative as a squid. ie I toss out some ink (words) and call it good. I have very little urge to "create" most times - but my daughter.... oh, if I had a dollar for every time I've walked into her room and found little shavings of paper on the floor and little clumps and clips of "stuff" which cannot be thrown away because she "might be able to make something ELSE with it"..... I would be bailing out the bailouts. ha.

Luke said...

Melonie, you crack me up! <laughing> Love it.

~Luke

Tanya @ texastanya.net/blog said...

We still have the giant refrigerator box from several months ago... My boys have used it as a pirate ship, a cabin, a rocket ship, a tent, a cave, a submarine, and a tree house in the woods.

They use empty paper towel tubes as guns, swords, light sabers, telescopes, periscopes, and microphones.

I usually have a large empty box after a trip to Costco - it quickly becomes a car, a canoe, a sled, toy box, treasure chest, a horse, and who knows what else.

I love that the boys can use "junk" to be creative and stretch their imagination muscles. :)

Luke said...

You know, I hadn't thought of all those great boxes from our Costco trips. Those are going to be another fun resource for our kids <smile>.

~Luke

Julie said...

at Christmas and birthdays, I have to hide the wrapping paper rolls until I can sneak them out to the trash...otherwise a major skirmish occurs...swords, lightsabers, whatever! Gotta love them boys!

Luke said...

Julie, I totally believe that! Love it <smile>.

~Luke

Heather the Mama Duk said...

I'm a middle of the toothpaste tube squeezer and Jamie does it from the end. One of my children has gotten very creative and has twisted the end of the tube so it is being squeezed kind of from both points. It works very well, too.

For Christmas, Cameron, my 7 1/2 year old, asked for junk. That's all he wanted. Junk to build with and do with as he pleased. I'll tell you, that has been his best gift ever. We keep him regularly resupplied with junk and he regularly creates and invents things. Sometimes Ani joins him in the creation process. They play best when playing with that pile of junk. No wonder the reader A Big Ball of String appealed to Cameron so much. It could have been written about him!

Luke said...

Heather, I would love some pictures of the "junk" creations they've made. Do you have any posts on that?

~Luke

Heather the Mama Duk said...

I don't. I really should take some pictures, huh? I'll try to remember to do that!

April E. said...

My 8 yo son is the creative one here. He is always digging in the trash for raw materials. I've tried to dissuade him from using the bathroom trashcan for his treasure hunts. The most recent thing he's created is a house from the weird shaped cardboard packaging that came in a box of something technical ... maybe it was the new printer cartridge packaging. Can't remember. Anyway, he's made pirate ships, laser guns, and space ships from paper, tape, toilet paper tubes, etc. He amazes me! He's also always drawing ... and he never wants me to throw anything away. Paper sometimes feels like it's taking over the house.

Luke said...

Heather, that'd be cool! <smile>

April, love it. Thanks for giving me a little glimpse into your lives <smile>.

~Luke


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