There are two toy closets in my house: the one the kids know about right in the middle of our family room, and the one the boys have never seen.
That's where I keep all the wonderfully crafted wooden toys and such that I've been finding here and there for years. I snatch them when I find a deal and since they are not always age-appropriate...up in the upstairs closet they go just waiting for the rainy day when either of my little guys needs a little cheer me up or better yet a day that calls for a special reward.
When Julian was sick with his first "big boy" cold last winter (you know, the first one they are too old to just sleep through?), I climbed up on a chair in that special closet and found just the thing, a tiny little porcelain tea set. We wore our jammies and robes, stuffed tissues in our runny noses (oh so chic!), plugged in the humidifier and had a delightful tea party right there in his room and all the stuffies we could find were invited. It was the sweetest thing ever.
It's been almost a year already, but my heart can't help but swell just remembering that special moment. He was so happy to handle the tiny tea set and though he didn't say anything about it, I could tell by how careful he was that he knew it was a privilege to get to play with such a grown up toy that would otherwise have been reserved for when he was older.
It was so adorable to watch him pour tea and offer sugar and cream to all his delighted guests. He played tea party in the morning. He played tea party in the afternoon. And he just couldn't wait to take it all out again and play with daddy too when he got home from work.
It is one of my fondest memories of his toddlerhood and I hope I never forget it. When his cold was gone a few days later, we packed up the tea party and put it away again...for another time. And he was okay with that too. And I was so proud.
That's what I thought of this week as I knit all these wonderful tea sandwiches and hors d'oeuvres for my boys. So as the autumn chill draws near, we all get to look forward to special tea parties to help us chase away those colds...and this time, there'll be food for everyone!
Oh, and by the looks of this, I think Lolo might be looking forward to cold season too ;0)
Ps - Should you feel the urge to knit some of the tea party treats for a little someone too, you can get the free pattern directy from Jean Greenhowe's site. It looks complicated, but every piece is but a strip of garter - no shaping whatsoever! It was a true pleasure to put this little spread together using US 8 needles and scraps of leftover Bernat Satin. I see Jean's knitted deserts in my future too someday, there's a free pattern for those too from that same site ;0)