Make Big Chief Heap Glad

Sometimes, in the evenings,
after Isaac nods off,
Tim and I like to make him things.

You know, to surprise him in the morning.

This is what we made him last night.

The reasons were two-fold:

1) Isaac is forever asking me to build him forts.  Don't get me wrong, I love building forts.  I used to build wildly over-the-top forts with my college roomies.  You had to crawl into our dorm room on hands and knees, and it was impossible to get dressed in the morning.  That being said, building a fort every day using "ALL THE THINGS!" (as Isaac likes to say), is a lot of work.  And so is cleaning it up after it's been demolished (the unhappy but inevitable demise of all things built for Isaac).  Not to mention the fact that I end up sitting on the floor all day (I'm never happier than when standing in the corner, staring at my heaped-up furniture as a little Calvin-esque child repeatedly pelts himself in and out of it all day long while screaming, "I'LL GET YOU!"  ... He really does this).  

... So, building a permanent teepee seemed like the way to go.

2) My sisters are coming to visit next month, and they will need both extra beds.  And, like the good parents we are, we said, "Hey, rather than buying a third bed for Isaac, why don't we make him sleep in a teepee?"  What?  He's four.  It'll be like Christmas all summer long.

We researched a few DIY Teepee Tutorials, decided they looked too complicated and/or expensive, and then made one up as we went along.  We used eight wood poles for the skeleton, a bolt of gray t-shirt material for the walls, some thread and yarn and staples, and a button or two.  (And by "we" I do mean that Tim came up with the blueprints and I assisted.  If I had made the thing by myself it would've ended up looking like ... well, there would've been more trash to take out in the morning anyway.)

While Tim sewed a few button-holes on the front flap, I made a paper crown for Mr. Elephant.  ... Who I'll have to paint over before moving out because the landlord did not say, in so many words, that it was okay for me to paint blue elephants on the wall.  Can't imagine why.

The teepee is big enough for Isaac to lay down inside either-which-way, and for me to sit in, cross-legged, should I ever feel the urge (and occasionally, I do).  I laid a doubled-up floor mat underneath and filled his duvet with two lumpy comforters, so it really does feel like a bed in there.  Isaac was beside himself with happiness.

... Unfortunately, he then went looking for his missing bed and discovered, to his utter delight, that both twins were in the guest room, making one huge trampoline (what else).  And apparently he prefers to sleep in there now ... so, I think our plan backfired?  Maybe I can make my sisters sleep in the fort.  What do you think?

... All this teepee-building has made me think of Peter Pan.  Always a good thing.

Wendy: What's the chief doing, John?
: He's giving an oration in sign language.
: What's he saying?
: He says, 'Peter Pan... mighty warrior... save Tiger Lily... make big chief... heap glad.'
: Well, he certainly doesn't look 'heap glad'.


  1. you guys made him a teepee with a comfy bed? that's awesome!
    my brothers would've LOVED that at that age.
    also, should justin and i ever make one someday for our kiddies....the blueprint maker and the follow-the-orders-and-help-a-little people will be the same as with you guys :P he's...brilliant.

  2. You and Tim must be the coolest parents on earth!

    As I type this, my son is piling all of our throw pillows, bed pillows, blankets, etc. in the middle of our living room so that he can commence jumping and throwing himself mindlessly into them. I am cringing and my sanity is slowly slipping away. He calls this mess his 'mole hill' and he'll be extremely upset when I make him clean it up later. I like the idea of building him a teepee but I don't know if we're quite as crafty as you. I don't think my son would sleep in it either, but he would love it. I would be frightened to let my son meet you and Tim. He'd probably want to trade Isaac parents.

  3. Man, that is some fine craftsmanship. Whoever made it must be awesomely skilled.

  4. Based on my experience visiting a factory-made teepee in a tourist town on a Cherokee Indian reservation (who did not live in teepees), I have to say that your teepee rocks.

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