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The 5 Stages of Building an Obscenely Large Dollhouse

It all began with the best intentions.

My mother wanted to buy our three-year-old daughter a dollhouse and requested my input on which kind to get. I found a Kidcraft model online that looked perfect—colorful, creative, and fun. It even had an elevator, just like the Barbie Dream House that rocked my world circa 1978. So my mom took my recommendation and ran with it.

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One minor problem: Neither of us ever bothered to check the dimensions of said dollhouse. My mom’s theory: “Aren’t all dollhouses sort of the same size?” (Holds arms out approximate width of a French baguette.) How naive we were.

In a bit of a gender stereotype role reversal, my husband is the neat and organized one in our relationship and I'm something of a hoarder. So while his mission in life is to manage and minimize clutter, mine is to continually sneak new possessions (toys, books, cookware) in past the goalie. But usually I’m subtle about it. I knew better than think we could absorb AN OBSCENELY LARGE DOLLHOUSE.

So when the suspiciously heavy package arrived, my husband and I waited until the kid fell asleep, then set about assembling it. Here’s how our night went down, in five stages:

1. DENIAL - 8:00 p.m.

Husband: This thing has a lot of parts.

Me: Oh, we’ll get it done fast. Look, the directions only have 27 steps.

Husband: Where are we going to keep this dollhouse anyway? It seems pretty big.

Me: How big can it be? It came in a box. It'll fit anywhere in her room, I’m sure.

2. ANGER - 9:04 p.m.

Husband: Are you kidding me, Amy? This thing is bigger than our apartment.

Me: Shit.

3 BARGAINING - 10:16 p.m.

Husband: This is a joke, right? It’s huge. We don’t have room for this. We’re going to have to start getting rid of stuff. I say we collapse the play tent, ditch some toys, move her chair to my parents’ house, store the ottoman…

Me: I like the ottoman!

Husband: I like our daughter having more than two feet of floor space in her room.

Me: Shit.

4. DEPRESSION - 11:31 p.m.

Me: I think the roof’s on backwards.

Husband: I’m exhausted.

Me: Let’s put off building the annex until tomorrow then.

Husband: Annex??!

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5. ACCEPTANCE - 12:05 a.m.

Me: Look, it comes up to my nose.

Husband: She’s going to love this thing.

Me: I know.

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Originally published at Carriage Before Marriage.