Thursday, January 10, 2008


While shopping for my youngest nephew's gifts last month I came across what I knew would be a total Christmas coup: Moon Sand. My kids LOVE this stuff, especially my daughter, who will sit at her grandma's table for hours creating all the cool stuff that can be created with this grainy, colorful, super-tactile stuff.
When my nephew opened the package, he was clearly overjoyed. "Moon Sand!" he shrieked. "I've seen this on a commercial!" Before leaving their house I got busy helping him set up the sand and all the cool accessories (molds, play mat, sand scraper tools) at his parents' kitchen table, which is always neat and shiny, since my brother and sister-in-law shall I put this? Completely OCD when it comes to keeping their house clean. (I'm just jealous, of course.) All the kids immediately jumped into the Moon Sand fray - building, creating, scattering. Anyone could see that it was a very enriching experience for all involved.
The next day I stopped by their house and noticed that the kitchen table was once again perfectly clean. I sat at the counter to chat with my SIL and was shocked when she plopped the bag of Moon Sand down in front of me and let me know in no uncertain terms that she wished for my armpits to be infested with the fleas of a thousand yaks (or something like that - I can't remember her actual words). Apparently, my brother, who'd spent no small amount of time at the Moon Sand mess with the hand vac, was none too pleased with me, either.
"You know," my SIL said. "I asked your daughter if she played with her Moon Sand at your house or at her grandma's, and I could tell that she was nervous about giving me the right answer." Apparently, when my daughter finally did answer her obviously-on-the-edge Auntie, she said (in a very small voice), " my Grandma's."
It suddenly seemed a bit cooler in that tidy kitchen. So, okay. Moon Sand: Big hit with the kids; not so much with the parents (who I was convinced were over-reacting).
But here's the thing. When I took my kids to target to redeem their Christmas gift cards earlier this week, my daughter cheerfully picked out a pet shop Moon Sand kit. Back at home I helped her set it up at the kitchen table - play mat, little animal molds, sand scraper tools, the works. It wasn't until she had finished playing and disappeared into her room, however, that I walked back into the kitchen, only to feel my sister-in-law's delighted smile from 800 miles away. There was Moon Sand EVERYWHERE. Not only was the stuff scattered across the kitchen table, but it was all over the floor and all places in between - including, but not limited to, the joints of the chairs and those little spaces where the table-extender leaf thing meets with the table.
"#%$#@* Moon Sand," I heard myself grumble as I hauled out the vacuum cleaner and got to work cleaning up the disaster area.
You know what they say about payback? Well, they're right.

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