For a surprise I once bought the kids a Super-Duper-Lux-Deluxe Play-Dough factory. Tubes and feeding slots and cutting knives and little molds. (Because I could.) You can make SPAGEDDI NOODLES! and LONG LICORICE ROPES! and FRILLY SNAKES! Oh boy oh boy did we have fun with that thing. Of course there was no such thing as Blue and Yellow and Orange play dough when we were done. It was mostly mud but we were lucky, we found Rainbow in some less kneaded lumps.

It was a good thing this stuff is non-toxic, we decided. The kids were not the only ones that we caught prolonging the handwashing after playing. They are obviously Hannah's kids, I am obviously her sister. We are all doing a secret sniffing of our fingertips. Yum Yum, we said. Smell that? It is what we made today. People and cakes and spaghettis and spirals and snowmen and braids and then pounded our fists into it and smashed it all flat and started again. Today we practiced building new things.

This is going to happen again, soon. (Am going to visit). I have taken out my own play dough, neon, still unblended colors. Am reminding myself of what to do with it. How to mix up the colors and not care. How to leave bits of under my nails, so it confuses with my dinner later to be like something I remember tasting years ago.

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