hat you see before you is a wood pulp carcass, a body mined remorselessly for its desirable expanses of flat cardboard.

Peaches carved this box into pieces to make another, smaller box. Her kitten’s litter box is exposed, a treasure trove of disgustingness open to the equally repulsive investigations of our puppy. What her litter box needed was a lid, she said, and that was no problem; she’d make one.

You can buy litter boxes at the store with snap-on tops, boxes in their own right, designed to allow felines in and to keep marauding canines out. Peaches has seen them before but I decided not to suggest a run to the store instead of the DIY morning she had in mind for herself. Why ruin her fun?

I feel most hopeful for my children’s future lives when they demonstrate some skill or interest removed from my own. ‘That’s going to serve them well,’ I’ll think to myself regardless of what it is, honestly, if it’s something I’ve never had the slightest interest in. It’s the thought I had when I heard my eight-year-old girl sawing away at this enormous box upstairs.

(“It’s a knife, alright?” Scott admitted grudgingly, when I asked him about the noise after the fact. “I gave her a knife. It’s hard to cut to cut cardboard with scissors.”)

That’s going to serve her well, I thought, as I listened to the sounds of her sawing, in a career in carpentry. Or construction. Or as a cleaner for an organized crime syndicate.