on raising a hoarder

Little Friend is now taking showers instead of baths.  This change has come about thanks to a newly realized fear of hers: the bathtub drain.  That black hole of a threat has niggled its way into her subconscious as a place where everything–toes, toys, spiders, soap bubbles, and mommies–may disappear into without warning or provocation.

The drain is scary.

The fear started, innocently enough, with a red rubber band.  The rubber band had been invited as an honored guest into the bath with her.  The arrangement went well until the end of the bath when the gaping vortex to nothingness opened beneath the bathtub spout.  Little Friend’s fingers managed to nab the very last loop of rubber as that band quickly sucked its way into oblivion.  The rubber band was safe.  Little Friend’s psyche, not so much.

We’ve since been making lists of what, exactly, might or might not fit down drains.  It’s been days, and the list is far from exhausted, although tipped heavily in favor of what will not fit down the bathtub drain.

All this brings me to my main point:  Rubber bands are of great importance around my house.

So are rocks.

And leaves.  Which must be held by stems.  Or else you’ll be reprimanded for mishandling.

Before I give you the list of “cherished” objects in Little Friend’s possession, I must first beg your understanding: we do provide her with ample, age and development appropriate toys.  It’s just that she prefers the…uh…odd things.

Some “cherished” items in Little Friend’s Possession:

  • Five rubber bands of assorted sizes and colors (a number that swells each time she spies a new one on a sidewalk or in some other disgusting public place)
  • A blue glass decorative stone
  • A purple twist-tie
  • Two green beans
  • Two gourds (or moon rocks, if we’re going by Little Friend’s preferred categorization)
  • A purple squishy ball
  • An orange squishy dinosaur ball
  • A green squishy ball that will do in a pinch when the aforementioned purple and orange balls cannot be located
  • Three rocks
  • Four “little lost flowers” or mums that were deadheaded from our porch display
  • A” baby” green pepper
  • Yellow, pink, and fuschia wine glass tags
Little Friend takes these things seriously.  So do we.  When one item is lost, we go on a dedicated hunt.  When a new item is found, we add it to the list.  But some days, especially the days in which the purple squishy ball is alternately a moon rock, Dora the Explorer, a baby sister, or a purple monster, I glance over at the baby doll high chair and cradle that go unused and wonder, am I raising a hoarder?!
In a sense, I hope I am.
Not because I want to picture Little Friend forty years from now living with 11 cats, 112 containers of laundry detergent, and newspaper stacks higher than her head.  But because the cherished items of today might grow up right along with her.  While I might judge her cherished items to be rather trivial and even juvenile today, maybe they bespeak a desire to imbue the ordinary with extraordinary love.
I’m setting a bad example for her, in one sense.  I’m certainly hoarding memories of Little Friend at almost-three-years-old.
Like memories of the all-American tradition of the pumpkin patch.
I’ll gladly let Belle Squeaks be my equivalent of a stack of newspapers if it means that forty years from now, I can pick up a post, flip a page, and remember the day that we went on a hunt for a “Little Friend-sized” pumpkin.
“I see lots of corn fields, but I do not see pumpkins.”
“This is so much fun.”
“Hey–look what happened to this pumpkin!  Mama.  Come over here and see this pumpkin!”
“No not that pumpkin.  Bugs ate that pumpkin.”
“Wait.  What’s that?!”
“Hey–this is my pumpkin.  Oh, I love, love, love her.”
So for the moment, I’m unapologetically raising a hoarder, because it means we’re holding tight to red rubber bands and memories that would otherwise slip into the oblivion of the drain.
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2 Comments

  1. Nancy said:

    So precious. I am glad you are hoarding and sharing the moments of your lives. It always makes me happy to see a new Belle Squeaks in my mailbox. Love you.

    October 25, 2011
    Reply
  2. Jo said:

    Oh, if only we could all learn (or maybe it’s “re-remember”) how to hoard what is precious in our lives.

    November 1, 2011
    Reply

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