Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Actually, I DO need that. Over there.

At around the same time our children were stable enough on their feet, such that they no longer had to hold on to the wall to balance themselves, they have used their little hands to collect things.

Each and every day, they will either push around a cart that is chock full of goodies, or, they will carry around buckets and bags that they will stuff with Legos, books, blocks, snails, crayons, sticks, leaves, spoons, dirt, refrigerator magnets, rocks, toy trains, Fisher Price Little People, scraps of paper, Kleenex ... pretty much anything that they get their paws on.

And then, they will guard their stockpile as if their very lives depended upon it.

When my sister, Beth, sent the kids small backpacks, their hoarding skills were taken to an all new level. Now, they are able to put all of their prized possessions in a backpack - which they then require me to cinch up and help them put on - and they'll strut around the house looking for even more objects that need to be added to their stash.

This art of searching out objects that they can carry around with them - is an event that will literally keep them occupied for an hour (or more) at a time. At the end of the day, once the kids are securely tucked in to bed, the art of returning all of the miscellaneous objects to their original locations - is an event that will literally keep me crawling around on my hands and knees for an hour (or more) at a time.

Sometimes, I'll take a break from "restocking the kids ammo" and while laying flat on the floor and watching the ceiling fan go 'round and 'round, wonder how much longer our children are going to find such great sport in making a mess of the place. It is no exaggeration to say that everything at or below their eye level - is strategically OUT of place. This uncanny ability to spread random objects near and far doesn't stop with the house. The yard and car is part of their stomping ground, too.

If I can't find the remote control from our stereo and it's not under the couch, beneath the cushions on the sofa, or in the planter in the backyard ... there's an excellent chance it is sitting on the floor in the van. Along with some Tupperware, a metric ruler, a potato masher and the spray nozzle from our garden hose.

I didn't put those items there, nor did Charlie. We'd much prefer to sit in our living room - rather than in the hydrangeas - watching American Idol. And as it turns out, neither of us think that the car is the most convenient place to make mashed potatoes.

These days, the entranceway to our house is littered with all kinds of objects that I have to pry from our kids fingers on the way out the front door. But what I find interesting is that sometimes, I don't even notice that the kids are walking out of the house with a cache of items, which leads me to believe that they are hiding it. They must be tucking the goods inside of their overalls - knowing full well that if I see it - I'll make them leave it at home. Not only are they pint-sized schizophrenics ... they are pint-sized kleptomaniacs, too.

Due to an unfortunate event, I've initiated a "pat-down" before the kids are buckled in to their carseats. I'd rather know before we pull out of the driveway that the kids have hijacked Charlie's set of car keys ... as opposed to when we are 14 miles down the road on the way to a playdate and my husband, who is now late for a meeting, calls me in a panic.

Yesterday, I took this picture of Carolyn - on her way to the Zoo with Charlie - walking out the front door with a potty chair. If you recall, she isn't potty trained. Alas, not even close ... despite my efforts at getting at least one of our children out of diapers before July. It seems that as far as our kids are concerned, the potty chair is yet one more vessel, conveniently equipped with handles, that they can fill with random treasures.

But if only they would fill it with ...

Ah, never mind.


  1. Shayna is a klepto, too! She took an item from the grocery store (I didn't notice it until we got home). I will be bringing it back the next time we are at that store. I guess I've watched too many episodes of the Brady Bunch. What was Elizabeth hiding in her potty chair???

  2. I actually set up "treasure boxes" for my children when they were collecting everything. Anytime they found something they couldn't live without - a pretty rock, an old key from Granpa's keychain, a little ball, I'd say "let's put it in your treasure box." Of course a potty chair wouldn't have fit....
    When Kayla was about the age of your children, she would not leave the house without wearing her pink the summer. One friend's son insisted on wearing a tie WITH EVERYTHING, and another little friend had to carry a stick everywhere. Perhaps you're right...toddlers are schizophrenic.

  3. When we moved our kids to 'big kid' beds, we ordered ones which are high off the ground, and which fit HUGE under bed boxes on wheels. Like "hw" we call them treasure boxes, and they are the home for all the miscellaneous crap my kids NEED desperately. Once every few months we go and do a group clean out and I'm always amazed at what I find!

    Another trick - as soon as they're a bit older, do the "five things chore". Every day (with me watching) the kids find five things (each kid - means 15 things!) which are not in the right place, and put them back in the right place. You would be AMAZED how much of a difference this makes to kiddie clutter! They can also earn "bonuses" (time with me/DH, a treat, a tickle, whatever...) if they do an EXTRA 5 things. You would be surprised at how often they want to do the "bonus" 5 things!


  4. At least yours want to take stuff with you! Mine wants to leave her stuff behind. Today at a Sensory Feeding seminar, we nearly left behind 1 shoe, 2 socks and a book because apparently we didn't need them anymore and we threw them on the floor and the eyes in the back of my head were covered with the blanket that we didn't need anymore either. However, we do hoard french fries in whatever objects of apparel we are wearing, including shoes.

  5. too funny! lol at the pat-down procedure.

  6. hahahahahahahahaha! Ah, the joys of tiny hunters and gatherers. And sneaky stashers. :)

  7. The hoarding days are so funny (and annoying at the same time).

  8. Haha!! If they weren't so darned cute, I bet it would be more frustrating for you!!

    You don't find it convenient to make mashed potatoes in the car? Odd!

  9. I've got four kids ranging in age from 9 years old to 23 months... I wish I could tell you that the sneak and stockpiling thing eventually becomes a thing of the past. But in my experience it just becomes more specialized and intricate and always seems to involve my favorite lip gloss. ;)