Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's My...Collection...

Contrary to the picture and the title, today's post isn't about little mermaids (no offense Ariel...I still love you)...but about collecting...or to be more exact...toddler/preschooler "collector" tendencies and what happens when it gets a little out of control.

I dare anyone who has (or once had) kids between the ages 2 and 4 to look me in the eye and tell me that they don't have at least one collector in the family. SweetPea is our resident collector. She has an extensive stash of small, metal lunch boxes that she likes to carry around the house, randomly picking up trinkets and stowing them away. At some point in the collection process, I'll hear a squeal and a loud "I can't do it!"...which means the lunch box du jour has reached...nay...exceeded...it's maximum capacity, so much so that she can't latch it closed. Her favorite lunch box is the white princess one in the middle with the cool beaded handle. 99% of the time it's the only one that is always full and usually contains the same collection of stuff (give or take a few things that occasionally get added and subtracted) a plastic cricket, a plastic spider, a plastic ant, two rubber lizards, two small fish finger puppets, a smooth, white rock about the size of her palm, a My Little Pony comb, a monster motorcycle, a huge fake ring that used to have a flashy light in it, a small Tigger figurine, a bangle bracelet and three small plastic Easter decorator picks that once upon a time came out of some Easter cupcakes. What do they all have in common...you've got me...but it's the one container I'm forbidden to empty. She calls it her "box of jewels" and it's her most prized treasure. For whatever reason, I AM allowed to relocate her other stashes and put things back where they belong...and I do from time to time, just so I can avoid the "Mommy, where is my flashlight cow?" questions and the mad search around the house looking for "lost" toys that are actually safely hidden in lunch boxes...as aforementioned cow happens to be right now... in the Bambi lunch box.

OK, so at what point can collecting go bad? Well, my dear friend, Gina recently found out... the hard way (and G...if I get any of the details wrong, feel free to slap me). Her son, Nicky, is the same age as SweetPea and likes to stash all sorts of things from around the house into the backpack that he takes to the babysitter's everyday. One day, when Gina and I were catching up (translation: I hounded her at work for 3 days in a row before she finally sat down long enough to have a conversation with me...no guilt here, though), she asked me if SweetPea liked to collect stuff...we compared notes...and I assured her that both kids were doing the same thing that lots of kids their age do...or at least I thought so. She goes on to tell me that while she was "unstashing" Nicky's backpack after they got home one evening, she was shocked to find some butter knives and a brand new tube of toothpaste that she knew came from the babysitter's house. What did I do when she told me that? I laughed...hard...REALLY hard...so hard that my high pitched squeals were nearly inaudible and I could barely breathe. When I finally caught my breath, I spit out "Gina...he's not a collector...he's a klepto!" As you can see, I'm a very supportive friend. I admit, the fact that he took things from the sitter wasn't funny...WHAT he decided to take was. Of all of the, I'm certain, MANY interesting things he could have taken from someone else's house, he decided knives and toothpaste were stash worthy. Alas, wayward Nicky was waltzed straight back to the sitter's (who, by the way, was ordered not to laugh either...even though she thought it was funny too) and had to apologize for taking things that didn't belong to him. I'm pretty sure that it won't be happening again any time soon.

I'm not sure there's any moral to this story...I'm just really glad that SweetPea hasn't managed to "collect" anything that doesn't belong to her. I try to impress upon her that it isn't nice to take things that don't belong to us, but I also know that she's three and these concepts aren't always as black and white to them as we think they might be.

Anyone else have any stories of your own little collectors...or maybe of a klepto moment?


  1. I am just here to report that Nicky has not taken anything else since the day when he was outed as a klepto. Sigh.
    The lesson seems to have made an impression because the other day my youngest was waltzing out of the babysitter's house with the remote control firmly clutched in a chubby hand and Nicholas said "Seba! We don't take things that aren't ours!" all the while eyeing me as if to say "See? I have LEARNED. MY. LESSON! I should get a cookie!"
    Maybe I will get that "Mommy Of The Year' award after all!!! Whats that? No? Runner up maybe? Please?

  2. Ooooo this is seriously hillarious!!! I have a "collector" too. We refer to him as our "bag lady"....I picture him one day pushing a shopping cart down the road muttering dinosaur facts to himself. Yes...we have already started saving for therapy sessions.

  3. How about the Mothers of Reformed Kleptos award? If you can get the boys to stop getting you to try to sniff their butts, maybe then you will get that coveted Mother of the Year award :)

  4. Oh ho hoooooo I need to stop blogging about all my embarassing moments to prevent you from gathering fodder to tease me with! *hiss*

    And Momo: "I picture him one day pushing a shopping cart down the road muttering dinosaur facts to himself." THAT is hysterical!

  5. ahahahahahaaaaaa so funny

    MoMo's Bows your comment cracked me up too!

    When Tyler was 4 or 5 my niece had this really neat Wizard of Oz playset that had tiny little characters (think Polly Pocket size)...Tyler decided while playing that he NEEDED to have the wizard and toto and the tin man...we get home and he goes to his room where I hear him talking like the munchkins...I go check and he's on his hands and knees playing with the wizard toys...I call my sil to let her know we're on our way back over...Tyler gives them back to Amberlie all the while saying "but I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDDDDD them" ... now that he's 13, he still likes to carry mini people around in his pockets, but now its lego men lol

  6. I need to stop blogging so you have no more material to tease me with Alyssa! They are boys and butt sniffing jokes are the norm. Apparently so is stealing toothpaste. Honestly am I supposed to know what I am doing? Beause I DONT.

  7. Gina, my love...unless you change your phone number or stop taking my calls, you will ALWAYS provide me fodder for teasing. Oh and as if I don't give you plenty to laugh about!!! I'm waiting for the day you blog about something I told you.

  8. I'm taking notes, "don't tell Alyssa ANYTHING!" Got it. :o)

    I don't have a collector in either child, but it's still early.

  9. the only thing Gracie collects is imaginary friends. She now has the entire cast of Narnia, Peter Pan, and the first 4 Harry Potter movies (unfortunately Luna Lovegood hasn't shown up in Gracie's arsenal of imaginary BFFs, but I'm not ready to let her watch movie #5 yet) in her room, the living room, MY room, the bathroom... all over the house. Seriously, I can never keep her imaginary friends straight, but she always knows where they are and what they are doing.

    As for collections that can be held in her hand... not yet. But I'm a pack rat and I'm sure she will be just like me.

    Great stories! LOVE Stephanie's comment!

  10. Hey now, what's this gang up and not tell Alyssa anything thing? I can totally keep secrets. You might as well make it "just don't be friends with Alyssa because she will eventually find a way to have a laugh at your expense and get other people to laugh at you too." People love me dammit...I am totally friend worthy :)

  11. We ... um I mean Brayden and Gage... yeah, thats right... collect the little wooden Thomas the Tank Engine trains :)

    Its a bit of a minor obsession.

  12. Seriously ladies...you would be amazed at the amount of crap that this child can fit into his pockets, shoes, hands... The kid can never find a pair of matching shoes, but he ALWAYS knows where 5 kinds of dino figures are located!!! ARGH!
    My collector is the middle child. The Coach and I wonder if it has something to do with the whole "birth order" thing. The Princess is the youngest. She does the whole "fill a purse" thing, but not to the degree of your's Alyssa.... And never with the same things.
    Coach and I decided last night that we are going to begin putting the "bag lady's" items back where they belong, just to mess with his head...gotta love the powers of parenting!!!


We love comments! Please let us know you stopped by.