Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One man's trash is our kid's treasure

Our son likes to play with our garbage. I'm not sure whether I should be concerned about this or not. Maybe he's just figuring out what to do with his life, and perhaps the sanitation department intrigues him right now. He has an odd fascination with dump trucks, and when he's not interested in food he'd rather throw it off his tray instead of donating it to a soup kitchen or food pantry. Sure, at 17 months, our little guy might be a bit young to be making career decisions just yet, but far be it for me to stop him if dealing with garbage becomes a true lifelong dream.

Perhaps I should clarify what kind of trash he is playing with, for those of you already in the process of reporting us to the authorities. Kyle is not playing with banana peels or cucumber skins, though I'm not saying he wouldn't do that if given the opportunity, as our child seems to want to get into everything these days. No, the trash Kyle plays with is in a basket under an end table, where we keep much of our paper recycling. You could call it our "clean" trash. It's really nothing more than our old newspapers, magazines, and credit card solicitations, but for Kyle it's more exciting than his toy ball, which flashes lights, plays music, rolls on its own, and gives stock tips. Kyle barely touches that thing. He plays with the recycling every day.

The recycling basket fits nicely into Kyle's mission in life, which is to make messy what once was neat. He salivates over things that are organized, waiting for the right moment to get at them. This has been happening for a while now. Months ago, just minutes after his first crawl, he quickly cleared the bottom shelf of our bookcase and removed all the DVDs from the TV stand. They were flung into piles, blocking every imaginable foot path. If he had been strong enough, he probably would have rearranged the furniture, too. So an easy target such as a basket of disposable paper goods was just too tempting to pass up.

With great speed, Kyle flings the papers, magazines and circulars in every direction around, occasionally to stop and read one until he realizes he still can't read. Of course, now that he is walking, his basket-clearing endeavors have added risk, since the paper cleared from the basket ends up all over the floor. Kyle has learned that this paper has very little traction. Yet he can't help but gravitate to the area where the most amount of paper is lying on the floor, and he will continue to go there after tripping and falling. Our son is a glutton for punishment.

Normally I will put the paper back into the basket shortly after Kyle is done with it, in hopes of protecting the little guy from sliding into our table or the trap door leading to our secret dungeon (don't tell our friends). Lately Kyle, being the nice guy that he is, has started helping me with this process. He will go to each piece of paper he flung haphazardly, pick it up, and then carefully return it to the basket. While we are happy to see him do this, we are a little concerned by his inability to stop. Our child has been known add his own things to the basket: a toy, a book, or even his shoes. Fortunately, I tend to find most things before I dump the basket into the recycling bag on trash night. However, a couple of weeks ago, we did notice there was one sock missing in the laundry pile, and we have yet to find it. Perhaps Kyle recycled it, which means there's a chance that somewhere in New York City, somebody's disposable coffee cup has been scented with the aroma of Kyle's feet.

For Kyle, the paper recycling basket truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Considering all the junk mail we will be receiving in the coming weeks, it looks like the little guy will be all set for Christmas.

1 comment:

erica said...

Oh my gosh, I remember these days with Kent, and they always cracked me up. He did like to "sort" the paper recycling too, but his main thing was putting stuff in his laundry hamper. He learned how to put away his socks and stuff, but he'd also throw random toys and books in there, so we always picked through it really carefully before dumping everything into the washer. =)

Thanks for the memories... hehe.