Same job, different uniform.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Eye of the Beholder

This afternoon I decided Wyatt and I needed to pick his room up. He has a train table in his room which was barely visible anymore underneath all the Legos, Lincoln Logs, broken Matchbox cars, wooden trains, wooden track, and various bits and pieces of detritus. I asked Wyatt to pick up any books scattered around the room and pile them next to his book shelf (4 year olds are hard pressed to return a book to a spot - ANY spot - on a book shelf in a manner in any way similar to the way it was before it was removed. I don't know if it is a manual dexterity problem or a mom manipulation problem . . . ). Then I had him put together a puzzle whose pieces were scattered beneath his train table.

While he did these things, I started in on the task of separating the toys from the . . . well . . . "not-toys." I began to move things into piles and find what I thought were logical places for them: a plastic container here, a drawer there . . . the trashcan. It was at this point that my 4 year old began to enlighten me.

His plastic army men were scattered all over the drawer of his train table. Scanning the room I spied a plastic container with an attached lid that formerly contained wet-wipes.

ME: "Wyatt, how about if I put your army men in here?"

WYATT: "No, Mom. That's my dog food container." [He has five stuffed dogs that, I forgot, get fed regularly from this container.]

ME: "Okay." [Scanning the room, I spy a shoe box that once held a pair of Cars sneakers. I pick it up.] Wyatt how about this for the army men?"

WYATT: "Well, that is what Dad uses to carry cars."

ME: "What?"

WYATT: "Dad uses that to carry cars when he travels."

ME: [Still a bit fuzzy on this.] "Oh."

After some convincing Wyatt did consent to let me use the Car-Travel-Case as an Army-Men-Storage-Unit. I move on to picking up and throwing in the trash things like old plastic drinking straws, half of the top of a cardboard egg carton, a 1" x 1/2" scrap of green paper. Eagle eyes catches me and carefully explains the purpose of all of it.

WYATT: [Pulling the straws out of the trash can.] "I use these for my trains. "

WYATT: [Picking up, but barely glancing at, the tiny scrap of green paper and holding it between thumb and forefinger.] "This is the corner of my directions to my Thoms the Train Legos." [HOW he can recall that this tiny, wrinkled, torn, and faded scrap of trash is the corner of ANYTHING - let alone specifically remember that it belongs to the directions to Legos that build a small Thomas the Train track and engine - is beyond me. But after careful examination, I find that he is correct.]

By this point he does not have to explain to me that the torn, half-top of the cardboard egg carton has purpose, meaning and a place in the complex infrastructure of his room and the microcosm of small town train life. I hold it up and ask: "Do you use this with your trains?" He replies simply, "Yes."

I'll find a place for it later - maybe on top of a train table or something.

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Blogger elphaba said...

Oh, to have an imagination like that again.

Knowing, Wyatt, he probably would have been able to then draw a spiritual metaphor from this scenario.
"You see, mom, this paper is like an overlooked human being, even thought this tiny paper may not look like it has a purpose, to God it is very, very special.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Blogger JEB said...

Oh, now you are just sucking up!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


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