Photo Credit: Phil McIver Flickr via Compfight cc
They collect their little treasures. Sea shells, sticks, seed pods, and berries. Anything they can pick up. Sometimes I have to talk them out of treasuring cigarette butts, random bits of sharp metal and anything truly foul that I can’t imagine touching let alone taking home. I want to tell them it’s just junk, leave it there. Remind them that in a few weeks they will have forgotten all about these things (until of course a sibling runs off with it) and I’ll be stuck cleaning them up or trying to keep the exploring baby from maiming himself.

All I can see is the work it creates for me, and it’s easy to forget the wonder these little every day trinkets create for them. My daughter loves scissors and becomes very attached to the little (by which I mean tiny) scraps of paper that she creates. As they little my floor I just want to sweep them up with the dirt because they are also dirty and because sometimes I want my floor to be clean for more than 10 seconds. Then she weeps as though I’ve banished a family member and I remember what it’s like to be that age.

I remember having collections of every kind, rocks, feathers, sea glass, etc. I also remember the irritation it caused my mother. So I try to find a middle way. I set limits on what I will bring inside, but allow them to make piles outside. Items ruled too gross or dangerous are discouraged. Yet when my daughter comes to me with the first red bird feather she’s ever found and tells me she’s sure it came from a cardinal, I have to try and forget the germs it could be carrying and wonder with him.

One mom’s trash is a child’s treasure. Sometimes my irritations can be their inspiration.


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