Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Garbage Collector

My oldest child used to collect seashells.  He had a pretty decent collection.  My next child collected stuffed animals...and had a name and background for each one (which was pretty impressive, considering she had around fifty stuffed animals.)  Irelynn used to collect shells.  Then she collected rocks.  She even collected bottle caps for a brief time.  Now my child has started a new collection...trash.

At first I was impressed by her creativity and penchant for going "green."  She wants to recycle everything into art projects.  Pizza boxes, sucker sticks, pudding cups, wrappers...she somehow finds a reason to save each and every one.

Now, as people who have known me for several years know...this kind of behavior bothers me. Greatly. I have overcome many of my anal tendencies after having several kids and realizing that there is just no way you can remain anal with five kids. You would drive yourself insane. I do still go in spurts, though, and randomly declutter the house, rendering my family speechless.  I also have resigned to merely cringing when the children put things back in the "wrong" place, instead of immediately moving it back to where I feel it should go.  I wouldn't say I've reached a zen-like acceptance level, but I have come a long way.

Until now.

As I was cleaning the kitchen, and Irelynn was quickly removing items from the garbage that I had just disposed of, my eye began to twitch. I tried to be reasonable, and let her keep some items. I tried to take deep breaths as I saw her "collection" pile up in her bedroom. I was reaching the end of my rope, though.

The other day she wanted to fish out all of the unpopped kernels from the bowl of popcorn my husband made.

"WHY??" I felt the eye twitch coming on.

"I want to save them until the summer so I can try to plant them.  Or I can glue them to paper and make a cool picture."

She also wanted to save the wrapper to Owen's Star Wars sucker...for an art project.

I don't remember what item it was that made me snap...the burger wrapper? The empty cat treat bag? The cardboard toilet paper roll?

"Just throw it AWAY!!  It is GARBAGE!  You are NOT keeping anymore GARBAGE! Go collect normal coins, or shells, or even the stupid Obama trading cards your dad collects!  JUST NO MORE TRASH!!"

Yesterday she told me she wants to start collecting the Magic Tree House books. I think I can live with that.