Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Priority Mail

Apparently toys are unnecessary.  I say this with total confidence as I sit in my office surrounded by Little People, cars, balls and unidentifiable pieces of who-knows-what.  That's right, toys are totally unnecessary.
This isn't breaking news.  I think every parent I know has said the exact same thing, "Why purchase the toy when all the kids want is the box?"  (That's a rhetorical question, by the way.  Don't expect any fresh insight from me.  I haven't gotten a decent amount of sleep in a week.  I'm too busy picking up who-knows-whats.)  This fascination with boxes and packaging is so puzzling to me, and I won't pretend to understand it.  What I do know is that from now on when friends of mine have babies or kids' birthday parties, I'm not bringing toys.  Don't stumble over yourself rushing to invite me to your next party.  I'm really popular.

From now on, when you get pregnant you can take your pick of gifts behind doors 1, 2 or 3.  Door number one?  Earplugs.  Just stay in the same room as the kid and chances are good you'll see the "thud" even if you can't hear it.  Door number two?  Stock in Rug Doctor.  Because, well, you know.  Door number three?  A gift certificate to the Container Store.  That's right, YOU get a box!  YOU get a box!  And YOU get a box!  (Channeling my inner Oprah.)

One poor, unsuspecting box.
Last Thursday could very well have been Cael's birthday (except that it was my birthday) because there were boxes galore.  While we bought a really nice bed for ourselves and two twins for the boys, we decided to go the build-it-ourselves route for the nightstands and bookshelf.  Three pieces of furniture and one reeeeeally late night later, we had three large left over boxes.  Knowing my boys as I do, I decided not to flatten one so they could play around in it the next morning. 

And play they did.  It was like Christmas, save for the snow and my will to get out of bed.  In the box, out of the box, under the box.  An accidental left hook from Cael, one incredibly ripe "brownie" in the pants, courtesy of Graham.  But of all of the games they created to accompany this ah-mazing box that God himself must have left on our floor, the best was to turn it into a train.  Was there ever any doubt?
"Graham!  Come get into my train!"

"Graham, let me push you!

"Let's fix the engine!"

"Graham, you can shovel the coal!"

"Let's climb under the box!"

"Eww, what's that stinky smell?!"

"Mommy, Graham has POOP!"

"Play with us, Mommy!"

"Hey!  Your bottom is too big for my train box!"

"Are you stuck, Mommy?"

I think I got lucky this time.  I usually find that when I supply one or both of them with some sort of household-item-turned-toy, it backfires on me big time.  Take, for example, the time I thought Graham (still a baby at that time) would get a kick out of banging on a metal bowl with a wooden spoon.

Parenting misstep, anyone?

Not only am I still recovering from my bleeding eardrums, but I unintentionally instilled in my son a love for beating on things (and people).  Of course Graham is quite gentle with his assaults, but my wood floors and stainless steel appliances have looked better.  Plus, he gave Cael some new ideas, and that's always a scary thought.

This incident was replaying in my mind as the boys were climbing in, under and around the beaten and battered box.  I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, and amazingly enough, it never happened.  Instead, we created another toy-free yet equally bizarre game in which I pretend to sneeze on my children.  You know, we just hadn't utilized enough bodily functions yet that day.

Just when I thought we were officially having a calm, "ism"-free day, Cael dives right in.

"Mommy, what are boxes for?"

"Boxes hold things.  You could use a box to keep things protected, to organize things or to mail something."

"I want to mail something.  Let's mail something in this box."

"Cael, this particular box is pretty roughed up.  But the next time I need to mail a package, you can help me."

"Mommy, I don't want to mail a package.  I want to mail Graham."

"Um, you want to mail something TO Graham?"

"NO!  I want to mail Graham.  Let's send him in the mail.  Waaaaaaay, way far away."

"Oh, that's not very nice.  We love Graham, and I would miss him very much.  But I'd like to have someone mail another Graham to me!"

"Well, okay.  At least it wouldn't be MORE BILLS!"

Is this kid some sort of Shaman or mystical spirit trapped in the body of a gassy three year-old?  He amazes me with not only his random wisdom and occasional sophisticated thought, but even more impressive is the way in which he weaves them throughout his regular jabber and comments about poop.  That's true comedic genius.  And there's only one other person on Earth with that same ability to make people laugh and that devilish grin.


I'll claim the hair, however. 
Other than that, he's not like me at all.


  1. Love it! My boys love boxes too or bins.

  2. They're like cats, aren't they? They squeeze into the smallest spots they can!

  3. Hi Mary,
    I attend AOF and am in a small group with John and he keeps sharing your latest stories with us so I had to come and read for myself. I had to bring the box of tissues over to the computer from laughing so hard I'm crying. Thank you for sharing. My 2 boys are 14 months apart... they are now just turned 13 and almost 12... this brings back SO MANY memories for me. My younger boy, Jonah, was a lot like Cael... and still is!

  4. Char- I'm glad you like the blog! And I'm very excited to hear that someone in my position made it through these early years without pulling out all of her hair!


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.