Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Abstract Architect

Do you get embarrassed easily?  Most people would say "no", but what about those awkward moments when you find yourself in the checkout line at the grocery store buying only a flyswatter, a tube of A&E ointment, and a length of twine? 

In those inexplicable moments, I usually offer up my "Mom" status as a suitable explanation, but lately those moments of eclectic confusion have bled into my everyday life.

The last two weeks of been very busy in my house with Easter, various family celebrations, and 95% of my husband's yearly school events piled into the span of 14 days.  Cael and Graham take these very busy days in stride, inventing their own strange games and disappearing into the playhouse in the backyard to practice all of the swear words they may have heard at school. 

I may be a mom, but I'm no fool.

Adler, on the other hand, has responded to the additional freedom in a surprising way.  I thought he would use these unsupervised opportunities to hack into my iPad or iPhone, but instead he has taken to leaving me collections of items that seem unrelated, but must have some sort of mysterious connection.  And since he is slow to speak (like the other boys were) beyond "Mama" and "I don't know", I believe he expects me to translate these vignettes like pieces of very weird abstract art.

Take this for example.

This may look like a jack-o-lantern flashlight peeking out from inside a costume surgical cap, but I'm guessing this is Adler's subtle hint that he is concerned about my plans to plant pumpkins in our new garden because he knows that sprawling cucurbits like pumpkin, squash and gourds can enthusiastically take over a garden, and he would rather not sacrifice our peas and green beans for a few pumpkins in the fall.

I'll take this under advisement.

Examining Adler's collections have taught me that my boy's concerns about nature and environmental issues run deep.

These seven aligned pinecones and chevron washi tape are clearly a silent protest about deforestation. 

But not all of Adler's displays are so cut and dry.  Some demonstrate an intellectual maturity I didn't know was possible from a 22 month-old who likes to rub boogers on the back of my shirtsleeves right where I can't see them.

This piece moved me with its tension.

The complexity of the bottle cleaning brush, nasal syringe and chip-clip bound sippy-cup straw provided a strange dichotomy to the simplicity of the single Cheerio.  I've never seen a clearer physical representation of loneliness.  I'm here, Adler.

I'm here.

At first I thought this torn cardboard tube was part of a pile of garbage that Cael or Graham was gathering to throw away.  But after careful consideration, and remembering that my children don't throw things away, ever, I surmised that there must be a larger message.  The paper scrap in the shape of a heart could possibly represent Adler's sensitive emotions, and the askew Lego trident could indicate my tendency to ignore his feelings in favor of callous tasks like properly strapping him into his carseat or putting him to bed at a reasonable hour.  The plastic slice of pretend bread could only mean one thing-- that he would like to send his vegetables or other undesirable meal components to the starving children in other parts of the world.  From your lips to God's ears, baby.

But today, as I constructed breakfast, Adler constructed his pièce de résistance.  

It was as cryptic as ever.

A miniature ladle rested on a pair of seamless Victoria's Secret underwear he had pilfered from my dresser, and cradled the plastic head of some unknown "bad guy" that I originally assessed as a dried cranberry.  Hmm.  Lastly, the rubber skin of a de-boned Spinosaurus toy sat upon the ten of spades and our water bill. 

What did it mean?  Could the ladle with the severed head indicate an anger management problem?  Adler had thrown an impressive tantrum recently when he was not allowed to chew on the cord that leads to the DVR box.  Should the (still tagged and unworn) panties be interpreted as a protest to the wastefulness or our society?  Was the tackled water bill Adler's way of thumbing his nose to the establishment?  Was the card a cry for help for a burgeoning gambling issue?  

I didn't know the inspiration for this piece, but one thing was clear: this was art.

Or, this is a sign that I should focus more on my "Mom" status, and pay as much attention in the quiet moments as I do during the times of busy excitement.

"Alright, Adler.  Time to hit the store!  I need some thumb tacks, a blue garden tarp and eleven squeeze bottles of Hershey's syrup..."

1 comment:

  1. This whole post cracked me up...maybe I should start taking pics of the weird 'art' I find around my house, too!


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