Quirks. Everyone has a trait which may seem peculiar to some, while others find these qualities amusing and cute.
I noticed it about a year ago; my 2-year-old, Anne, gathering “special” items and placing them in “special” bags.
“Isn’t that sweet,” I thought, as Anne collected small animals and stickers, tucking them away in her tiny pink plastic purse.
As the months wore on, Anne requested bigger and bigger bags to store her “special” treasures.
A tote bag here, a grocery bag there - and now a year later, these special bags are everywhere. Sorting them takes an immense amount of time and even then, I have to snag them in secret as Anne reacts as if I was robbing her of her favorite toy when I take them.
I was alarmed today when I noticed a grease stain on the pocket of Anne's winter coat and peaked in the pouch to find 5 french fries squashed inside.
“Anne, did you know you have french fries in your pocket?” I asked.
“Those were good. I am saving them for later.” she replied wheeling her baby cart filled with weird treasures like MAC false eyelashes, refried beans, and Ziplock bags stuffed with Play Doh.
Gazing around the laundry room, I noticed 2 special bags hanging from Anne's designated coat hook and found her school bag exploding with random papers, a yogurt tub, and various stuffed animals.
“Anne!” I exclaimed, a little frightened at the thought of my child being a future hoarder. “Let’s put away some of your special things.”
In horror, Anne grabbed her coveted special bags and held them to her chest. She proceeded to explain to me that she plays with her special bags. Of course, I had seen her playing with the random items as she sorts and names the contents, but is her behavior something I should be concerned about?
Turning to one of my favorite publications, Psychology Today, I searched for a reasonable explanation to calm my worried heart.
In an article entitled, Childhood Collecting: A Neglected Connection between Playing and Learning, Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein speak about children and their need to collect, stating “Sometimes a collection is not just a collection, but a spur to the imagination, to learning and creating.”
After reading this article, I felt a sense of relief. My fear turned to nervous laughter as I vowed never to watch an entire season of Hoarders on Netflix again.
I am sure there will be plenty of moments in the future when I will worry for my children as I observe their behavior, but for now, I am content in sorting out my daughter's special bags and will try not to over analyze her behavior.
Are we too worried as parents?
What are your kids' quirks?