So I know this girl, her name is Ava and this girl named Ava likes to save every little thing. This girl named Ava is actually my eight-year-old daughter. I feel absolutely terrible for doing this, but when she is at school, I will go into her room and throw stuff out.
Does anybody else do this? I can’t be alone in this, right? Come on moms, please tell me you do this, too.
Some days it breaks my heart to throw out her drawings and doodles… but she doodles just so damn much! I couldn’t possibly save everything. Doodles and drawings aside, she also collects stuff — rocks, empty containers, rocks…did I say rocks? She has a thing for them lately. I hung up her coat the other day and it weighed waaay more than it should have. I unzipped her pocket and a handful of rocks fell onto my kitchen floor. She quickly ran over, scooped them up and headed to her bedroom. I think she knew that I would throw them out. I think at one point every kid has a rock collection, though.
Although, it did make me stop and think — is this more than just typical kid stuff or is my daughter headed for a life of hoarding? Because rock collections I can live with, but it was another incident that really had me asking myself some serious questions.
We were at Subway with my mother and we had just finished our meal. I had gotten up and started to clean up our garbage from the table. Seems normal, right? My daughter had just finished her bag of Doritos and I sat there and watched her carefully rip open the bag. She peeled it open like she was Charlie peeling open the chocolate bar to find a golden ticket. She ripped the bag open so that it was flat like a piece of paper.Have you ever watched a kid doing something so intently. The look of determination on their face is almost inspiring. Anyway, I went to clean up the table and she stopped me when I grabbed the bag.
“Hey, what are you doing?”, she asked as if I had just ripped off her right arm.
“I am getting rid of the garbage”, I said. She told me next that she wanted to keep the Doritos bag. “I was saving that”, she said in the world’s saddest voice ever.
This was my face in that exact moment.
“Huh? Ava, why on earth do you want to save a piece of garbage? You know that’s garbage, right?” I asked her.
But, I just couldn’t get over it. Why would she want to save a piece of garbage? Out of all the things she has saved this was by far the strangest and the fact that she took the time to peel it open made it even more strange to me.
This was one of those parenting moments where I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “what the heck is wrong with you???” but kids don’t really respond well to that, so I thought I had better try and rationally figure out what was going on in her head.
So, in my calmest, most understanding mommy voice I could muster up, I asked her why she wanted to save piece of garbage. Ava looked at me and responded, “I want to make something with this. This is a perfect piece for a craft.”
OH. MY. GOODNESS.
THERE. IT. WAS.
It was with that one simple answer that it hit me — she is copying me! ME! My daughter sounded just like me. It was like I heard my own voice coming through a tiny little eight-year-old.
Then I realized, SHE GETS ALL THIS FROM ME. All the keeping of stuff and things — that is me! I have an entire craft room full of Doritos ba— totally just kidding. I DO NOT have a craft room full of Doritos bags. In all seriousness, though… I do have a craft room jam packed full of stuff that I am saving. Stuff that I just can’t bear to part with because you never know when you are going to need it for a DIY.
My daughter is watching me, learning and aspiring to be just like her mother and in the only way she knows how. The more I pay attention to her the more I see it. Although I didn’t let her take home the Doritos bag, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride. This was her taking an interest in the things that interest me.
So yah, I have a whole craft room full of stuff. Maybe too much stuff, but the way I look at it, there are way worse things in this world. If I want to have a craft room full of stuff I am saving that I might one day use — so be it.
And you know what, I am going to use this as a learning opportunity. This is now a great thing that we can do together. Rather than just throwing the bag out and not paying attention to why she wanted it, I suggested to her that she and I could work through my craft room together. I let her know that she can help me with some of my DIYs and together we can work our way through some of the stuff we collect.
So, the next time you think your kid is doing something strange or weird, talk to them. You never know what is going on in their minds. They might just surprise you.
Besides, imitation is the greatest form of flattery.
Let me know in the comments below if your kids try to copy you, too!