Category: Parenting and Kids
This is something I wrote for Parents Magazine. It never appeared online, so I did my best to get it on here.
“Arlo, where are the batteries?”
“Arlo, where are Mommy’s scarves? How about the Apple TV remote?”
“Arlo, did you put the fingernail clippers somewhere?”
“Daddy, do you know where my legos are?”
“No, Silas… ask your brother, he probably packed them somewhere.”
You should know that Arlo is not our freelance organization expert. He’s four years-old, and has recently taken a shine to wandering the house, collecting items (sometimes very important) and placing them in containers: grocery bags, boxes, suitcases, random drawers and cabinets, the subwoofer. If he were an adult with money and the freewill to purchase items, one might consider this youngster a hoarder, but I believe such status entails acquiring new stuff, not simply aggregating stuff one already has.
If you’d like to see human frustration in its most natural state, simply say “no” to a three-year-old. You can also adjust a “wall” of the “grocery store” he made out of Magna Tiles. Another option might be to move one of his Calico Critters 1/32nd of an inch in any direction. These are his dearest items, but merely being in the vicinity of his stuff will elicit Arlo’s primal yell.
We could deal with the crying and occasional tantrum. But this new “angry monkey defending his territory” yelling—a rich dessert to the main course hissy fit—causes us to close the windows in September for fear that our neighborhood might think we’re operating a tattoo parlor for children, or branding chickens.