I am a huge fan of creativity. I adore every thing my son has created with his two hands and I was always going to be that mom who kept everything. But let's face it, kids make a lot of stuff. Stuff on cardboard, stuff with sparkly bits that fall off, stuff with bulky fusilli pasta glued to it, stuff that sometimes starts to smell after a short while. And in my defense, we have only a finite amount of storage space in our house, the front of our fridge is not magnetic and I am only four years into my parenting experience.
All this to say that in preparation for hosting our family Christmas turkey dinner this year, I was clearing off the kitchen table and I threw some stuff away. Among the things I threw away was a small paper plate with six googly eyes and a black feather glued to it. I held it up for an instant and thinking out loud I said, "I'm going to throw this away." My husband looked up from chopping vegetables and said, "That's Cole's ornament. He's gonna be mad." To which I replied, "Don't tell him," and chucked it into the bottom of the garbage bin.
That night at bed time, Cole and I were sharing in some bedtime stories and I thought it might be a good moment to prep him for the upcoming festivities. His cousin, one year his junior, would be visiting and although we'd all been getting extremely excited, I wanted him to get into a sharing-mind-set. So I reminded him gently, "When Isaac comes to visit tomorrow, remember you must share all of your toys with him and play nicely." My four year old nodded at me somberly and then splayed his fingers, touched the tips together in a thoughtful way and said to me, "But not my very most special things, Mommy."
"Your most special toys that you don't want to share, you can bring into Mommy's room to keep them safe."
"Okay," he seemed relieved.
"What special toys do you mean, Cole?" I asked.
"Like my very special creation."
"The one with the feather and the eyes...."