I tell him that in spite of it being a flat surface, the top of his dresser is not for toy storage. But still I find it cluttered with little boy things: rogue crayons, a LEGO keychain, piles of books. In his closet, there is a drawer full of treasures–tiny toys with many parts. I’ve tried, but I can’t decipher his criteria: one thing thrown haphazardly in the drawer while the next is proudly put on dresser display.
At six, his organizational skills are lacking. He zooms from one room to the next, a whirlwind of vignettes in his path. On the kitchen table there are the LEGO creations, littered with 2×2’s yet to be placed. His room is a board game tournament at the ready–each one perfectly set, only awaiting a playing partner. And on the coffee table, a parade of creatures lines the perimeter. Whether they march to certain doom or simply to the beat of an inaudible drum, I can’t be sure.
I threaten with loss of dessert, but then the landscape of his toy wonderland falls on forgetful eyes and happily I pass cookies or a cupcake. And then after the rush of bedtime I find his clutter there still and I remember. Drat! Another narrow escape.
I go about my dailies while he’s at school and as I drop off clean clothes or strip dirty sheets I’ll happen upon a disastrous scene: a mass graveyard of hand-me-down G.I. Joe torsos. Or Batman’s Joker cornered by a towering Buzz Lightyear. Sometimes they stop me in my tracks and I can’t help but to explore deeper, trying to piece the scene together. It’s like seeing the inner workings of his budding little mind–a perfectly preserved display that I can’t bear to disassemble before he maps the ending.
He’s not snips or snails or puppy dog tails. He’s acorns collected in a cupped shirt. He’s scavenged pennies. He’s hot pink vampire teeth from the school treasure box. He’s every birthday card ever sent. And the scribbled Sharpie note Daddy wrote on his lunchbox napkin.
With playscapes in progress in most every room, I find him on the couch by the window. He’s dressed for Tiger scouts, a book commanding his boyhood attentions.
His playthings are small and scattered, but his dreams are big and adventurous. He’s a boy and I’m so glad he’s mine.