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the tiger did it

upon walking into our "toy room," which is a room in our basement where most of the kids' toys are kept and where they are mostly played with, i discovered that all the toys, puzzles, games, things with microscopic plastic pieces, food from the pantry, vacuum bags, dryer lint and other random items were in a giant pile on the floor.

cade was sleeping innocently in his crib, so i deduced that the young toddler standing next to
mount miscellaneous with a box of instant mashed potatoes in one hand and a empty lego box in the other was the guilty party. however, not wanting to assume (when one assumes one makes a donkey out of one's self, or something like that), i decided to open an investigation to determine the perpetrator. naturally, despite my frustration at the mess, i calmly asked the master of mess-making who created this catastrophe. actually, it went almost exactly like this:
me: wow, jack, what's this?
jack: a jungle.
me: that's amazing. it has so many toys and things from this room in it. i wonder who made this mess?
jack: it wasn't me.
me: oh, it wasn't? okay. interesting. well, then, do you know who did this?
jack: yes.
me: okay. who was it?
jack: the tiger.
me: right. well, do you think that the tiger could start to clean this mess up?
jack (beginning to cry/whine): i can't do it by myself!
this quickly deteriorates into a whine and cheese fest, complete with both of us getting increasingly upset. logic seems to dictate to me that if he can make the mess by himself he can also clean it by himself, but this reasoning doesn't work with him. however, once the mountain is back to a mole hill, and i've got a little perspective, i can see through the minefield of mess and realize that these are the priceless moments. i love having a tiger in the house who likes to explore the boundaries of what is ok and wants to make new connections between things that are separated into categories. i love having a toddler in the house who will seriously engage in an imaginative conversation with me about making a jungle in our basement. jesus said to let the children come to him and not to stop them, because it is the childlike who inherit the kingdom of heaven. i need to remember that when i begin imposing my logic on a child's imagination, and when i lose sight of the tiger and his jungle because of the toys and their pieces.
and so as the vacuum (complete with bag attached) is sucking up the instant mashed potatoes, i am not thinking about the mess. i'm thinking how blessed i am to be here now. but i'm also thinking that if i catch that tiger, i'm going to tickle him like he's never been tickled...


cathyq said…
Yes, you have to watch those tigers. They're not tame you know!

Also, I seem to remember another blonde-haired, brown-eyed toddler saying something similar when the iodine was on the carpet and there was a mushroom clound of baby powder descending on the dark-paneled bedroom. Funny, how it doesn't seem so awful now. Good job with gaining the perspective so soon. It took me awhile longer to smile about the "Jungle." I'm so glad you're enjoying it now; telling the story in years to come will be fun too.

Tell that "tiger" that I love him and miss him (and no tickling).
Mary said…
awww...gnome kiss the nice little tiger for me please :)
Emoly said…
eenie meenie minie moe...
NJ Grandma said…
Don't sweat the small stuff - it is just a jungle :)

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