Cody and Carter, like most children, are collectors. It used to be mostly rocks and leaves, little pieces of nature that would end up on our bookshelves amidst the framed pictures, vases, and delicate glass candy dishes despite my best efforts to have them leave their treasures outside on the small shelf by our front door. We have an abandoned bird’s nest on our outdoor shelf that Carter found on one of our walks. It is filled with tiny red berries in various stages of decay. I very much like that nest, the berries not so much. Nowadays the focus of their collections mostly falls on buttons, pennies, and paperclips – a little less organic but still fun to collect I suppose.
I am a collector too. I collect words, phrases, and details. I am amused by the sound of certain words or combination of words. I love using words in atypical ways. Lately whenever I get out of the shower and shake my towel, something I have done for years since that one time I found a Hobo spider climbing on it while it was wrapped around me, I don’t just shake the towel to free it from Hobo spiders. No, I shake the possibility of a Hobo spider from my towel. The idea of shaking a possibility away, as if it was a tangible object intrigues me way more than I think it should.
I also enjoy jokes and sayings that involve play on words. As an example, my dad used to say that it was colder than a well digger’s ass when it was cold out. My dad was not one to use “bad words” so this expression really stood up and caught my attention as a child (and yes I know it is not an example of a play on words, wait for it.) Since I do not want my boys using this expression I have been trying out new ones that are more kid friendly. I have come up with one that I continue to snicker at no matter how many times I say it but it is not really kid friendly. I only say it to Husband when the boys can’t hear (then I snicker and Husband rolls his eyes.) I would like to think I am clever enough that my new expression is an original but I seriously doubt it. My expression? It is colder than a snowman’s balls (snicker, snicker.) When the kids are around I modify it in such a way that it is the snowman’s nose that it is colder than, but it just doesn’t flow as well in my opinion.
My collection of words, my interest in them and the many ways they can be used have rubbed off on Cody and Carter. They love rhyming and storytelling. They can hear a word once, not know what it really means and then several days later use that word in a sentence (although usually not correctly.) It amazes me the things they come up with and their ability to remember words that are foreign and rather meaningless to them.
Both boys have had speech delays and have been in speech therapy. You would never know it by talking to them today. One day when Carter was in his young threes his therapist asked me to write a list of words he had difficulty saying. I blew her away when Pileated (type of woodpecker) and Madrona (type of tree) were included in my list of words. In one of Cody’s speech sessions he was asked to name the pictures on flashcards, he got quite insistent that the bus on the card was not just a bus but a city bus. He was and continues to be all about details and observations.
Cody made a clever little observation during our weekly pizza and movie night a couple Fridays ago that caused the writer in me to smile with pride. We were watching Hoodwinked, a parody on Little Red Riding Hood. Red was sad and walking through the forest. The flowers were closing as she walked by. Cody asked me why all the flowers were closing and I told him it was because Red was sad. Red continued to walk, passing a waterfall as she went. Cody looked at me and said in a sad little voice the waterfall is Red’s tears, momma. Ah, how I love that he put that together.
I hope the boys continue to look at the world with wonder and to make collections of the things that interest them as time goes on. I hope they grow up to be kind and loving, to be happy and successful. I also hope that whatever they choose to do with their lives they have a love for writing. I hope they too will be collectors of words, phrases, and details.