Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Princess Pack Rat

My daughter is a pack rat, literally. Have you ever seen the nest of a pack rat? These little creatures find interesting things to bring back to their nesting area. When they do find something that interests them, if somewhere along the way they find something better, they will trade one object for the other one.

The pack rat and my daughter also have another commonality, they both love shiny objects. My son used to do this too. He would find things that interested him and he would put them inside something. Sometimes it was an envelope but most often it was a bag. He did this so much that my wife and I bought a little canvas bag and glitter painted his name on it so he could carry his things in it. Yes, I am admitting that my son carried a murse. In his defense, he carried his Bob the Builder hammer and screwdriver in it, so at least there is that. Eventually he grew out of it and like any man’s coat including my own, I will find interesting things in his pockets.

My daughter on the other hand finds any bag she can fit stuff inside and fill it with crazy things. Here are the contents of one I found earlier: a pair of her socks, a beaded necklace, Strawberry Shortcake figure, a used up sticker, a rock, Chapstick, and a crayon. Let’s face it, she is just pre-programmed to be a gatherer. It’s not like I walk around with bags and fill it with things. She just has this obsession with building a mini collection in a bag. And then it dawned on me, she is preparing herself for later in life when she will carry a purse! I am old enough to know that a woman’s purse is a sacred place. My first experiences with the depth (literally) of a woman’s purse were with my grandmother’s pocketbook as she called it and my own mom’s purse. Sometimes these things were humongous and I wondered how anyone could find anything inside these giant collection bags. Sometimes the most dreaded question was “Honey, could you get (blank) out of my purse?”

Of course we could never find it and when we brought the purse to them, they would procure said item in a wink shake their heads saying “How could you not see that, it was right there?” First, it is because you ladies are good at cataloguing things and secondly, we just don't see things. I bet right now you could mentally imagine what your purse looks like inside and know where you usually put your lipstick, cell phone, or wallet. I can barely remember what I had for lunch.

When I taught high school some teenage boys tried messing with a girl's purse. They literally almost lost their hands like a thief in Agrabah. It is AMAZING the things they carry. Carrying a bag for a man is like writing a check anywhere. It’s just not manly. Sure bags have tried to cross over to men. The fanny pack is a reminder of that but bags for dudes are just not cool. I will be the first to admit that my winter coat and any coat I own has more pockets than months on a calendar. In fact, I won't buy a coat unless it has a ridiculous number of pockets.

Guys don't have anywhere to put their stuff and if we had stuff we wouldn't want to carry it with us anyway unless it was concealed by hidden pockets. Cargo shorts are a definite staple of a Stay At Home Dad. Covert pockets can carry stuff and as a stay at home dad I am required to carry stuff. Not only that but hidden pockets help us pretend we are spies as cool as 007 and Get Smart.

As for my daughter, she continues to collect things and deposit them inside other things. It is amazing how far this obsession has gone. She received a Disney Princess pop up play tent for her third birthday this year which was awesome. The scary thing is that the inside looks like an episode of Hoarders but only if there was a kid version of that show. Going in the Princess tent means you could be buried alive by tiaras, Barbies, and play food. So for now, I have to pretend I am Neicy Nash and every couple of weeks need to Clean House. The next time I lose my keys I know where I am looking first; the princess tent is the number one suspect and my own coat is number two.

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