19 October 2009

Fighting words

My children have all been great dumpers and tossers of things. The basic recipe goes something like: upend one tin of blocks, add a generous amount of Legos, and a smattering of cars. Using your hands, mix well until ingredients are incorporated, and then repeat vigorously, until items are spread to the far corners of the house.

Sacha is by far, my most talented child in this respect, and I am waiting patiently for him to outgrow this phase.

In the meantime, because I am a control freak have a low threshold for chaos, I spend a good amount of time sorting and returning things to their rightful places. This kind of routine busing of the house is so automatic to me that I do it unthinkingly, and without complaint.

The thing I cannot abide, however, is the flinging. Sacha walks in, sees pillows and blankets neatly arranged on the upholstery, and then methodically tosses everything to the floor. He stops to assess his work, and moves on to the den to do it again.

It is how my house goes, in under sixty seconds, from this:

to this:


It would be one thing if this happened in the course of play – say, making a fort – but the flinging appears to be an exercise in itself. More often than not, once the flinging is done, so is Sacha. His work is so deliberate that it is hard for me not to take it personally. It's as if he is certain that my insistence on placing pillows on the furniture is wrongheaded, and if he rearranges things often enough, eventually I will come to agree. 

Or so I thought, until I walked in to the living room last weekend to find Sacha wrestling with a brown pillow, shouting, “YOU'RE GOING DOWN PILLOW, YOU'RE GOING DOWN!”

This gave me a different perspective. In hindsight, we often realize our tendency to personalize things that have nothing to do with us. I thought the flinging was about me, but now, I saw that it was the pillows, not me, that are Sacha's nemesis.

I'd like to say that this insight gave me new found tolerance for Sacha's idiosyncrisy, but that would be a baldfaced lie. It's still extremely annoying.