And People Say Kids Don’t Pick Up After Themselves


With the friendliest of intentions, one of our neighbors handed us a stack of magazines the other week.

They were very good magazines, but the realities of life mean it would be three years before we would ever actually read them. Clearly, while some of them could be donated to the rack at the gym, many of them just needed to go to recycling.

As I made a stack of Get Rid of These Magazines, a curious little face popped up from under the counter. Holy hell, but that startled me! What was it? A monkey loose from the zoo? A Killer Bee? A Tse-Tse fly? An airborne blood pathogen? A magical sprite?

Yes, a sprite. Of sorts. Which I realized only after I took out my handy-dandy fly swatter/monkey catcher kit and starting whacking wildly at the curious face.

“MOOOOOOM! Stooopppp! You’re hitting me,” the face hollered.

What. the.

When had monkeys learned to holler? Evolution is so cool.

It was Paco. Sensing an opportunity, he had crawled into the room and been watching me mutter and stack and start heaving magazines into the recycling bin.

“Could I have a couple of those?” he asked.

“Do you have matches?” I countered.

An innocent “no” came my way.

No dummy, I then asked, “Do you have a Bic lighter?”

“You mean one of those clicky things that makes a flame?” the innocent voice queried. “No, I don’t have one of those.”

“Do you have gasoline or a scythe or low-level explosives?” I needed to confirm.

“Not right now,” he conceded. “But I do have scissors. Can I use scissors?”

Yes. Scissors fall under The Parental Umbrella of Approved Tools to Use In Conjunction with Newsprint, Recipe Cards, and Magazines.

Quickly, however, the boy realized that, compared to the claws that grow naturally on the ends of his fingers, scissors are clunky and ineffective.

Bare-handed, he tore the stuff apart.

Then, after he shredded it beyond repair (as a boyfriend once did to my heart), the boy–curiously–felt the need to cradle the remnants for a brief period.

A quiet moment to consider the damage…

…and then–Hand to Heaven and Martha Stewart!–an unaccountable need to clean up struck.

Seriously. What 6-year-old boy wants to tidy up? (not coincidentally, did you happen to read a previous post about this kid called “My Fine, Gay Son”?)

Reassuringly, midway through the clean-up, Paco realized he was actually a trash compactor, one that used its head.

…and its feet. High-end trash compactors have feet these days, you see.

Spic and span. Tidy and tight.

But what to do with the bag of scraps?

Sighing in defeat, I handed over the Bic lighter.




22 responses to “And People Say Kids Don’t Pick Up After Themselves”

  1. kmkat Avatar

    Boys + fire = happiness.

    When #1 son went on an overnight camping trip with his E1 class, what was his most favoritest part? Getting to strike matches, something his mother had never let him try.

  2. Shania Avatar

    Can you have him spread it all back out in a nice little nest over in the corner? I'm coming to live in that gorgeous kitchen and I want somewhere to sleep.

  3. Jenn @ Juggling Life Avatar
    Jenn @ Juggling Life

    Boys and pyromania–an unbeatable combo since time immemorial.

  4. diane Avatar

    I would search Paco's room for a coffee pot if I was you.

  5. Dory Avatar

    Paco is such an adorable little pyro!

  6. Jazz Avatar

    I particularly like the picture of him with his head in the bag.

  7. Fragrant Liar Avatar
    Fragrant Liar

    The kid should at least now be totally stress-free. What a great therapist you'd make! :))

  8. Becky Cazares Avatar
    Becky Cazares

    Magazine shredding therapy! You could make millions! And if that doesn't work, just hire out the Paco-shredder who even CLEANS UP… wow!

  9. Mad's mom Avatar
    Mad’s mom

    Here from Pearl…loved this. Totally random question: I have almost the same paint color in my kitchen. What color are your countertops? (we're considering a remodel and it's cool seeing my color in someone else's house.)

  10. Green Girl in Wisconsin Avatar
    Green Girl in Wisconsin

    That is dang cute. I have some paper on my end that needs shredding if you hire him out…

  11. lime Avatar

    hey, ya just had to reward the self started clean up process with a chance for a controlled burn!

  12. Michelle Wells Grant Avatar
    Michelle Wells Grant

    Aw but he's a sweet little sprite. And I want that new kitchen of yours!!!! And you look so skinny (in previous post), Ms. Marscapone!

  13. tattytiara Avatar

    Ah hahaha what wonderfulness!

  14. secret agent woman Avatar
    secret agent woman

    Hmm. My old boyrfiend not only shredded my heart beyond repair but he, too, cradeled the remnants for a brief period. Man, that was an unpleasant bit of deja vu!

  15. actonbell Avatar

    Too cute! And I identify with the magazines–I can't even manage to get through the newspaper every day…

  16. heartinsanfrancisco Avatar

    Could you send him to me posthaste? Do I have a job for him! And if he should happen to possess a shoulder rocket, all the better. I'll even beg if that's what it takes.

  17. Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings Avatar
    Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings

    I hope my son is so excited about cleaning at that age! I also hope he starts sleeping soon too. It"s 11 p.m. and he won't go back to bed. Arrrrrrgh!

  18. monica Avatar

    oh there's nothing like boys and their little innocent voices.. ;o)

  19. Patois Avatar

    Ah, but I'd love to have seen the bonfire he created.

  20. chelle Avatar

    Evolution is so cool.

    What fun.Seriously. To destroy the world, then clean it up … all in a days work!

  21. Anonymous Avatar

    uhm, you could RECYCLE it!!

  22. Jocelyn Avatar

    Dear Anonymous: We did recycle it. We don't actually let the kid burn stuff, nor does his sensitive self want to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *