Learning new tricks from 3,000 miles away

Mom was, in her own words, a pack rat, which has upsides and downsides. Brother #2 has shown the primary downside in excruciating and overwhelming detail on his blog. One upside of all of us working for a week on this is that we have made great progress, as Brother #2 also shows . . . and his photo of the garage is old–we now have cleared enough that we have a car parked in there.

The other upside–hey, there’s got to be a silver lining in here somewhere, right?–is that there are plenty of opportunities to learn or remember about my family or myself. For example, I know that for my sixth birthday, the theme was Batman, which makes sense given all of the Batman logo drawings on my kindergarten schoolwork.

Yes, I have all of my kindergarten schoolwork. Don’t you? (And don’t dis Mom in your response, pal.)

I also know that “We ate lemon cake with bat [diagram of bat decoration on cake], ice cream & fruit punch.” In addition, Mom noted that we “bought 2 gals of fruit punch & used only 1 for 11 guests + Papa, Sister #3, & Brother #2.” But refreshments were only the fourth activity that day:

We played:

  1. Pin the Bat on Batman–2 Tootsie Pop prizes–closest and furthest
  2. Unwrap game #1–Davey Embick won a mini-Rubber Dragon
  3. Papa unwrapped his gifts
  4. Refreshments
  5. Take group picture [which I’m sure is in one of these other boxes around here]
  6. Unwrap game #2
  7. Hot Potato (“Spudsie”)–Sister #3 won a Tootsie Pop
  8. Colors–Record & Balloons– [no idea what this means, unless we were rockin’ Ice T when I was 6]

And home

The lesson is to follow the six-month rule: if you haven’t touched it in six months, recycle it, shred it, burn it, shoot it out of a cannon . . . whatever, just get rid of it. The bigger lesson is that there are certain family traits, like being a pack rat, that I don’t want to continue or pass on. Mom’s house is a vivid example of where that trait can lead–places both fascinating and tedious. While I’m fascinated by the history, the tedious bearing of that burden would sap energy from me that I use to find new fascinations and learn new tricks.

Turns out 3B has been learning some new tricks this week, as related to me by Mama, who’s with him, 3,000 miles from here:

  • On Sunday, he threw his first temper tantrum, screaming, crying, and pulling his cousin’s hair (sorry about that, cuz).
  • Also on Sunday, he learned how to take off his pants, which he now does every time he’s put down for a nap. Fortunately, he’s not taking off his diaper too (please knock on wood for us on that count).
  • He learned the sound that squirrels make when they’re doing battle with the chipmunks in Grammy’s backyard and, being fascinated with the cute little rats, to look immediately to the bird feeder, which is their primary battleground, when he hears it.

With no prompting from Mama or Grammy, 3B also learned how much fun a mud puddle is:

This is one trait that Mama can’t deny comes from her side of the family:

However, I believe that Mama’s holding me responsible for 3B’s proclivity for eating rocks:

And even though Mama’s been proclaiming that 3B gets his adorable cheeks from me, I have to say that she’s got an even claim on them–more than even, since his cheeks also have her dimples:

As for this, we’re both blaming Barky:

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  • I think all children should grow up on farms, if only for the mud factor.

  • How cute is that last picture!!!!

  • He did not get any of that from me, I am sure. I love to see the pictures, but I am sorry I missed your fifth birthday party. Did I offend you or was I just too old?

  • my husband’s mom is a complete packrat and, on one hand, I’m dreading going through her mountains of things that she’s saved over the years BUT, on the other hand, I’m really looking forward to finding treasures from my husband’s childhood.

    packrats: not such a bad thing

  • Mmm, mud. I’m only a minor pack rat, but I’m also a minor neat freak. Mud would kill me.