On the rocks

What’d I do this weekend?

Hmmm? Me? Oh. I mucked out B’s room. Mucked? Well, yes, there was a rake involved. And smelly stuff.

What’s that? Oh, I had to use a rake because B is a proud possessor of the Portuguese Packrat gene. The mucking had to happen while he’s still at Nana’s house.

Let me explain a little something about my oldest son. He’s never met a stick or rock that he did not find irresistible. They call to him with the siren’s song that has lured little boys to the rocky shores of parental disapproval for centuries. No rock is too large or cementish. Every pebble looks like an acorn or an eye or a piece of corn. Each and every broken branch is a sword or a walking stick. Driftwood is a pistol, rifle or pirate’s knife. Yesterday I must have collected 6 pounds of rocks and sticks from B’s room. And I left the pretty ones.

While rocks and sticks are a constant in B’s room – evenly scattered throughout – he has special hiding places for the things he knows we’ll really disapprove of. He has a step stool with a storage area in the top. When I bought it I envisioned books in it. Or maybe a bunch of those small army men that I’m constantly picking up all over the place. What did I find instead? A stash of Fruit By The Foot papers – no fruit, just papers. He never wants to throw them away because they still smell good.

There were the expected candy wrappers under the nightstand, dirty socks behind the dresser but under the bed… ugh… it just makes me shiver. The underside of his bed was chosen as the resting place of a particularly special find. Behind the child-size folding table and chairs, nestled amid the clean clothes, a forgotten shoe, broken crayons, an assortment of D’s balls and blocks and other little boy nesting materials, lay an intact mussel. Yes, like a clam – only a mussel. It was completely whole. Thankfully! I’m sure that’s the only reason I hadn’t smelled it already.

I have to take the blame for B’s bad cleaning habits. He cleans his room most weekends and does a good job at first glance. Obviously, I need to do a bit more than glance. I seem to have forgotten what nastiness a child can hide under a bed. I seem to recall some moldy fruit or some such from my own childhood.

We pick B up this weekend. At least I know the room will stay clean until then.

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