Everywhere I go in my house, there are these little pieces of thin, rigid, clear plastic film. They are triangular and roughly the size of a postage stamp, although some are bigger. They get all static-y and are stuck to the floor, the bottoms of my socks, the fronts of the kitchen cabinets and the counters. Starting in the kitchen, they migrate outward as they get tracked into every floor in every room in the entire house. I am sure we have even unknowingly eaten some.
This static-y, filmy, triangular litter comes from the Ritalin patches Sweet Pea uses to help with his ADD symptoms. They are the backing of the patch and for each one piece of patch, there are two pieces of litter. In preparation for his Mt. Misery trip (In case you are just joining us, you can read about this trip in three installments here, here, and here) we started working with Sweet Pea to get his patch on by himself in the mornings. While this patch is a medical breakthrough as far as I am concerned, it is a little tricky to attach. It is not like putting on a sticker. This thing is thin, filmy and super sticky and if it ever gets stuck to itself, it will never ever come apart so it has to get trashed, which is a drag b/c they are expensive. Also, this patch actually has to be taped on or it comes off, and that isn’t good for anyone. Now, nearly 5 months later, he gets patched independently most mornings. Patch independence is wonderful, with the minor exception of the 4 pieces of plastic litter that Sweet Pea sets free every morning to roam our home.
The ubiquitous plastic flotsam started me thinking about the things that have littered my home since we had kids. The actual definition of litter (because I looked it up) is: material forming a surface-covering layer. That is totally what I am talking about, the litter of my life! The outer layer of inescapable evidence that tells the story of who lives and plays here. This is what defines us as a family.
When the boys were brand new babies, it was those cotton nursing pads. They were everywhere because you nurse a new baby, what… 75 times a day? Then you fall asleep in the chair with the full, happy baby. I certainly wasn’t going to wake up to make a special trip to the trash to throw away a nursing pad. My girlfriend and her then 7 year-old daughter come over to meet newborn Sweet Pea. There were two nursing pads on the end table next to the comfy spot where I usually sat to feed Sweet Pea. When her daughter asked what they were, we told her they were coasters! She put her drink on one. Classy.
Of course when the babies get bigger, you have their baby equipment and toys, large and small. There was the Exersaucer, Jolly Jumper, giant Yellow Duck and the Gymini. You couldn’t hide that stuff if you tried. I remember those plastic rainbow stacking cups always being on the floor. Always. I could pick them up 15 times in a day and they would be back on the floor 16 times. Litter.
For the most part, Pickles has grown out of carrying all his toys from room to room and leaving said toys behind as if to have a toys-only party. Sweet Pea is winding down this particular litter-promoting behavior as well. Pumpkin Pie, however, is a litter machine. He takes his Trios from room to room to room and leaves 3 or 4 pieces behind in each as if there were a parade and to celebrate, everyone threw Trios! Yay! It’s almost like he needs to leave behind evidence that he was indeed there (as if I couldn’t hear his loud self). He does the same with Transformers. And pieces of Transformers (yes, they eject limbs with frustrating ease).
With the big boys it is shoes. And socks. And little scraps of paper with very important scrawlings on them. Don’t even get me started on the
God-forsaken Legos. Sweet Pea’s room in particular is covered with books. On any given day there are 15 books lying around his room. That’s because he and Pickles both love to read. I mean really love to read. When either one gets a new book, it’s So long Sweet Pea and Pickles, see you when you come up for air! Sweet Pea will re-read books multiple times (it’s an ADD thing for him) and he typically has several books going at once (also an ADD thing, but you could’ve guessed that, I bet). Combine that love for books with a biological inability to put anything away ever and there you have it: Literary Litter!
So I am going to try to look at the wreckage that is my house in a more positive light. Filmy plastic pieces stuck to my clothes, shoes, floor and head? My oldest son is becoming more independent. Trio imprinted on the bottom of my foot? Pumpkin Pie is a creative builder. Books, books everywhere? Pickles is well read and an eager learner. I am not sure if it will work, but I am going to try. It’s either that or clean it up, and that obviously isn’t going to happen.