Luke has a new "thing". I would have hoped at 19 months old that his new thing would be maybe, like, TALKING, but no. He's decided to work on another skill instead, one that will give him more immediate gratification. Rummaging. Luke likes to rummage. More specifically, he likes to rummage through the food cabinets. Whenever I "lose" him in the house, I know where to go. I know for sure he'll be rummaging through the cabinets, throwing boxes, bags, and tupperware over his shoulder looking desperately for something that meets his qualifications for worthy of bringing to me. Yesterday it was a box of prunes that he carried into the family room over his head, squealing, BuhPuuuuh! BuhPuuuuh (who says he doesn't talk!)! He's never had a prune. They don't look like anything exciting or fun to eat. And chances are, if I did open it and give him one, he'd throw it right back at me, pretty pissed off that I subjected him to such a food. I don't know why after 20 minute of shoving boxes of cookies, bags of crackers and containers of cereal aside, THIS is what he chose. Watching him in the rummaging act is a sight to see. He can't seem to get his body far enough into the cupboard. I imagine that one day I'll walk in to find only his little legs dangling from the shelf, having hoisted himself entirely into the cabinet. I've tried child proofing the doors to prevent him from spending half his day begging for nonperishables that he thinks he wants to eat, but then Hannah can't get what she wants, which in turn forces me have to wait on her at snack time. The lock also makes the little guy scream as if I am refusing him food and water all day. Want to see Luke angry? Lock his "Cupboard of Fun".

He also has started rummaging through the refrigerator. This is where it gets dangerous. He's already pulled a jar of pickles off the shelf breaking it on the floor and covering his shoes in pickle juice. (Not a smell that is easy to remove) He's also tipped himself over backward trying to get a gallon of milk off the top shelf. He spent the entire 2o minutes it took me cleaning up a kitchen covered in milk repeating "Uh Ooooh. Uh Ooooh." (Ok, maybe he DOES talk).

The problem I'm finding in all of this is not so much that he's ruining the "organization" of my cupboards or breaking glass jars and jugs in my fridge. It's that I'm finding he is never satisfied by anything. He's always looking for something "else". I give him a cracker that he so desperately seems to want and 30 seconds later he's on the hunt again. It's the same thing in the bins in our basement. He digs and digs, looking for I-don't-know-what. He stops and looks at things along the way but only seconds go by before he tosses it aside. Nothing seems to engage him for any length of time. The only thing that engages him, is the search itself.

Oh how I wish I could remember Hannah at this age (why didn't I write more down??). So I'd remember if it's just the normal attention span for a 19 month old. Or maybe it's a boy thing? Or maybe he just takes after me? I feel like I'm always rummaging. The superficial stuff: rummaging through my drawers for the "right" pair of jeans (can you say obsessed with jeans?), rummaging through my closet for the right weight sweater, the right pair of shoes with the right heal, the right pair of earrings. The internal stuff: rummaging through my head for the right words, the right course of action, the right agenda. The life stuff: rummaging through my past for reasons for why things are, through friends, wondering if I'm getting what I need, through other people's words to find the intended meaning. And I so often don't feel satisfied either. I rummage some more to understand better. I get bored with what I find in my "cupboard" and try to find more, find more fulfilling.

If you could hear how often I say to those close to me, "Want to hear my new idea?" And the ideas are really good, really they are! But they remain just good ideas. And then I move on. This is me. I go full speed ahead. I change direction, I take leaps instead of careful steps, I dig and dig for what will satisfy me. It's not like I don't love my life. I love my kids. I love my husband. I wouldn't trade any of it (ok, Tim's snoring really needs to stop if I'm being honest) . So, why don't I just feel like the life I'm leading right now is ENOUGH? Why do I keep trying to figure out what ELSE I could add or change? I keep opening up that cabinet and looking for what else is inside. I need to stop taking out the "prunes" and find the cookies. Something that will keep me satisfied and not wondering if there's anything better inside.

And maybe I should replace the food with toys in the cupboard so i don't have to worry that Luke's rummaging will end in broken glass and spilled flour all over the kitchen.


Shell said...

I had to resort to putting a lock on the fridge and the pantry because I just couldn't take the mess anymore. My 18 month old has free reign of the tupperware cabinet, though.

Be thankful he hasn't done what mine just learned- to climb out of his crib! I found him at naptime yesterday, pulling all of his clothes out of his dresser.

Anonymous said...

Another great metaphor!

Your post made me think about blogging as a type of writing for rummagers. We've got lots of ideas, some of them are half-baked, some are more developed - and the process of getting them down here helps us get them out and then move onto the next thing. Is that a good thing? It feels like it is, but who knows?

As for Luke, my two year spent some serious time in the rummaging stage. Now, at 27 months, he's more of a seeker: he knows what he wants, goes and gets it, and then, more likely than not, eats it.

Aidan Donnelley Rowley said...

I think the Metaphor Malaise is catching and Kirsten might have it :) I love this post. Because it is your trademark medley of story and symbolism, yes. But more so because our 14 month old is a total rummager. Not a word, I know. But she gets into everything. With impressive, adroit skill. It's amazing, no?

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