Friday, August 24, 2012

Unintended Consequences

I'm not sure who it was that first introduced Sir O to the concept of "recycling."  It was probably some PBS kids show, and this is probably all my own fault.   I am, truly, a person willing to recycle.  I try to minimize waste, and it doesn't bother me one bit to take the extra step to rinse a container out so that it can be recycled.


But Sir O only understands recycling to mean "take something that is garbage and make an art project out of it." And I concede that it's one valid form of recycling.  I've even seen some found-object-art that I've really loved.  But inside my own home, where I'm constantly fighting the good fight to maintain a semblance of order, this child's obsession with "recycling" is bordering on "hoarding."

I have to throw away cardboard boxes and milk cartons directly into the outside bin when I think he's not looking.  And I have to wade through his cardboard tube creations to find the floor sometimes.  Bubble wrap, yogurt containers, amazon shipping boxes, and pickle jars could adorn any room of my house on any given day.  All bound together by scotch tape and floral wire that the kid steals from my craft room.  I have to time things just right and help these projects disappear as soon as I suspect they won't be missed.  Or I'd be literally swimming in them.

On the one hand, I love the idea of art projects and supporting creativity.  But truthfully, these are not very artistic endeavors.  He races through them in his typical "quantity over quality" creation mode.  They rarely serve any function, even in play.  He just loves the idea of recycling stuff.   And it's making me more than a little crazy.

I'm hoping I can softly alter his recycling paradigm without smothering it altogether.  But I'm not sure where to start.  I can't be the first parent to encounter this not-entirely-effective recycling zeal.  Can I?

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