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Ezra the Collector

This post is sponsored by Citrus Lane.

First of all, I would like to establish OUT LOUD that this is a safe space, and more specifically, this is a safe space where we can open up and admit that yeah, our kids are weirdos.

Even more specifically, Ezra is a weirdo. Like kind of a weird-y weird level weirdo.

I don’t know how to describe this one particular behavior he exhibits (and has exhibited for YEARS) without referring to the name of a popular yet distastefully horrifying reality show on A&E, so maybe this picture will give you an idea of what I’m dancing around:

Hey, Ezra! What have you got in your pocketses today? 

Ezra pocketsEzra pockets 2

20 minutes later, I think the pile ended up being 27 tiny Lego bricks, studs, berries, croissants, mugs, chalices, various non-Lego thingamajobs and two lint-backed pumpkin stickers that he got around Halloween.

And every single item is a treasure. His preciousesss. And every single item must be checked and accounted for several times a day, until he forgets about the entire collection completely. Which usually happens right around the time he tosses his five-pocket cargo pants into the laundry hamper. Because by that point, he’s moved on to a collection of slightly larger plastic sundries inside a coin purse, empty tissue box, or Ike’s talking plastic picnic basket that no longer contains any of the plastic picnic items, because Ezra has filled it to the brim with even more tiny Legos, three rubber scoops of play ice cream, a spatula, seven toy cars and a handful of broken crayons that he deliberately fished out of the trash when I wasn’t looking and is now guarding with his very life.

Jason just up and flat-out calls him a hoarder. (Affectionately! I swear. It’s not like we’re finding cat carcasses in his bed. Just all the baby books from Ike’s room, a bunch of Smurf figurines and maybe a Happy Meal box.)

I just think the kid likes…containers. Containers full of things. He’s like a pirate with a very DIY aesthetic and original take on the boring-and-done treasure chest. Gold coins? Whatever. Check out these extra stomp rockets and this roll of packing tape! WE’RE GOING TO BE RICH.

Ezra lego bag

(Ezra, pictured here in Oversized Container Full of Tiny Things & Also Ezra Heaven.)

Over Christmas break, he stumbled across a backpack that I’d bought for him to take on long car trips. I guess he thought I’d thrown it out or something (LIKE I DO WITH BROKEN CRAYONS AND PROBABLY EVERYTHING ELSE HE LOVES), and was so, so happy to see it again that he insisted on wearing it nonstop for three days straight. At the dinner table. While playing outside. To restaurants. To bed.

So I wasn’t too surprised when school started back up, he insisted on carrying the backpack. Now, Ezra does not NEED a backpack at his preschool — in fact, backpacks are explicitly listed as something the children are to leave at home. But Ezra really, REALLY wanted to take that backpack to school, like his big brother.

So I let him take the backpack to school. Because I have better things to do in the morning than get locked in a battle of wills over a backpack with a four year old. Like, say, NOT getting locked in a battle of wills over a backback with a four year old. 

Over time, the backpack went from being empty to…well, becoming yet another one of Ezra’s containers of weird. He added a notebook and some pencils...and then some finger puppets, a sandwich cookie cutter and the instruction booklet from our microwave. 

So I realized we maybe needed to curb the backpack habit, especially since I learned he was refusing to take it off once he got to school. And while his teacher was completely understanding and accommodating of the backpack, he was a little less excited about the daily show-and-tell of broken pencils, Legos, empty DVD cases and talking Elmo phones.

It was right around this time that I agreed to do a sponsored blog post for Citrus Lane, which sends out age-appropriate, monthly curated boxes of eco-friendly baby and kid gear, toys, bath products, you name it. They sent me a couple sample boxes. One for Ezra and one for Ike, IN THEORY. In reality, once I opened the boxes, they were both Ezra's. All his. Because they were...containers. Full of…things. Bath toys! Books! Fruit snacks! Monkey dishware! Lotions and bath soaps and AHHHHHH!!!!

As I watched him paw through the assortment of surprises, I suddenly realized that I should have boxed and wrapped all his Christmas presents into a similar single box o' wonder. 

Among the bonanza of items in our boxes was…a Skip Hop elephant lunch bag. Ezra just about passed out. A small…Ezra-sized…container…with a handle…for carrying…for which to put things inside…lunch-y things…omg

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Now, again: Ezra does not need a lunch bag. He eats a school-provided snack mid-morning, then comes home at noon and eats lunch here.  

But some kids in his class stay all day. And these kids do indeed bring lunch bags/boxes, which they deposit into a classroom fridge each morning as they arrive. And it turns out that more than anything — even more than a backpack full of Monopoly pieces, miniature rubber tires and plastic teacups — Ezra wanted to join them. To be like them. 

He didn't actually care about the actually eating lunch at school part, but just the morning ritual of putting lunchboxes inside the refrigerator. This is what makes you "cool," apparently, in today's modern trend-setting with-it-happening Montessori classroom. He even tried to put his backpack in the fridge on several occasions, and then tried to talk his teacher into letting him at least put some random pieces of toy fruit in there instead.

In other words, this lunch bag from Citrus Lane was the greatest gift that never would have occurred to me to buy for him, but there it is. 

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(So long, Play-Doh carrying case! We are moving. On. Up.)

Ezra still doesn’t stay at school for lunch, but every morning he packs up his lunch bag. He gets real sippy cup and fills it with water and shovels some Cheerios into a baggie. Then he adds two ice packs and a few extra essentials.

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(Essentials like: Toy milk, wooden donut w/back-up icing slab, Lego construction worker, plastic pepperoni slices, felt tomato, some kind of stuffed lettuce pillow thing, sandwich roll and an entire Thanksgiving turkey.)

He takes it to school and puts it in the refrigerator, where it sits untouched (and non-distracting-like) all day. I arrive at noon to collect him and his lunch bag (which before I took these photos had just emerged from a vigorous cleaning after being sent down the playground slide into a mud puddle, because it and Ezra are best pals). Then we go home, where he dutifully unpacks everything and puts it all back in its proper place. 

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He’s never been happier, the goof. 

***

Want your own box of random inspiration and handy essentials for your own little weirdo? Leave a comment between now and next Wednesday and I will select a random winner for a FREE box of awesome from Citrus Lane. 

"BUT I NEVER WIN." Dude, I know! Me neither! But for us, here's a coupon for 50% off your first box — that's only $12.50! TWELVE FIFTY. After that, monthly boxes of baby-, kid- and mom-approved products and toys start at just $21. Head over to citruslane.com and use coupon code AMALAH50 from now until March 6th.

Fine print: Coupon applies to monthly subscriptions only. Offer valid for new customers only. Subscriptions automatically renew to full retail price.

Comments

jodifur

That lunch box is adorable.

aimee @ smilingmama

Um, I have a kid like that too, whom I totally (and affectionately except when I'm doing the laundry!) call a hoarder! Would love to try out Citrus Lane!

Melissa

I've got one of those kids too - thanks for the giveaway!

Celeste Alexander

I never win either, but for this? I'll try. :)

Ann

OMG, we would love a box of awesome! (BTW, my middle son is a hoarder, too - he used to carry a blue metal bucket around the house that we called the "treasure bucket.) Thanks for the giveaway!

Sandra

Me, please! :-)

Steph

Love it. My kiddo is also a collector, but always puts her things in very random places that we find months later (sippy cup full of milk--THE WORST). We could use a shift toward adorable containers!

Kelly Johnson

My oldest son does this very same thing. In fact, when he was four, he would call this random hodgepodge of vital items his "Spanish". For no apparent reason. I took to calling the contents of his pockets "Preschooler Potpourri".

Colleen

My son is just starting this, mostly with his cars.

FishyGirl

Oh, I have a girl version of one of those kids. Random crap all over the place. She would LOVE this.

Teresa

I have a 3 year old son who is getting ready to have a baby sister ANY.DAY.NOW...and he would LOVE to get a surprise in the mail! And I would love to see what Citus Lane is all about too!

Nicole

mine likes to collect acorns and rocks and plastic bottle caps. My dryer is often full of acorns and I exclaim "who knew I gave birth to a squirrel!"

At summer camp last year after lunch he'd go around picking up discarded bottle caps which would come home in his backpack. I call him my little trash man.

Anna

I did this behavior as a kid too. Didn't grow up to a be a hoarder but rather a kick ass packer. Organized, not too much but prepared. Okay, maybe a smidge OCD.

Susie

Ooh! Pick me! I heart sample boxes.

Jen Cox

Love Love Love this!!!!!!

Dawn

OMG! That bag is adorable!

VandyJ

My youngest would love a lunchbag. He wants desperately to just like his big brother.

Allyson W.

Would love to try this for my 2 yr old hoarder in training, Charlotte :-)

Lydia

My version of Ezra, who looks a little like your version, would trade his sister for that lunch bag.

Arnebya

I sometimes think I'm the hoarder. Except I don't remember putting all the things that are in my bag into my bag. So, I know it's the boy. His kleptoism -- the taking of his sisters' things and putting them into my purse -- is weirding me out (especially now that it's all like I'm his pilfering abettor.) But, I still think it's rather cute, his putting of things into other things, then the carrying of those other things (except, wait, not so cute when it turns out that he was playing drums in class with the two tampons he'd scored from my bathroom.)

Amy Jo

My brother just had twin daughters, and this would make an excellent new baby gift! Thank you for making me look extra thoughtful!

Dawn

Oh, I've got one of those at home too! My 4 year old loves little tiny things inside containers. Her latest is coins inside an old baby mitt - you know, the kind we put on newborns so they don't scratch their faces? She's a lot like Ezra!

Ally

I would LOVE to win this for my kids!

Lauren

My son would be so excited about everything in this box, no matter what it was! he is the most appreciative present getter ever! Everything is treasured and must be played with/worn at that very moment. I hope we win.

Beekeebear

I'm trying to think of a comparable weird story about my son. But no... no... Ezra takes the cake. Well he's got a couple years on my son. I'm sure the weird will grow. ;)

SarahB

Ooh, I want one of those lunch bags for me! :)

Ashley Anderson

Ezra is awesome! (And so are the citrus lane boxes!)

Elsa Meyer

Sounds like a rear prize, so pick me. :)

Jessie

I'll play along, mostly because a box of new, fun stuff sounds like my 4-year-old's idea of heaven.

Anne

Love the lunch bag! And I love Ezra's tie shirt! My nearly-9 month-old daughter is much too young to hoard but I imagine she will start one of these days. :)

SP

I've been wanting to try out Citrus Lane. Thanks for the code!

Brittany

We would love a box of awesome. :)

KristenSue

Your give aways are always the best : D

Kris

crap, I think I'm too late.

Susan

What is it with kids and containers? Give Willa (2) anything in a box and she is beyond thrilled.

wordygirl

Even without the contest (which I bet is not open to Canadians anyway), I would have left a comment to let you know that my daughter - who is just about five - has EXACTLY the same obsession about bags and containers and things in the bags and containers and carrying them around the house and being utterly enchanted by them. It is a weird and cluttery habit, but I guess it could be worse!

Meredith

I love how most of his "lunch" items are actually food related. It actually looks similar to the kinds of lunches I used to pack for my Kindergartner, except for she maybe wouldn't get the entire turkey.

Katie

Thanks for sharing this. My 3 year old does this too! I'm so glad to hear there are other kids like this. She will also remember precious things from months ago that I managed to get rid of (e.g. junk mail from the cable company or a specific stick) and demand them back.

Mim

Oooh fun, pick me me meee!

Veronique

Lovely! but don't ship to Canada yet... :(

Kelly

Reading this post so reminds me of my daughter. Any random bag, box, shoe, plastic baggie contains a surprise (for mommy) inside. It give me grim satisfaction to go through and purge at will. Muahahahahaha! We are still in opposite camps on whether sticks and stones (literally) go outside or stay inside to get cozy and warm. It's fun to be locked in a detente with my 5 year old.

Jill

My kids (3 & almost 2) both have SkipHop backpacks, and love them with their whole hearts. My son says very few words, but will scream, "BAAPAA!" when he sees his.
Also, I just stumbled across Citrus Lane's site, but passed on it because I couldn't find a coupon code. So, thanks! I'll be sure to use this one. :)
(And for anyone wanting a similar curated goodie box for older kids, check out Babba Box, same thing, for ages 3-7, I think.)

Amy

Love your blog! I'd love a free gift for my 3 year old!

Yes, all kids are weird. They are just weird in different ways.

CoraD

Thanks! I fear my girls will do this but have yet to show the inclination. The love of bags is strongly hereditary, I hear, and they would come by it honestly.

maggie

I have this times 3. The littlest (4) doesn't notice when things are tossed, yet. The middle (8) actually seems grateful to be relieved of her...crap and welcomes our help to clean. The 10 year old? Guards ALL of it with her very life and limb as if it is essential to her very being. Even found a dead, flat, stiff as cardboard mouse in her room.

Danielle

I have two funny little monkeys...count me in!

Actually, I'm what ezra's habit becomes when he gets older. Not a horder but OMG you can't let me loose in the container store...or ikea...the boxes! the organization! That doesn't mean I'm more organized, per se, just that if the urge ever hit and I got my shit together I have all the tools to get it set up, at least until the next trip. :)

Stefanie

My daughter does this too! Some of her favorite toys include my old purses, empty tissue boxes, zip locks, and dog poo bags (unused of course!) There are currently three poo bags on my stairs containing her spare loveys, some poker chips, and dollhouse furniture. She has a similar lunch bag that she does have to take to school, but when she can snag it she pilfers my zip locks and bags up her play food and packs her own lunch.

Amanda

I'd love to get one of these for my little weirdo! Amazing what they find to be so important at that age - I've recently begun clearing out her stockpile of disposable spoons.

Laura

Would love to win! Thanks!!

Sherry

We (me) were cleaning out the toy closet in our old house and I had the same problem with my son. Me: Throw it in the trash pile. Him: BUT I LOVE IT!!!

Judy

My middle child also did this. As she got older, it became a very handy thing, because whatever you needed...a safety pin, a band-aid, a quarter... Jenny had it in her pocket.

She grew up okay, and is not a hoarder.

LIsa

me me me!!!

Jen L.

I love this!!!! My son used to collect things in his diaper when he was little. I"d change him and discover blocks, socks, bits of snacks (which I hope he was not eating out of there) and other treasures. Now he uses his pockets and his bed. There are approximately 900 "friends" in his bed.

Karen

Ah, hoarder children. I really tried to purge our toy collection before we moved across the country, I did, but the cries over tossing out Happy Meal toys were terrible to behold. Goobers.

I'd love to win this!

marie

ah, the timing! I have followed your Ezra's stories with such (non-creepy internet) love as my son is a few months younger, and yet so different from his older sister. This has been a particularly hard week for the poor little booger and this post got me thinking it would be cool for him to have something special-awesome come in the mail just for him. So, if we win, awesome, if not, hello coupon code.

JP.

I love Ezra's fake lunch. He's the cutest little cutie!

Callie

I am one of those "I never win!" people but what the hell? I'll devote 30 seconds to leaving a comment for the possibility of smiles like that. :)

Solmaz

My little one is just showing promising signs of growing into a little geeky hoarder. He hoards books.

Anne m

My boy is only 15 months and he packs too. Foot loops, match box cars, plush toys... Dirty socks, pretty much everything! He would love this! Thanks for the give away!

Christine

Here is my comment. That lunch pack is adorable.

Jesabes

My three-year-old would LOVE this. Every container in our house is also packed with miscellaneous junk.

Stacie

My oldest boy was like this. Treasures all over the place. He (somewhat) grew out of it, and I still get the sads thinking about it (He's 18 now).

Amy H

I have 4 girls & my middle 2 are just like Ezra. They love to fill up purses, boxes, backpacks, gift bags, etc. with random "stuff." Instead of legos we have a lot of Barbie shoes. I have to let them play with it for a few days before I can put everything away without them noticing.

Meredith

Hilarious! My 3 year old is not quite like that although heaven forbid you throw away that price of candy he got at school 3 weeks ago and never ate; because he "didn't like THAT candy!

sara

Here is where I announce that I have no children, but I am a grown-ass woman, and I *DO* have the owl version of the Skip Hop lunch bag. That I proudly carry to work every day. And have to explain to people, no, this isn't my kid's bag. It is mine, and it is awesome.

Sara

I would LOVE to try out Citrus Lane for my (very nearly) 15-month-old. It looks like so much fun.

Cheryl

I gotta win eventually right? I hope so!!

Sarah

Fingers crossed!

Erin

My daughter turns three tomorrow and this is already starting...

Wendy

Haha so funny! I hope My little guy will feel free enough to show his goofy sides, like yours do. Worth something! Happy kids..

Kaela

I was that kid! And I totally turned into a (mostly) fully functioning adult that packs REAL food in her lunch box now!

molls

pick me, pick me! my almost 4 yr old is right there with Ezra... he has a rock collection in the side console of the car door next to his seat, and notices if a rock goes missing. fun times!

Alexia

I am so glad to know that my little weirdo isn't the only one :)

Cassie

Maybe this time I'll win!

Shari

Love it. I have no idea, nor do I want to know, what goes on in their little heads. My kids are crazy about bags/boxes too.

Kerry Saltmarsh

Cute post! I've got a little collector here too.

Val

My BFF's daughter was a hoarder as a child, too. She could not part with tiny pieces of paper and other what not. I tried helping her clean her room one day, it was pure torture for both myself and lil Kris.

Unfortunately, today, Kris is a 25 yr old hoarder with a husband and 4 kids. She has all kinds of stuff all over. I see an intervention in her future...

Amanda Rinehart

I want to win one for my little goof! Thanks!

nonsoccermom

I'm impressed that he puts the special contents of his lunch bag away! My daughter likes to cram stuff into various bags too, but will never EVER put things where they belong.

Breanna

This is such a fun giveaway. I would love to win a box of goodies that gets delivered to my door. Because who doesn't love getting packages in the mail? Especially packages that make our kids happy?!!? :)

Kara

My son has been this way for years. a.) He tends toward things that are disgusting. b.) He attends an after-school care program at local park. c.) Therefore, I am afraid to look in his coat pockets.

Jennifer G

Pick me please! My girl would love this!

Amanda

A box of wierdos... I'm in! Oh, wait, a box for wierdos... I'm in again!

Myssie

We call our hoarder a "pack rat". Somehow that seemed to carry less stigma? His shit is really shit! Small pieces of yarn, rocks (small small rocks), bits of asphalt, twisty ties for produce from the market, gum wrappers, sticks...and on and on. Stashed in various places. His "lucky drawer", cup holders in the car, pockets...now that I see this all typed out, he definitely should be called a hoarder!
Thanks for the into to Citrus Lane, it's great that you can customize the care packages by age.

Christy

My hoarder is 7 and going strong! Trying to get her out of the dance studio during costume season is impossible because she inspects the floor for every fallen stone and sequin she can get her hands on so she can fill her pockets with her "collections".

Ashley

My 27 year old husband to be is the same. He likes STUFF. And keeps everything. Kinder Surprise toys? Yep. Christmas cracker toys? Yep. ANYTHING THAT HAS EVER BEEN GIVEN AWAY FOR FREE? Yep.

Bliggity blerg.

Abbey

Tossing my hat in the ring here. Thanks for the giveaway! This sounds so fun!

souphead

i love his weirdness.

i was getting citrus lane boxes, but stopped. even the most affordable monthly surprise box was a spend we couldn't keep up. i sort of miss it tho.

sarah

Yes, my son is similar. We call him Navin R Johnson. From "The Jerk." As in "I'm leaving! and I'm taking this paddle ball game, and that's all I need! This paddle ball game and this remote. And that's IT! This paddle ball game, and this remote that this ashtray, and nothing else.."
I started a tumblr for the pictures because it was reaching weird & unbelievable proportions, having to put on safety goggles, a gardening glove (just one) and grab a pancake flipper to go to preschool. Or a tea bag & a hard boiled egg. Or a hair brush, photo, and mardi gras beads.
Kids are weird, but gah I need the laughs.

Karen

Yes, please!
See, this would cost me $42/month because I can't get one for the baby and not the 6 year-old!

Rachel

Oooh, I'd love to try that out!

Loretta S.

You have the most awesome kids - and also - yeah I'll take one of the freebie things!

Jennifer

Why do I never have these ideas first. Super cute!

Laura

My twins do this- especially my daughter! How did you get him to put everything away after school?

Jen B

I'd love to wine this giveaway, both my children love boxes/containers of "stuff"

Teeka

Been wanting to try one of these subscription box dealioz. My kids lived packing things in boxes but when I bought cute containers to act out their hoarding, they shunned them for all the receptacles in the house that should got straight in the refuse bin.

ellen

Of course I want a lunch box too, Ezra.

Kelly

I was planning to try Citrus Lane for a while, so I was excited to see this! Unfortunately, the code doesn't work. I emailed their customer service because it's really not your issue to solve and I'll let you know what they say! I subscribed anyway, but hopefully they'll fix it so everyone can use it!

Lauren

I always want to try out one of these subscription boxes...but am too cheap! My son would really love it, though.

Lisa

What a great idea for my own little weirdo!

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