Sunrise, Sunset, Yeah, Okay, We Get It, Whatever
OH ALL RIGHT

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

Brandi

From very early on, my oldest, now 7, had to have something in his hands everytime we left. He didn't seem to be into containers though. Usually a hand full of matchbox cars and a sippy. He would gladly leave them in the car...but they just had to BE there. My almost 4 year old is a container freak! When we leave the house its always a bag full of something. His favorite bag is a see through plastic container that a sheet set came in. It has a handle and he can see everything in it!!!! Major score for him. It is always a mix of plastic food, skylanders, cars and princesses. Last night I packed him a small backpack to take to his brother's baseball practice. I put his leapster in there, along with the grilled cheese sandwich I made him for dinner. I told him he had room for a few toys (because there was also tissue, wipes and hand sanitizer, duh). He promptly took out the leapster (what?) and put in 2 mini stuffed animals, then took those out, put in about 20 little people, then the dogs on top, and some cars. And ended up playing with hardly anything.

Danielle

It's an adorable lunch box!

My son, a couple months younger than Ezra, also loves to store things in storage containers. He just thinks storage is the greatest.

rikki.o

This. This is my daughter. Though, it took her a few years to get to the putting collections INTO things stage. From about 6 months to 18 months, 90% of pictures of her are her hoarding ALL OF THE THINGS in her hands at all times. (Including refusing to color with less than 3 crayons at a time.)

Now 4, she's graduated to putting her collections into various holders—bags, boxes, pockets, etc. (I must be vigilant with pre-laundry pocket checks!) She also has a little "purse" (read: old makeup bag) that she often brings out with us... the contents of which usually look nearly identical to Ezra's lunchbox up there.

I love my weirdo daughter. May it keep the boys at bay just a little longer as she grows up.

LaFawn

I would love this for my little diva!!!

Keri

Code is invalid. :(

AngelaC

My son is the same way. His obsession is with "notes" (ie any slip of paper like gas station receipts, discarded grocery lists, and post its), batteries and BARS OF SOAP. Which started out cute and has now gotten so bad I have to hide the multi packs I buy lest they all get opened at once and placed into a now-empty chocolate covered cherries box and carted around the house. Needless to say he loves hotel stays.

Anyway ... a box of awesome? Yes please!

Heather

Ooh, so stinking adorable! We got my daughter the Skip Hop dog back pack for the annual mom and me flight to South Carolina (she's 2.5 and been there 3 times)! I absolutely love, love it. A lunch bag would be so much fun too! Thanks for the giveaway!

Carol

"What day is it?! Is it before next Wednesday?", says the sad, time-warped brain of a stay-at-home-mom. I was the super-duper lucky winner of your kid Brita bottle (which is fabulous, btw)! If I win this, too, I'm playing the lottery!
Love Ezra's tie shirt and elephant lunch tote!

Margaret

I have a toddler hoarder, too!

Beth

I never, ever win- but my daughter would love this! Just like Ezra, she loves containers...maybe it's a Montessori put-things-away quirk?

Amy

Ha, ha....I have the same kid...and we had to stop calling him hoarder because he started telling people he was one! Oops, score on the parenting for us!
And "WE NEVER WIN" is the name we gave to all those toy grabber machines that my 2 boys waste money in because duh....we never win!
Thanks for the chance!

Anna

This is hilarious. The contents of the lunchbox made me lawl, for real! I have a cousin who had lots of piles all over the house when she was little. Each pile had a doll, a pocketbook, and some other specific items. You were not allowed to touch her piles or move things around. She turned 17 yesterday, and I'm pretty sure she has grown out of the practice.

Shona

My little weirdos would love one of these boxes. I might have to break down and get one now.

Rachel

I loved this. Mine ideally has a balloon (inflated, mind you) crammed into his backpack along with those books, a half dozen stuffed animals, a box of crayons, his lip balm, his most recent pine cone finds and those bits of pipe cleaner. Obviously.

Kelly C

This looks so cute! I love surprises, stuff seems so much more fun when someone else picks it out- like a present every month. Count me in!

amymvr

Am I too late? I have a 3 week old baby and i'm too tired to figure out "next wednesday".

Monique

Me me I want to win- those boxes look awesome!! :)

Dawn Meyer

My 3 year old is the same way! We need to win. Period. The end. :)

Dawn Meyer

My 3 year old is the same way so he needs to win. Period. The end. Thanks! :)

Ashley L

Fun! And... I never win!

Stephanie Benefiel

I also was having some trouble with the coupon code, AMALAH50. Here is the response I received from CitrusLane
"Thank you for contacting us, you can use BREAK10 just as you see it and it will give you a 10% discount. Also when you sign up for a subscription you will have a link that you can send to your friends and earn $10 refer a friend credits when they sign up.

I hope the information I have provided here has been helpful to you, and welcome to Citrus Lane!"

Don't think I will be purchasing anything if they don't live up to the original deal that they made.

Sheryl

My little weirdo is ten and she still has countless bags of ´treasure´ she is currently into keeping tiny slivers of soap in her pockets at all times!! Loved the post, am probably out of the running for the swag though as I live in Argentina!

Melissa R.

My daughter is the same way, always has a bag or box of trinkets around!

Chandra

This sounds great. I need some poop presents (reward for potty) and haaaate shopping.

Jessdaysgoby

Oh, this sounds perfect for my Christmas cookie-tin obsessed daughter. (She said, picking up three broken crayons and a coloured pencil that has no lead? colourinng part left in it)

Sun

So cool! My not-so little one would love it!!

Jess

What a funny post. He is too cute...loved the whole thanksgiving turkey :-)

Kayla

That's an awesome prize!

Jenny

LOVE the lunch bag. And containers. Maybe I'm a weirdo too. ;-)

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