Building With Trash

Have you ever seen Toy Story 4? George is Bonnie. I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard at Forky explaining what being trash meant to him, because I could see George having the same monologue. He loves taking our trash and re-purposing it. A week doesn’t go by that he isn’t digging into our cardboard pile or looking for discarded packaging to create some scene he has concocted in his mind.

And he has some grand ideas. Earlier this year, I was sure we were going to live with a cardboard house in our living room for all of time. This thing had a smoke stack, and he had even made furniture for the inside. He wanted to eat all his meals in there; he watched TV in there. He just loves to re-imagine things, and he has a way of looking at things with a whole new appreciation.

So when he came to us this weekend saying he wanted to make an arcade in his room, Tom jumped on board. I clearly had already put all the cardboard in our recycling pile. You can see who is the fun parent here…

Tom’s brain is the same as George with just a little more experience. So it is like they are speaking the same language, and Tom is able to make all of George’s recycling dreams come true.

But I have to say this pinball machine definitely takes the cake.

Who knows how long this thing will actually last, but it makes him so ridiculously happy. He has even created a ticket system for his “arcade.” And while he does love a good TV binge and playing games on our phones, it is refreshing that he wants to use his time this way instead.

With what he comes up with, I could see George being an engineer, designer, or architect someday. I have to remind myself that it is only cardboard, and eventually it will make its way to the trash. But in this moment, this all is so much more to the kids.

Sometimes it is hard for me to let go of the pieces that want the order and less chaos of toys and “trash” strewn every where. However, when I break it down, these are the moments that build him into who he will be someday. By letting him create and dream up these things, we are showing him what his brain is capable of. And by helping him build out what is in his head, we are showing our support and belief in his dreams. It’s helping him problem solve and pushes him to be creative with his solutions. When I start to think about what is happening here, the trash problem seems so insignificant. For every mess I see, George has a whole backstory and reason for it being the way that it is. And as wild and crazy as they seem, when he tells the story, they are always unique and purposeful. I want him to know that his ideas are valued and encourage that creativity.

So sometimes we build really crazy things and let the fun flow from it. And sometimes the inventions do not work, but this shows him to take another look and try again.

Do I let him take all the trash to build something? No I do not. More often than not, George hears that taking that piece of trash is not realistic today. Literally in the middle of writing this post I had to go break the kids up because they were arguing over the best place to put the “pull-up” maze. Yes they had taken all of George’s pull-ups and thrown them around their rooms to create a maze obstacle course…Not ideal.

However, sometimes I need to let loose and let an arcade machine come to life.

These are the moments I hope my kids remember. George with his idea. Tom with his building magic. Gammy helping George “paint” the theme. And Daphne and I digging through my car to find dinosaurs as props. It’s here that some of the real magic of parenting happens.

And I have to admit that without Tom these moments are not possible. I am just not that kind of mom…but that is a post for another day.

I just have to remember that I may not always see the end result, but having faith in my people and supporting their dreams are sometimes our best moments together.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

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