Monday, April 14, 2008

Hung Up on Hangers

I mentioned in an earlier blog entry here that Baby Bear seemed to have a thing for hangers, the thick plastic, triangular kind. Well, it’s mushroomed into a very big thing. He’s not just collecting them—he’s hoarding them like a leprechaun with a pot of gold.

Every time—oh phooey, all the time—I do laundry, I always seem to come up short on hangers. We can’t hang anything in the hall closet, because Bear yanks jackets right off the hangers and lets them drop to the floor, only to run off with the hangers. He has no clothes in his closet—I have to hang his clothes in the closet of his father’s office, or they’ll always be piled on the floor.

Every few weeks I buy a bundle of ten white plastic hangers from Wal-Mart. Bear will take one and carry it around everywhere he goes, frequently twirling it around his index finger (he’s become very adept at that). Sooner or later, he’ll leave it for one of the dogs to chew into bits unless I manage to intercept it first, and then he pulls another out of the closet. Rinse and repeat.

While I was at the
TARA meeting this last Saturday, Mr. Lucky bravely ventured out for a walk around the neighborhood with all three dogs and Baby Bear. (Only the dogs were on leashes; thanks for asking.) He said our son did very well, except for when they passed by a house where the garage door was up. The owner was sitting out front, one of those old guys who would rather sit in a camp chair in his open garage than inside his nice, air conditioned house. There are several men in the neighborhood like that; Mr. Lucky believes their wives banish them out there so they don’t smoke up the house or otherwise get underfoot. (Maybe I should talk to those wives.)

Baby Bear broke into a run, charging up the driveway past the old man and into his garage full of junk. He emerged a moment later, holding up none other than a white plastic hanger as if it were a priceless idol he’d just retrieved from an ancient temple in a cave.

Neither the old man nor Mr. Lucky had any idea how that kid zeroed in on that hanger.

Then yesterday morning, Bear took me by the hand and pulled me into the living room, where he pointed at the sofa.

“That’s a sofa,” I said.

No, that wasn’t what he wanted from me. He pulled me closer, jabbing his finger repeatedly toward the very top edge of the sofa.

“Did you slide something back there?” I asked. “Not another DVD?” I pulled out the sofa a few inches, and found a hanger back there. I gave it to him, then after I pushed the sofa back into place, he slipped the hanger behind it again and wanted me to get it back out.

I told him we weren’t doing that, and walked away. He conned Mr. Lucky, who moved the sofa from the wall and found a whole secret stash of seven plastic white hangers.

Then last night, after Bear fell asleep, I went into his room to conduct the usual bedtime protocols that can only be done after he falls asleep—making sure his overhead light was off while the ceiling fan continued to revolve; unplugging his electronic keyboard (he sets it to some repetitious and annoying rhythm that somehow acts as a lullaby for him); adjusting his covers, and clearing the floor. Last night I had to clear it of hangers.

There were hangers everywhere! On the floor. On top of his dresser. In his toy box. Even in his bed. Not a single one dangled from the rod in his closet. I gathered them up—twelve total—and hooked them over the lonely rod.

Like a kid in a candy store? Not my Bear. He'd rather be turned loose in a dry cleaners.

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