Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Abigail's latest favourite game is redistributing various parts of the household.

It all started last week while I was doing various internetty things after breakfast, putting off tidying while she amused herself.  I became engrossed in something on Facebook, and after a while I was dimly aware of a repeated set of noises going on behind me.  They went: Sliiide...clatter...toddle toddle toddle...rustle...thump...toddle toddle toddle...sliiide (repeat ad infinitum).

I turned around to find that Abigail was very methodically emptying one of the kitchen drawers into the laundry basket across the room, one plastic cup at a time.  She would not be diverted from this: she went back to doing the same thing even after twenty minutes of getting dressed and reading a fascinating story about farm animals.

Over the week it has developed into something of an obsession, and very quickly gone from cute to extremely irritating.  Abigail is utterly convinced that her dinnertime paraphernalia does not belong in the white drawers where it lives.  We can never find a beaker, cup, bib or plastic bowl now except by accident: today I discovered three sections of sippy cup, two bowls, a lid and a bib in the washing machine.  They've also ended up stacked neatly on my coffee table, inside the Noah's Ark, underneath a chair and collecting soot in the fireplace.  One beaker even made its way up into Abigail's bedroom, although how that happened I have no idea as we now have a stairgate.  By the end of each day, the white drawers are completely empty.

Once again I find myself completely baffled by toddlerhood versus evolution.  Strange enough that, as I mentioned several posts ago, toddlers seem instinctively programmed to self-destruct, but what is THIS about?!  I mean, do baby apes spend their days happily moving twigs from one tidy pile into three not-so-tidy piles where their mothers can't find them?  And if they do, why do they?!  What future skill is it honing, or more to the point, what lost-in-the-mists-of-time, vitally-important-for-survival skill of our ancestors is Abigail recalling when she fills my washing machine with beakers?

While I'm working that out, I'm also toying with various solutions.  Put locks on the drawers, and hope that she doesn't turn to the cupboards which contain china?  Give up housework and cooking in order to follow her everywhere she goes and discover where she puts things?    Do my own redistribution, find a new home for feeding equipment and fill the drawers with toys instead?  Attach tracking devices to her bowls and beakers?  Wait until she can talk and then ask her where she's put everything?!  Answers on a postcard please...


Tiffer said...


Pigwotflies said...

Oh Abi!

I'm reminded of Daisy in Helen Cresswell's Bagthorpe family books. She's a precocious small girl, who can do no wrong in the eyes of her doting hippy mother. When she goes through a similar randomising phase, her mother explains that she is merely 'reuniting the disparate' or some such phrase. Sounds like Abi is doing the same.

Pigwotflies said...

Oooh! I've just discovered via Wikipedia that there are many more than the two Bagthorpe books I know. Must track them down. Yay!

Steve the Stick said...

Hi Amy...this is a serious response to your plea.... Google 'Schemas in the Early Years' for information on how to utilise her behaviour to her benefit. Schemas are repeatable patterns of behaviour which are a recognised stage of child development. Abigail is in the Transportation stage! Have fun!!
Janet xx