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My Tyke’s Treasure Trove of Tantalizing Trinkets


What feels like fourscore and seven years ago, I put my quarter into a toy vending machine and magically, not one, but two bubble cases came out.  The first case had a black, plastic spider ring in it and the second a marbled bouncy ball.  These two items remained my coveted treasures for months.  They became familiar with every pocket lining in my wardrobe, the warmth of my closed fist and my perpetual ogling.  I loved them like Mrs. Beckham loves her Louboutins.  Maybe even more.

In addition to these treasures, there were also the amazing assets of the pyrotechnic variety to be found on the post-Fourth of July hunt.  My cousins and I would walk up and down our neighbourhood streets in search of fireworks remnants, of unused bottle rockets and snake pellets and half-used sparklers to reignite.  The Fifth of July was our own special independence day.

Thankfully, my four-year-old son isn’t trawling the London lanes in search of mini explosives like his ol’ ma, but due to the sheer amount of walking we do – eyes always peeled for washed-up worldly goods – Enlai has amassed a large collection of so-called treasures.  To him and perhaps to many a youngin, this assortment of prized and peculiar possessions is a trove to be reckoned with, something worthy of bequeathing to the Association of Accumulators at a later stage.

What started out with a couple of screws and nails courtesy of scaffolding scraps around town, along with some coins, my son’s treasures have now grown into quite a collection of curios, including discarded SIM cards, broken necklaces, half-chewed balls, empty matchbooks and about a hundred different rubber bands.


Every time my little guy picks up a rubber band or elastic band, I pray its owner didn’t have lice.  And I have been known to shout “Nooooo, don’t touch that!” when he has tried to grab an empty condom packet or a lipstick-stained, half-smoked cigarette off the pavement.  And when I can see one of those nudey “call me anytime, big boy” cards which has found its way from a phone booth to the sidewalk up ahead, I try to step on it so it’s underfoot before he notices.  I’m not yet prepared to answer the questions that might accompany picking up that treasure.

I have had to deny Enlai from bringing home certain treasures to add to his ever-growing collection, including the months-old-but-strangely-not-yet-mouldy, shrivelled fig, the petrified dog poo, and the hubcap.

Somehow, I’ve been recruited to help my son in his treasure-gathering endeavours.  He hasn’t actually asked me, but I feel a moral obligation.  No ostensible treasure should be left behind.  A few weeks ago, as I jumped on the tube, I spotted a cuff link on the platform just below.  In my third trimester of pregnancy, I bent down to grab it when I heard “Mind the doors, please, mind the doors.”  I immediately pulled my hand inside the closing doors and thought to myself that perhaps I should relax in my acquisition of treasures for my little fella.  I told Enlai the story of my effort when I picked him up from school and at the very least he was humoured and sounded proud of my attempt.  He said, “Next time, look around you before you get on the tube, ma.”  Okay.

I did just that last week, when I spied something shimmering at the bottom of the escalator at the tube station.  Before stepping on and checking that nobody was behind me, I bent over to pick up the treasure.  A fellow tuber snuck up behind me and the whole scenario must’ve looked like something out of the Tube Station Porn diaries.  But, this treasure ended up being the treasure of all treasures, one Euro.  Greece, my son and I are on our way to save you.

Category: General, This Parenting Stuff


One Response

  1. Bob says:

    Such a fun read. Thanks for the beautiful pictures you paint with your wurds…

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