Monday, September 27, 2010

Kicking it with The Bucket

We pulled into the parking lot of the neighborhood park. It was a beautiful fall evening, and we were meeting some friends for a picnic. I put Evie in the Ergo, the deviled eggs in the stroller, and took Jonah's hand as I closed the van door. I thought I had gotten everything. Jonah threw his hands onto the closed door and started crying "Bupee!" He started to throw his head back and bounced up and down on his heels; an invariable sign that a tantrum is brewing. "BUPEE! BUPEEEEE!!!" What does he want??

It was clear that whatever he wanted was still in the van, so I opened the door, hoping to avoid the meltdown that now seemed imminent. Imediately Jonah lunged forward into the van, and with the same drama as a child who had been reunited with his lost dog, he grabbed an orange sand bucket and exclaimed "bupee!"

With disaster thwarted, I made a mental note that "bupee" means "bucket." Jonah has become quite attached to this little orange bucket. To him, it is the collector of all treasures. We used it to hold blueberries when we went blueberry picking. In the front yard, he fills it with hickory nuts, crab apples, and leaves. We go on nature walks down our street and come back with an orange bucket full of walnuts, seed pods, and pine cones.

Before putting each object into his bucket, he examines it thoroughly. He feels the texture, pokes at any imperfections,holds it up to his eyes reeeally closely, smells it, tries to break it apart or rip it. Then he drops it in with a satisfying clunk and continues on to the next piece of nature that he can manipulate.

He likes to stop collecting every now and then so he can shake the contents of his bucket. Sometimes he holds the handle and gives a quick jerk up and down to hear one loud "Thunk" of everything inside hitting the bottom all at once. Other times he grabs the bucket with both hands and shakes furiously back and forth. The contents often fall out, and he says "Uh oh" and scrambles to pick them back up. He has even begun saying the two word phrase "Back in!"

If life were perfect, everyone would have an orange bucket and a yard full of hickory nuts to fill it with.

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