I am not made of industrial plastic or corrugated metal. I am not under four feet tall. (Though I’m not much more than a foot over that.) I am not completely round–but I might become that shape if I continue with my chocolate habit. I do not have a huge gaping flap the swings open and shut (no jokes about my mouth, hubby) and just begs for people to deposit their refuse into it. But for some reason, my kids regularly confuse me with a trash can.
I doesn’t matter where we are–at home, at the park, at church, at the store, at a sports game– I am always the number one choice for a garbage depository. It doesn’t matter if I am standing two feet away from the trash can. It doesn’t matter if my hands are completely full or I am occupied with something else. I am still considered the correct place to throw something away.
In one memorable instance, my then four-year-old was holding a fruit snacks wrapper. She approached me and wordlessly handed it to me so I would take care of it. Wanting to teach her a lesson, I picked up a garbage can, handed it back and gestured to her with the other hand, indicating she should put it in the can. What did she do? She put the wrapper back into my open, gesturing palm.
I will continue to repeat, “I’m not a garbage can. Take it to the trash yourself.” And one of these days, I’m sure my children will stop mixing up me and the round or square containers that are conveniently placed everywhere for them to use. Of course, Mom is even more conveniently placed.
Perhaps I should just surrender and embrace my Oscar the Grouch side. “Please, everyone heap your trash upon me. The more the merrier! Banana peels? No problem. Melting ice cream cones? Put it right here. Used tissues? Absolutely. Who wouldn’t want those things thrust upon them?” Me. That’s who. Do your kids ever confuse you with a refuse receptacle?