Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Sorting

Here is the Halloween loot my kids came home with. Every year they do the same thing - sort it out on the dining room table and compare notes ("Where did you get that RingPop? What flavour is yours? Want to trade for a watermelon?" or "I have 22 KitKats. Ha ha." or "How many can we eat now, Mum?"). They squabble and trade and generally have a good time fantasizing about eating it all at once (even if I do haul most of it out from under their beds after Christmas and chuck it).
This year, however, I was struck by their various sorting habits. The boys both arranged their loot the same way, without consulting each other I hasten to add: each candy bar had its own section, and everything was generally in a distinct line. Straight rows of Aeros, straight rows of Snickers, same of Tootsie Pops (ends all facing the same way even). Would that their rooms manifested this same degree of consideration. I had a brief moment of shock, actually, because it spoke of a particular kind of orderliness. A sort of engineered precision I had never even guessed at.

As a little kid, Max did the same thing with his Hot Wheels cars: every day he would spend at least a couple of hours sorting his cars into categories: trucks, cars, vans, etc. Then a further sorting into colours and sizes. They would stay there until bedtime (when he'd sweep them all into their bin). A Jackson Pollack of the Hot Wheels World he was not. And now here he is, sorting his Halloween stash into lovely little piles - and his brother does it too! It'll warm the cockles of their father's heart, because he too has the same compulsion for engineering order out of chaos.

As for FDPG, well, she has her mother's zest for chaos. Her candy was practically flung onto the table, with no rhyme nor reason. Upon seeing her brothers' piles, she laughed and said "Oh boy! I want to mess those up!" She didn't of course, but that was probably due more to her brothers standing guard than to her own self-restraint.

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