I knew that in parenting a son I would be out of my comfort zone on more than a few occasions, however, I had no idea how often we would be discussing garbage. “Gar-gar,” as N affectionately calls it, is the topic of almost all conversations. Sometimes when he wakes, yet to be rescued from his crib, I hear him babbling about gar-gar and it makes me laugh.
He brings garbage that he finds to the nearest garbage can, points to any garbage cans or trucks he sees on the street, and drives his toy garbage trucks around our house– it’s all about garbage. At first, having him pick up pieces of garbage and run them to the trash can was helpful: “here, put this in the garbage for mommy.” Then, when he started collecting garbage on the playground it became less cute and I became more germaphobic.
I’ve learned that many little boys are obsessed with garbage trucks at this age (and I’ve been reassured that they usually outgrow it). If your son is as well, I recommend the Green Toys Recycling Truck as it has provided many hours of durable play at our house. I like to think of N’s garbage obsession as a sign of a budding environmentalist and so his toys reflect that.
One of the most peculiar garbage experiences yet though occurred as we watched our garbage being collected one Saturday morning. N yelled “hi” from our doorway as he watched the men fling bottles and cardboard into the monstrous metal machine. He squealed with excitement as the driver honked and waved. Then, the driver came running up to our door and handed me $3. Baffled by this generous gesture, I immediately refused it. However, he waved the dollars at me with pleading eyes and said, “come on, it’s for the baby. Trash men have a heart too.”
Three dollars richer, I thought about what to do with the money. N already has a savings account, so I thought about doing something more frivolous with the money. I could buy him a new gar-gar truck, but our playroom already has at least 4 and I’m thinking that’s over-quota. So, I decided to use the money as an inspiration to invest in some stocks and created an Education Savings Account. I bought some child inspired stock to get it started and hope that as it grows along with N we can learn together about saving, investing, and taking risks. While my hope for his savings accounts are that they help pay for his education someday, I hope he also learns from the man who helped contribute to it and shows kindness to strangers. I know he will pay it forward. After all, gar-gar men have a heart.