Monday, December 19, 2011

There's a Wocket in My Pocket

Pockets have got to be one of the most brilliant and yet the most simple inventions of modern man, right up there with the wheel. Imagine a caveman thinking, “Well, I just threw the spear that was in one hand and the rock that was in the other, but this saber-toothed tiger is still chasing me. I sure wish I had some way to carry a couple more rocks.” [CHOMP.] Very useful things, pockets.

And not just useful, but cool. Adults often forget the fascination of pockets, at least until they see a child discovering them. My son Ryan has recently stumbled across the mystery of pockets, and it reminds me of exactly how simple and brilliant they are. Ryan still needs to hang onto the railing when he goes upstairs, so bringing a toy with him often poses a problem. But not now that he has pockets! It may take him several minutes of figuring out which hand to hold the toy in to get it into the pocket - although he is, in fact, flexible enough to put something in his left pocket with his right hand (try it sometime; it’s harder than you might think) – but eventually he will be proudly marching up the stairs with a bulldozer or a backhoe or a fire engine peeking out of his pocket.

And now that he knows that clothes sometimes have pockets, he likes to explore each item of clothing to make sure he’s found any that may be lurking. Doesn’t matter whose clothes they are; he’ll happily turn other people around and pat them all over to see if they’re hiding any pockets anywhere. I can only imagine this habit will intensify after the first time he stumbles across a pocket containing anything more interesting than the crumpled tissues he finds in mine.

When I was his age, I had a similar fascination for pockets, but rather than filling them with trucks, I filled mine with rocks. My mother got very used to the sound of clunking in the dryer whenever she forgot to check my pockets before she ran a load of laundry. And it’s a good thing she could sew, because you can fit a lot more rocks into the pants pocket of a small child than the weight limit of said pocket.

I can only imagine what I might find in Ryan's pockets in the spring, when he’s spending time outside. I’m picturing earthworms, frogs, mud, salamanders, small rodent carcasses… Actually, now that I think about it, that could be kind of cool. Yeah, pockets can definitely be a source of fascination at all ages.



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