I swear I did my due diligence to baby proof. I put locks on cabinets and gates at stairs. But I didn’t empty out every drawer. No, that’s Fiona’s job.

Grabby Gabby helps herself to all stuff in all available cabinets and drawers. She reaches her hands into the drawers and she begins to extract the contents piece by piece, item by item. And then after a moment’s inspection, she lobs them over her shoulder ne’er to be mentioned again.

It’s one thing when she’s tossing the Tupperware or the sippy parts and baby cups, although I find myself irked when it’s the third time I’ve stooped to pick up these sippy parts. Yes, I twitched when the box of business cards, staples, and extra printer cartridges were being dashed to the floor as she fished through the desk supply canister. And my purse is regularly rifled through. But the day I couldn’t handle having an inquisitive toddler was the day she helped herself to my vanity drawer contents.

Purse contents on Shalavee.com

I’m a slight pack-rat. The contents of all those little boxes in the miscellaneous drawers I have everywhere tend to be nostalgic. There’s telescope pictures and hair snippets. Eyeshadow from the 80’s and ribbons from my wedding flowers. And Fiona was casually and heartlessly beginning to empty out my soul onto the floor as I sat there applying my makeup.

For a moment, I stepped out of the situation and observed it. Wanting to know if I could be that parent who doesn’t mind if the child explores and knowing that she wasn’t going to hurt herself or the stuff too badly. And then I snapped. It hit my privacy nerve.

vanity top from Grabby Gabby on Shalavee.com

The detached way in which she goes through the objects pausing a half a second to consider it and then tosses it over her shoulder to fish for the next object in the drawer was more than I could take. Maybe this is foreshadowing of how it’ll be after I’m dead and gone and they have to go through my stuff. But at least I won’t have to see it then.

None of it is really breakable yet the rawness of having my most private life moments thrown so heartlessly to the floor made me snap. I said “enough”. She didn’t like it. She got re-purposed. Do I feel like emptying every single drawer in the house out? Nope. I either need to be patient with her process, which I mostly am, I need to remove what feels raw for her to play with, or, it’s time she listened when I put boundaries on her. Because I said so is good enough. And I didn’t feel bad about telling her “no” which I think is a good thing. 

If you have any thoughts, please drop a word below in the comments. Or

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  1. HA! when she is old enough, she will demand to know “WHY!!!??”. My own personal experience being a Fiona-like child who also did not like coloring in the lines leads me to recall my Mother’s infuriating response” Because ‘Y’ is a crooked letter!”, she would declare. Which really irked me.
    What does THAT have to do with what I want right now!??

    Ahh indeed there is poetic equanimity in the mother daughter relationship.

    1. I like that you have a memory of something like this, even if, I agree, her response makes absolutely no sense. Crooked letter indeed. Quack.
      Thanks Sue.
      Love Ya’,

  2. I’m sorry if this seems like I’m laughing at you Shalagh, but this is wonderfully funny. A heartwarming piece, with an unexpected angle about privacy and mementos – love it! And, as always, fabulous photos to enjoy too. I think it’s good you said “no”.

    1. Oh Dawn, you can laugh at me all you want. I like to say, entertainment value is entertainment value. Even when the movie is supposed to be scary and is hysterical instead. Are you funny about your stuff or is this just me? And where do unwritten privacy laws get learned but from your family. I will never read their journals/diaries no matter what. Because no one reads mine you know. My husband often laughs how I just leave them about. This little one will however be such a test. Such a testament to my character or lacking.
      Love to you,

  3. That’s why I loved this – I am private about my stuff, and never snoop in other’s…but hadn’t considered what it felt like as a mom whose small child was “casually and heartlessly” tossing my things aside. Because she doesn’t know casual or heartless yet – she’s simply looking for something shiny or colourful. And better to “re-purpose” her hunt than to feel the feelings of adult affront. And on a more basic level, it’s never too early to learn respect in handling other people’s belongings. Love to you too!

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