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Too Much Object Permanence

Cora and Maddie have been hard at work
making Valentine cards for all their friends; for the past few days
our kitchen’s been a crafting disaster area, with stickers
and glitter glue and tissue paper scattered everywhere. For the
very special friends, both girls are painstakingly affixing a
Hershey kiss to the envelope, and Cora has laboriously written each
friend’s name on each and every envelope.

“There!” Cora said triumphantly yesterday morning.
“I just finished my last Valentine! I’m so

“Good for you!” I said warmly. “Now you just need
to decorate a box for your Valentine mailbox and you’ll be
all ready for Valentine’s Day!”

Cora looked at me, confused. “Silly Mommy – I already
made a box last year! Can you get it out now?”

Um, about that.

Last year Maddie was required to make a
mailbox for her class party, and while she was busy at work I threw
a TINY old box at Cora for her to decorate as well. Cora glued a
few sad strips of tissue paper to it and called it done, and though
it was certainly used on Valentine’s Day, I had NO idea it
was well loved.

Or even, frankly, remembered.

Which is why I followed my usual policy with both mailboxes: a
month in the laundry room, and if no one asks for it in that time
it heads to the garage. After another month of neglect in the
garage, it gets recycled.

Sorry, baby.

Cora wept, big copious sobs with fat wet tears falling down her
face. In a classic Cora move, she finally transferred herself to
our pantry, where she sat on a shelf, pulled the door closed, and
wept silently for about twenty minutes.

Over her abandoned mailbox.

She eventually rallied, thanks in part to my finding a new box for
her to decorate but also, I’m ashamed to say, due to a
promise of McDonald’s for lunch. I’m telling you, she
was inconsolable.

Cora decorated her new box tonight while I was teaching, and when I
came home I beheld a thing of beauty: lovingly covered in heart
wrapping paper, with her name spelled out in stickers and one
entire side painted over with a bucolic watercolor scene. On top of
the heart paper. It’s truly gorgeous, and 100% Cora.

I snuggled in bed with Cora and told her I’d seen the box,
and how gorgeous it was. “Thanks,” she said happily.

Then she turned to me somberly. “Mommy, I forgive you for
recycling my old box. Do you think you can try very hard and make
sure you remember to NEVER get rid of this box? I’m going to
need it every year, and it’s quite wasteful to make a new one
each time.”

Ouch. Who’s she been listening to?


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