We have 2 or 3 sets of utensils, and mixed into that is one fork and one spoon, which I acquired after hosting a pot-luck at some point in the past 3 years. It bugs me that I have this miss-matched spoon and fork. They do not even match each other. But I have no clue who they belong to, so I seem to be stuck with them..
My 5 year old daughter not only discovered these miss-matched utensils, she also LOVES them. Really kid? Why? Add that to the list of odd things daughter does.
Because I have a kid who is like me
When I was a child, we had a color-coded system. Life was simple and predictable. My sister always had the yellow cup, and I had the red cup. Then one day, she wanted the red cup, so mom gave it to her. “What on earth? Why did you give her my cup?” Mom said she could not remember whose cup was whose, and it did not really matter anyway, because both cups belonged to our whole family and anyone could use either cup.
My world was shattered. What do you mean, “it does not matter? How will I know which cup I have been drinking out of that day, if we keep switching colors back and forth?”
Our family needed more than 2 cups anyway, so my little sister could graduate to real cups. So to end the feud, my mom bought a whole set of plastic cups. Now there were 2 yellows, and 3 reds, and various other colors.
With so many color options, how I am supposed to remember which color cup I was drinking out of today?
Fortunately, there was only one purple cup. I decided to only use that cup, and let my sisters have all the other ones. But because I always wanted the purple cup, both of my sisters decided it must be better than the rest, so now all three of us were fighting over the one purple cup. My poor parents!
Fast forward several years.
Gone were the days of plastic cups. Now we all drank out of glasses. My mom had a very nice set of glasses, and a few odd ones which didn’t match. So again, I chose a one-of-a-kind miss-matched glass as my own. I could leave “my” glass anywhere in the house and return to it later, knowing, “this is mine.” Occasionally someone else would try to use my glass. I’d scold them saying, “hey, that was mine. I was drinking out of the cup.” They’d argue with me, claiming they left their cup on the table, mine must be the one on the counter. I would argue back, that I only use the cup with that pattern so I am 100% sure that is my cup. And again, my parents would get so frustrated with me saying that I do not “own” exclusive rights to one particular cup. Fine, she can have that glass today, but my germs are on it.
How did this translate into real life as an adult?
I bough a water bottle and I take it everywhere with me. I always know it is mine. And no one else tries to claim it, because that’s not how life works when it comes to water bottles. My childhood would have been so much easier if I had discovered water bottles sooner.
But at home, I do drink out of a glass. We have a conglomeration of different glasses and mason jars of various sizes. I did not have a preference of which type I use. However I narrowed it down to, there’s only 3 of this style/shape, and my husband does not like them. So I made those odd ones “mine” and hid them in a different cupboard. That way when we have guests over, they use the normal glasses. So again, I can leave my mason jar anywhere and return to it, knowing it is mine.
I implemented a color-coded system
For plates and bowls, we have colorful Fiesta-ware dishes. We started with green and blue, since those are Duane and my favorite colors. We added in some purple, which was perfect since that became the favorite color of our first-born child. Before she knew her colors, or even ate off the glass plates, she would point to the blue plate and say, “that’s Mama’s” and point to purple saying, “that’s mine.” We also had some orange dishes, which our daughter called, “Zach’s.” Because at the time, Zach lived in a yurt in our back yard, and process of elimination concluded that orange must be his color.
I had a dream that our 2nd child’s favorite color was orange. So we assigned that color to her. And to this day, orange is her favorite color. Probably because we always fed her from orange plates and bowls. So she quickly learned, “when Mama puts food on the orange plate, I get to eat!” So she loves orange.
For the most part, my children have followed my color-coded system. This way, if anyone leaves a plate of food unattended, I know exactly who did not finish eating their lunch.
Other days, I am annoyed by children fighting over who gets what color. We have a system here! Do not mess it up! Blue (and sometimes purple) is mine. Green (and sometimes orange) is Dada’s. Big Sis gets her favorite colors: “purple, pink, blue, and all the colors of the rainbow, just the beautiful ones, but none of the boring ones.” Little Sis gets orange, or yellow or green, since sometimes orange is not an option. The color peach, creates a big problem, is it pink or orange?
Then, there is that mismatched fork and spoon.
Which my firstborn loves, and insists on using at every meal.
She and I both have a way of finding and loving the ones who are different, unique, unusual, maybe a bit odd and quirky. Which could be why I fell in love with Duane. So it is a good thing Big Sis and I are the ones who love uniqueness, since Dada and Little Sis are a bit different. Fortunately, we always know who they belong to.