Friday, January 30, 2015

A basket of... Yousef

It was supposed to be a basket of books. It could have been a basket of eggs, or apples or clementines. I could have put garlic or onions or potatoes. I could have used it to contain the random toys or given it its previous role of laundry hamper. I could have stashed it away and forgot all about it. But when we first moved I needed a place for books, particularly for board books.

I had unpacked most of the toys and divided them around the house. Some toys were only to be played with in the basement while others were housed in the kitchen play area. Books, some dolls, and a few small toys belonged on the bedroom floor. Trains and their tracks, mini puzzles and wooden blocks were organised in transparent plastic boxes, while animal and human figurines were bagged up. Later that year JR's school would give me colored drawers and the kids would relocated the trains, tracks, puzzles and figurines there and repurposed the boxes.

The books were left. Deciding what to do with the paper books was easy; they went up on the high shelf in the kids' walk-closet, conveniently out of Yousef's reach. My books went in the hutch in the living area and Jeff's were taken to the basement office. The board books lay there. I debated a small shelf for them, but wised up about that; Yousef would bring down the shelf and the book on himself in no time. I thought of leaving them on the floor in stacks, but knew that soon they would be scattered all over the floor. I looked around the found the two identical plastic baskets and got to work; one basket held Arabic board books and the other contained the English. I set them at an angel in the corner and moved on.

Then came the cold winter day when Yousef and I needed something to do. "Get a book, Yousef," I suggested. He carried the whole basket in from the other room. "Pick a book," I asked. He tossed them out one by one on the bedroom floor. When the basket was empty, he located a favorite and proceeded to look at it, but not after he had climbed into the basket! And there he sat looking through one book after the other until he had had enough.

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