I'm not sure where this obsession of his came from, but it is persistent and pervasive. As evidence, I present the following:
- "Garbage" (pronounced "ba-ba" or "ba-bage") was his fourth word, preceded only by "airplane" ("da!"), "monkey" ("ooo-ooo-ooo"), and "uh-oh!" ("uh-oh!"). Non-essential words like "Mommy" came much, much later.
- During those torturous months when Sam was too young for nursery (15-18 mos), but too old to be entertained by quiet books during Sunday School, I could position the classroom trash can next to my chair and give him a pocket-sized package of tissues. He'd keep himself busy wadding up the tissues and throwing them in the garbage for half an hour. Now that he's old enough to go to nursery, he runs straight for the garbage can--not the puzzles, games, and toys laid out to distract clingy toddlers when they are dropped off by their parents.
- Wednesday is Sam's favorite day for walks to the park because it is garbage day in our neighborhood. He stops at each bin and reverently pats the City of Iowa City logo while whispering "ba-bage." On other days of the week, he is happy to find a can still out at the curb, but failing that, he'll march right up strangers' driveways and into their garages to caress each garbage can.
- Because of its resemblance to his bedroom diaper pail, he identified Tutter's mouse hole in his Big Blue Bear boardbook as the "ba-bage." It's usually the first--and most exciting-- item he picks out on the page each time we read.
Garbage is his most prominent obsession, but Sam also holds a great fondness for brooms, mops, and vacuums. I'm convinced that if we could teach him to knock on doors and say "housekeeping!" we could make some serious money.