I am delighted by the curation that’s been happening with the items on Dylan’s nightstand. Things slowly cycle in and out of this place, but they’re always deliberately chosen and arranged and I really enjoy paying them a visit. 

His current selection, going generally clockwise and spiraling in:

Alarm clock. Riley has the same clock, it has the cool feature of projecting the time on the ceiling but Dylan doesn’t like that option. He does however like setting his own alarm and getting up early, at which point he pads around the house in his little robe and it’s extremely cute except when he comes in our room and stands quietly by the bed and then it’s super creepy.

Plaster cast of a seashell.
This came from a fourth grade science unit and it’s only recently replaced a previous plaster item which is a cast of his thumb from a second grade field trip to an orthodontist and frankly I’m glad to see the tiny severed thumb downgraded to his bookshelf.

Compass. I once asked him if he’d ever used this compass. “Um, in the WOODS I have,” he said, importantly.

Map pins. He has a large US map on his wall and he’s carefully placed pins for places he’s visited, places where people in our family were born, and places he’d like to visit. “If you could go anywhere, where would it be?” *thinks a while* “DALLAS.”

Basketball arm band thing. Are your sportsy kids into the one Spanx-like arm band? This is a whole THING.

Shitty Hawaiian airlines earbuds. Even I had to buy these dumb things during our flight because my own earbuds wouldn’t stretch to the in-seat screen dealie.

Tiny car handmade out of scraps from a tin can. I bought this in Manzanita two years ago, I can’t believe he still has it.

(Seagull?) feather that we made into a quill pen. I think he only tried writing with this once (kids + inkwells = nooooo) but it’s held the bedside place of honor for a long time.

Arrowhead. Purchased from a store in Sunriver, I believe. Briefly attached to a stick with string.

Plastic sea turtle. Gifted as a reminder of a previous trip to Hawaii, brought back out before our trip last week.

Snowglobes: Las Vegas, Hawaii. Neither place seem particularly well-suited to being represented by a snow globe souvenir, but Dylan has decided this is going to be a Thing He Collects from Places He Has Traveled to.

Sharps Bros patch. His dad’s business, naturally that one’s front and center.

Family photo ornament. This one’s from 2016 and it didn’t print well so I ordered another, Dylan loves it and it’s always on display.

Retainer. The retainer itself is printed, I swear I am not making this up, with the OSU Beavers logo. Do you know what color retainer options I had when I was a kid? PINK. It was fleshy pink or NOTHING. Kids these days.

Lockbox. He keeps all his important documents in there: passport, social sec — just kidding, he has like $1.56 in there and he can never remember the combination.

Penknife. He never actually uses it, but it’s there. Just in case.

Dinosaur tooth. Where did this come from? A novelty shop on the coast, I think. It’s probably not even a real tooth.

Cute campfire craft. I made this craft when I read about it here, and it really did turn out so well! Unfortunately either I bought shitty glue or hot glue gunned stuff isn’t made to last over time because this thing will straight-up fall apart if you even breathe on it. Dylan loves it, though.

“Dylan” bracelet. Made at a booth at the surprisingly entertaining Junction City Scandinavian Festival, two years ago. He has never worn it. “I like it, but I’m not really a bracelet guy,” he explained. This is pretty much how I feel about every item of jewelry I’ve ever owned.

Hotel pen. He also loves collecting hotel pens and keycards. This one’s from the Grand Wailea.

Switchblade comb. Oh my GOD was he ever in love with this thing for a while. I think he got it at one of those arcade places where you trade in a bazillion tickets for one crappy prize, and out of all the tragically cheap stuffed animals and plastic snakes and single squares of Laffy Taffy he found this comb and it was the COOLEST THING EVER. I really recommend 10-year-old boys for lots of things, including impromptu hugs, their not-yet-dampened-by-social-constructs-enthusiasm, and how they look when they flick open a switchblade comb and slowly drag it through their most outrageous cowlick.


10 Responses to “Fourth grader’s favorites: a brief tour”

  1. Jennifer on March 2nd, 2018 9:15 am

    so neat to see how a child curates his own cabinet of curiosities. And so great of you to be interested in this expression of himself–go mama!

  2. Kim on March 2nd, 2018 9:52 am

    This was so much fun. This also shamed me into organizing my nightstands.

  3. Jill H on March 2nd, 2018 10:53 am

    Basketball arm band thing-Yes! my 8th grade son has one and I no idea why or what the purpose is, but he HAD to have one.

    Also, I wish my kids were this organized

  4. LD's Mom on March 2nd, 2018 1:02 pm

    Love your boys! This will be fun for you all to read in 5, 10, 15, etc. years!

  5. April on March 2nd, 2018 3:55 pm

    I love this. My boys’ “goodnight stands” look the same way. (One of them called it that as a toddler and it stuck .)

  6. Thesaurus on March 2nd, 2018 8:00 pm

    Oh my heart! That is just a wonderful insight into Dylan and what rocks his world.

  7. Lisa on March 3rd, 2018 8:58 am

    My husband majored in public history and was a curator for all of his career up until this year when he became the director of curatorial & education at the museum where he works. I could totally see him doing this as a kid. Unlike most of the rest of my male friends from our generation, he did not destroy his Star Wars toys when he played with them and instead lovingly curated them just like this.

  8. Julie on March 3rd, 2018 10:00 am

    Dylan, you and your family are welcome in Dallas anytime! I got you covered.

  9. Andrea on March 3rd, 2018 10:39 am

    Switchblade comb! My brother had one, probably 40 years ago. I was so envious. I just had a couple of big toothed combs with handles, in day-glo colors. Perfect for keeping in a back pocket and whipping out to make sure my hair was perfectly “feathered” during passing time in junior high.

    He’s got a great collection!

  10. Alison on March 4th, 2018 10:51 pm

    Love this. Random, but this reminds me so much of the beginning of the Winnie the Pooh movie where they do a slow pan over Christopher Robin’s bedroom and all his collections of toys and treasures. I try to remind myself how charming I found that opening when my own boys’ collecting is driving me batty. Dylan’s looks so neat and well thought out though.

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