Ever since we first got little M, even in China, she has been a collector. A little trinket, maybe a rock, a stick…maybe a small toy…the other day it was a small piece of dry pasta. She will carry a little flower around balled up in her fist, until it wilts and discolors, and even then she proclaims it beautiful.

She will carry these little things around in her balled up little fist like a tiny security blanket.
She will name them, worry about them, and be very happy with them.

Also, she will be devastated if something happens to her treasure.

I have never taken these away, and I have always tried to be sensitive to the fact that these seem to bring her some sort of comfort. But truly, I don’t get it, and I worry about her attachment to these things getting in the way of life. So far, it’s fine, but holding on to these things does impede her ability to hold onto other things…like a swing at the park.

These treasures will last an entire day, but the next day she doesn’t go back to these things. She moves on to her next treasure, and doesn’t seem to miss the precious item from the previous day.

Is this a normal four year old thing? Do all kids do this?


  1. Me on May 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I think it is fairly normal. Some kids have favorite things and some don't. My nephew did but my niece didn't… I still have great attachment to some little things whereas my sister doesn't seem to have any sentiment towards any objects from her childhood. At least you can get rid of them at the end of the day, otherwise you might have a little hoarder in your midst. 🙂

  2. Musings from Kim K. on May 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Yes. This is normal. Josie will be six in a few weeks. Everyday she comes home from her latchkey program with new stones, sticks and leaves that are very precious treasures.

  3. ZoeB on May 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    My first thought is that we all belong to someone,,,what belongs to us? A treasure! Maybe a tiny cross-shoulder change purse would be the alternative to her little fist. Miss M could wear it all day and not lose anything. Overnight the \”Faeries\” would come to…..You and she finish the story !

  4. ZoeB on May 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. celine on May 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Lars is my collector and I think Finn is following in his footsteps. Lars will carry things around ,and I have to tell him to put them down to do other things (like go to the bathroom). And as he's getting older it's turning to coins, stamps, bottle caps, etc. I think some kids just like to collect and admire things. It just seems to be an aspect of his personality. It's quite precious!

  6. Kat on May 19, 2012 at 1:06 am

    I do know something about this one. I can not say if it is \”normal\” behavior but two of our children had what we termed the \”Item of the day.\” It was just as you say. It might be anything and it changed from day to day but it was always the most special thing… until the next day. We always thought it was so neat. It was not uncommon for Allen to greet me by asking what the IOD was. As you noted it could at times become cumbersome to always have their hands full. When Brianna was going through this stage, I went to Joanns and bought the tiniest canvas tote bag and painted it up with flowers and her name. She carried it everywhere with her for a long time so she could have her treasure and free her hands up when needed. When Samuel was carrying around his little goodies, I put him in overalls everyday for several years. The big pocket on the bib was his safe place to store whatever. He is going to be seven soon and still has his little treasures, but he doesn't have to always have them right with him, just close by, when possible.

Leave a Comment