What do you do when your bucket overfloweth?

If you haven’t read about Apollo’s object hoarding and his “Gecko Bucket” you should go read “What’s with the bucket?” because this one is a sequel to that one.

Over the past few weeks, Apollo’s need to carry around an excessive amount of treasures at once has hit an all-time-high.

Apollo has now emptied his laundry basket out, and put all of his treasures in said laundry basket. Don’t worry, the sacred Gecko Bucket is now IN the laundry basket full of treasures — along with a massive amount of other treasures.

Surprisingly, Apollo can carry the laundry basket himself. I know, I wouldn’t have believed it either if I didn’t witness him doing so with my own eyes.

What do I do?

After all the parenting classes I’ve taken, and all the specialists that I’ve spoken to about Apollo’s object hoarding (amongst other things), the universal conclusion is to not feed into the behavior. I try my best not to acknowledge the basket — if I can. I find that the more I acknowledge the basket, the more motivated he is to continue to use the basket; at least, that is the general consensus anyway. I don’t carry the basket around for him, or let him bring the basket out of the house — he has limits. However, for the most part, as long as Apollo keeps his treasures in the basket and stays safe, I allow him to utilize the basket (for his treasures) in the house.

I know a lot of people like to focus on the negative side of object hoarding — call me an enabler, a bad mom — so many negative things. Can I truly blame them? From the outside looking in, I can totally see how it could be perceived that way; especially from individuals that have never had any real-life experiences with an atypical child like mine.

Sounds cliche, but there are some things that one cannot simply read about in books or on the internet — but need to experience for themselves to have a true understanding.

I’ve said it before, but Apollo’s treasures bring so much positivity to his life; comfort, stability, and regulation. Apollo doesn’t get what he wants, when he wants it, but we pick our battles in our house — otherwise everything would be a constant battle.

There are days when I wish I could just ask him why he needs so many treasures for comfort — and him to be able to communicate that to me in a way that I can understand — rather than echoing my words. I say that, because I want to know how I can better help him, and having a communication barrier is tough on both of us. Someday, I hope we get to a place where we can have those conversations back and forth. Until then, a regulated and safe child is a happy child, and if a basket of treasures makes him stay regulated and happy, then that’s a compromise that I’m willing to make.

I still hold out hope that Apollo’s need for the large laundry basket full of treasures is a phase, and at some point he will go back to using his toy boxes or even his Gecko Bucket to hold his treasures. Fingers crossed.

Do you have children that hoard objects? What is your experience with object hoarding? How do you handle it, and/or redirect the child’s behavior? OR do you find yourself picking your battles, like I do?