Keeping track of blocks, bells, and clappers–all while losing my marbles


Henry, Isaac, Rose, Mabel, and Hazel. The photos in this post were all taken at the beautiful Thanksgiving Point Gardens in Lehi, Utah, where my children–particularly Mabel–seemed determined to make funny faces for every photo. Mabel’s just lucky I didn’t post the video of her acting as the “Stupidsaurus” character she invented–although if I do decide to post it, she deserves it.

The following is a story of how, if you are a meticulous, detail-oriented person who likes to stay on top of things, you probably shouldn’t have five children.

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Three days ago, Hazel brought me a block that has a little bell hanging from it. The block goes with a set that includes blocks with holes in them and blocks with sloping grooves, for marbles to roll through. We’ve had the set since Ike was a toddler. The year we got it, Dean and I stayed up playing with it that Christmas Eve, building mazes for the marbles.


Look, a bullfrog! This has nothing to do with the story.

If positioned perfectly, the little bell should ring when a marble bumps it. Hazel told me the bell was broken, and I saw that the loop that holds the clapper had been bent open, and the clapper had come off. I’ve repaired that particular damage already once before on that bell, so I knew I could fix it with a pair of pliers. But I didn’t have pliers handy, so I told Hazel to put the block, bell, and clapper on the cutting table in my sewing room–the usual place where I have the kids dump things that I plan to repair.

Later that day we took the kids to the gardens at Thanksgiving Point for the Tulip Festival, and I saw Rose playing with a little metal doohicky, putting it in her mouth–and I realized it was the bell’s clapper, which she had found on my cutting table and carried off with her. I confiscated it and put it in a pocket of my purse where it wouldn’t be lost.

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This morning I searched the pockets of my purse, found the clapper, reattached it, and gave the block back to Hazel to play with.

All that trouble, over one little broken bell. And these kinds of little breaks and losses happen all the time, every day.

Now ask me if I am on top of things. Broken bells? Yes–at least this time. Everything else–the big, major, important things in life? Not even close.

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This entry was posted in Meanwhile in the real world, My kids actually are funny (and sweet and wonderful), My kids think they're funny. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Keeping track of blocks, bells, and clappers–all while losing my marbles

  1. I was disappointed to learn that claptrap is not etymologically related to your little bell’s clapper. Just as well, because I liked your story very much.

  2. Helen Hall says:

    What a beautiful collection of family photos. Thank you so much!

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