Recently, I bought an unopened box of 1990 Donruss cards. Honestly, I don't remember why I did. I have all the 1990 Indians cards from Donruss. But, if memory serves, it was actually packaged with another box of cards or something. I digress.
My daughter asked me if she could open a few packs of the "red cards." I was busy sorting through a stack of other cards in order to send some 'gift packs' out to a few of the folks that I have traded with in the past. I told her she could open a few packs, but not to open ALL of the packs.
To a five-year old, "few" has little or no meaning. "Not all of them" has definite meaning. "Not all of them" means that she could leave one unopened pack in the box, if left to her own devices. I made this discovery when I pulled my head away from the cards I working with long enough to see opened packs strewn around the floor. Emily was sitting among them, rifling through cards.
It was the manner in which she was opening the packs that really got my attention, though. As she opened each pack, she looked at each card. She would stop on cards with the team names she recognized: White Sox, Cubs, Angels, Pirates, and Indians, of course. She is very adept at sounding out the words, even if she doesn't recognize the team. Though, I am pretty sure she knew what the Indians were long before she ever saw her first set of golden arches along some highway.
She took the Indians cards and placed them in a separate pile. If she came across a duplicate, "a match," she left that card in the stack of cards she was going through at the time. She then took the puzzle piece that comes in each pack and put it into another pile. She did not look for duplicates of those. All pieces, no matter what, were relegated to their own special place.
After she went through the pack, she carefully placed the remaining cards back into the pack, and set the pack aside, reached into the box for another one, and began the process over again. I watched her go through another pack before I spoke.
"How ya doin' there?" My question startled her. She had been so enthralled with opening the packs that she was in her own little world - one I was all too familiar with myself. She looked up at me, looked over at the now nearly empty box of cards, looked around her at the packs she placed in a semi-circle on the floor around her, looked back up at me, and said, "Opening red cards.... DUH..." I gave her a quizzical, not quite stern, look and she corrected herself.
"I'm putting the Indians in a pile for you, but if they match, I'm keeping them in the pack. See?" She showed me the small pile of Tribers she had picked out. I smiled and nodded. She put the stack next to her. "And, I'm putting all the puzzles in a pile." She pointed at the stack of cardboard next to her other knee, as she was sitting "criss-cross applesauce" as they say now, so as not to be offensive. I told her she was doing a good job, and reminded her not to open ALL the packs. "I know, Daddy. I'm saving some for later. Wanna come help me?"