So its the moment of truth.

My own personal shipping day. Marble Jar app is live, not for you, istore shopper, or you, beta tester. But for Oliver. Newly six, and totally tech-y he has switched his hockey night send off from “score a goal for me dada, to score a goal for the app.” (“Did you? I ask, half kidding)

I hand the cracked iPad over reminding myself not to say a word. There will be plenty of time for talk and collaboration, but this time it is for Oliver, and I want to see what he does.

Smooth silky blond hair falls right to his lashes. He concentrates on the screen.

Lets add a new jar he says. I swallow my instructions.

Edit Name he reads carefully. Tap. The type pad appears. T he sounds out. T T T. T-O-Y. Toy, He has built a toy jar. OK. So much for my sample environmentalism jar that I have been crowing over to the LA team. Where my kids conserve energy, whip out toolsets to fix leaky pipes, gently re-build birds nests while whistling.

Oliver is a real boy and he is building his toy jar. Add picture. Should I take a picture of a toy? We don’t have a picture of a toy on here…here is one where I look like a toy. I’ll use this one.

What should it take for me to get a toy? he asks out loud to his perpetual peanut gallery. “Sharing” Leo says, you should share the toys you have to get new toys.

OK says Oliver.

Sh- Sha- Share toys. He dials in a marble number. 10. I should share ten toys.

I’m starting to sweat a little. I’m beginning to compose my “point of the marble jar” speech.

“What else?” He taps his temple with his left pointer tip, knuckles crooked at a perfect 90 degree angle. The boys in my family all make this gesture, one that I imagined was only for exposition in fiction. Tap tap tap.

“oh- pick up toys.” He adds that as well, stopping to ask if it is a c, or a k that makes the k sound in pick, then answering himself. “K” 30 more marbles.

He looks at the jar. 40 marbles he reads out loud. “oh” that’s a lot.

I can’t keep quiet. I do try to stay matter of fact. Does that seem like a lot? Does it seem like thats what it would take to get a new toy? Sharing toys and picking up toys?

The boys both look up at me. Perhaps my tone wasn’t 100% matter of fact. Its possible.

Oliver lights up. I know! D. d. d. Mama? How do you spell donate?

I know something else that starts with a D.

Donate toys. 10 Marbles. 50 marbles total. How does that sound?  Leo answers him. “I think that sounds good…just don’t donate my favorite toys”

So there it is.

Some good stuff, and some room for improvement.

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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble,, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at

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