Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Ever Multiplying Toy Collection

Lately The Girl has a new favorite hobby. It's called make a giant mess and drive mom crazy. Okay, so that's not exactly it. 

It started when she began watching Toy Story 3. She has always reenacted parts of a show or a movie when she plays. In Toy Story 3 Andy is leaving for college. This involves packing up his stuff and deciding what is trash. The Girl embraced this idea wholeheartedly. She began 'packing' for college or 'taking out trash,' both of which involved dumping out all or most of her toys and relocating them to another area of the house. One day she dumped out every single bin in the toy room and put it all in The Boy's play pen. Yesterday she slowly transferred most of her toys upstairs and into her bedroom closet (all while I was feeding The Boy - the kind of mischief The Girl gets into while I'm nursing her brother is another story for another day).

This has been driving me crazy because I'm the first to admit I'm just a bit anal about not having stuff all over the place. Returning the stuff to the toy room and back to where it belongs is extremely time consuming. Even worse, this conglomeration of toys leads to The Boy getting into unsafe territory. When the toys found their way into the playpen a ball for Hungry Hungry Hippo was left behind in a corner. You can imagine my shock when I noticed The Boy gagging on something and a little white plastic ball came flying out of his mouth!  When the piles build up on the floor I lose the ability to see that tiny Barbie shoe before it makes its way to my son's mouth.

I know trying to stop her from reenacting is not something I want to do. I certainly don't want to attempt to tell her how she can and cannot employ her imagination. I don't want her to think that playing must always be neat and never messy. What I can do is reduce the number of toys to a manageable level - the theory being that the level of the mess made will lessen if there are fewer things available to take part.

I have bemoaned the quantity of toys in this house for some time now. I know all parents can agree that even if you try to keep the toys at a minimum eventually the stuff just takes over. Holidays and birthdays add to the chaos annually. We've always been good about sorting through and donating unused toys but yesterday I crossed a line.

With The Girl's help I brought all the toys shoved in the closet back downstairs. I then filled three kitchen trash bags with various books and toys. I was pleasantly surprised at how eager The Girl was to help provided I reminded her that I was not actually throwing anything away. Those three bags are now in the basement. I told The Chef that they will stay there for one month. If during the next month she asks for something in the bag it will return to the toy room. Otherwise it is all getting donated.

Honestly, to the non-parent eye the toy room probably looks the same. To me, there is more space and less chaos. The Girl has not brought up the bags yet today so perhaps this will actually work out. I can dream can't I!

No comments:

Post a Comment