I’m sitting here, in my living room, surveying the lay of the land. It’s a bit messy: I’m still feeling weak and fatigued, so I didn’t enforce the “food at the table” rule and so N got challah crumbs everywhere. The whole day has pretty much been a free-for-all, come to think of it. So why doesn’t the living room look so bad?
Almost no toys.
Well, there is R’s baby gym, but it’s so much less garish than the ones we used to have for K and N. And sure, there’s a ball around here somewhere. And K’s giant inflated dinosaur (like those hopping balls we used to have as kids, but dinosaur-shaped). And that’s it.
Over and over again I’ve removed toys from this room. At first it was just the toys that K had outgrown. Then I allowed my inner “toy snob” free rein and took out all the ugly plastic things, leaving only the wood and fabric toys. And now this. We (temporarily) removed all of the toys from the living room to make space for K’s party (I had to hide those mushrooms somewhere!).
Do you know that in the five days since K’s party, not one of my children has asked about (or otherwise indicated) the lack of toys in here?
So what have they been doing? Well, today I had bills to pay, so I sat at the table with N and K. They each got to open envelopes for me (N got all the junkmail ones) and then K practiced using my 3-hole punch and N scribbled on a piece of paper with a pencil (I tried to interest him in the foam stickers, but where K at that age would have peeled off the backings and stuck them to things, N just wanted to shove them in his mouth.) Later on we got out the supplies for some mess-free painting and set it up at the window. K decided to get some blueberries out of the fridge and rinse them so she and N could have a snack.
I’m telling you this, not because I’m feeling all SanctiMommy, but because I wonder whether I could ever dare take the last drastic step… of getting rid of 90% of the toys we own.
Many of said toys are sitting in three boxes beneath a table in the basement. We haven’t opened those boxes in at least five months. Do we need them at all? Should I even bother looking through them, or should I just hit the goodwill donation centre? And what about the toys that left the living room last week? Should I bring them back? Move them downstairs?
I just keep getting hit, over and over, with the realization that we have too many things. And if the kids can be happy and entertained and engaged with regular daily tasks, then what are the toys for?
I suspect that, in the end, I’ll purge some toys and keep others, we’ll use a few but keep far more in boxes, until the day when our kids are grown and we can no longer justify having toys at all.
But… what will the grandchildren play with?