Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cans for Comments Post #3 - A Toy Story

Um, does anyone know what is going on here? 

I have a little secret.

I kind of dread any occasion in which my kids are the recipient of someone else's kind-heartedness.  Kind-heartedness that often comes in a very tangible form... usually primary colored and bearing the words "Little Tikes", "Fisher Price", "Tonka" or some such other purveyor of similar plastic noisy ilk.

Now this is not to say that we don't appreciate these gifts. And our kids do most certainly.  We believe in toys whole-heartedly.  They are the stuff of childhood.   Kids need them to grow and develop.  Kids need something to do so that they don't hang off their parents pantlegs every second of the day.  Kids need something to fight over, swallow, and smash over their sibling's head.  I get it and I am grateful... really.

The problem is, we have a pretty small house. By small I mean a 1080 sq. ft bungalow in which 5 people reside as well as two mangy mutts.  The boys already share a bedroom, Thyra sleeps in a room smaller than the size of some walk in closets I have seen recently, and we all share one tiny main floor bathroom.

We are lucky that our basement is fully developed, but apparently the late 70's were a little light on space- planning, and heavy instead on decorative treatments such as full wood paneling and brown and orange carpeting.

What we have then, is one big rec room that is a graveyard for electronic equipment, houses Gavan's "work" area, includes our treadmill (aka parking pad for toy trucks), as well as our unbelievably ginormous sectional, (I succumbed to the pressure and let my husband pick the "basement" couch in a moment of weakness) in addition to the fireplace from which our infants like to eat soot, bookshelves and a makeshift play area.  By play area, I mean everywhere there is a spare square foot of carpeting.

Our set-up drives me insane.  I am already known as the toy-nazi in our house.  If one comes in, then one must go out.  I try to keep the amount of toys we have limited to one large bucket.  Unfortunately babies come with bouncy seats and jumperoos, walkers and sing-stages.   Little boys come with toys like ride-on dump trucks, fire trucks, garbage trucks, tractors and so on. And the balls... BALLS!  Baseballs, soccerballs, beachballs, golf balls.  All of this stuff of every shape and size that will not possibly fit in a bin or box of any sort.  Then there are all the blocks and puzzles and books.  Did I mention the stuffed animals? I had honestly hoped that by subscribing to centuries-old sexism that we would have far less fluffy things with two boys.  I was wrong.   I swear those things are procreating in the dark and that fuzzy bunnies are multiplying like... well, you know what.

In my mother-of-one life, I had visions of a colorful spacious playroom filled with wooden hand-crafted toys. A playroom with a DOOR, behind which was tidy bins of thoughtful, award winning playthings.  Toys that were powered by imagination instead of 18 AA batteries.  Toys that inspired music and art, creativity and learning instead of blaring baby soft-rock versions of Twinkle Twinkle  over and over unmercifully.   I had dreams of shelves of games and books all lined up in a row.  Old classics, new favorites all with perfect crisp pages and shiny spines and not a game or puzzle piece missing.

Instead what we have is Duplo blocks under every possible surface.  Every book sports a bite mark by our little goat in resident.  And it is not only the cousins and Aunts and Uncles and Grandparents that are to blame for this state we are in.  We too have fallen prey to the bright lights of Toys R' Us and upon returning home and shaking the sparkle of the latest and greatest from our eyes, wondered what exactly we have just brought into our home, and why.

Going forward, what I hope by some divine intervention, (or not-so-subtle hinting) is that my children's benefactors, us parents included,  nix the toys, for a little while at least and invest instead in toy storage as a change, RESP's, family vacations to Disneyland, poverty in Africa or whatever else can be possibly come up with.... batteries not required.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  Love'em or hate 'em?  Do you have a playroom for your kids?  Have you come up with an amazing organizational plan, or are you like me and have they run amok all over your home? 

Looking forward to your comments on day 3 of my Cans for Comments drive for the Calgary Interfaith Food bank.   A huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to comment on a post thus far. 


Jen and Brent said...

We have a play room, with a door. But, of course, Eli prefers to be where we are. If I could have a do over, I would make a dedicated toy area including storage shelving, but not necessarily a closed off room. It looks cute though!

Christy said...

Luckily we have a pretty good setup. Our main level living room is our "nice" living room and there are no toys down there. Upstairs our bonus room looks like...well a daycare with a big plastic playhouse, buckets overflowing with toys, ride on toys, and everything else.

r.a.d.e tarves said...

I'm with you - can't stand the dreaded overload of toys.. Our trick is to not buy BIG things if possible (otherwise they belong outdoors), and we store half of the toys in rubbermaids and then swap once in awhile. That way they feel like new toys!

AshleyB said...

We have 2300 sqft and still it is crawling with toys...and stuffies...and books...and every pot and pan I own that should be in a drawer, instead resides on my bathroom floor as a drum. The kicker - I work for a Professional Organizing company ;)

grimeysgal said...

Right now our "playroom" is technically our livingroom until I can find an "office" job and then we'll convert the office to a playroom... god I can't wait for the day that happens!

Heather said...

I think I may be your doppelgänger...

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