Really, what this should be called instead is something along the lines of “help is not always help” or “be careful what you wish for” …
See, my kids are awesome because they clean up when we ask them to. Oh sure, there is the standard arguing: “he’s not helping,” “she’s just dressing her Polly Pockets,” and “why does he get to walk around with one puzzle piece in his hand for 10 minutes while the rest of us are sifting through boxes of mismatched toys?” and that’s just me, you should hear what they say!
They are often surprisingly quick about it, too. One minute it is a mess to end all messes, and then it’s practically sparkling. Are they magic? No, they are not. What they are is aware. Aware that it’s not all that often that we will actually come and peek into the toy boxes to see what they’ve put into them.
Let’s just say that the word “toy” in “toy boxes” is used very, very loosely by them.
A partial list of things found in “toy” boxes today:
* pencils, pens, erasers, markers.
* Fimo and clay, unwrapped, and (in one case) seemingly carefully crumbled.
* kleenexes, or “tissues” as our non-brand conscious youngest child prefers to call them.
* hairbrushes and hairbands
* shoes. yes, shoes, not dress-up shoes, but actual “I wear these outside” shoes.
* masking tape, paintbrushes, and socks.
I do not understand this. I mean, I understand the impulse to just heave everything into a box and shove it onto a shelf, who doesn’t get that? But to do so, knowing that your parents (well, one of them…well, me) are going to lose their minds over this disgusting habit? Why?
I blame this child. He IS the eldest, after all, and he taught the younger ones everything they know about stashing trash. And look at that face? That is the face of a master of deception…
As I was surveying some of the damage, I sighed and said “let’s just throw it all out and start over.” Max agreed. Clara interjected to claim that that particular piece from a wooden model that had broken years before was something she really, really simply must keep. Of course, this applies to everything anyone ever wants to dispose of in the history of ever. Solomon did not comment. He’s heard it all before.
It was all a re-reminder, for me, of the necessity of taking things one bit at a time. I was so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of messiness (once we’d removed things from their boxes) it really did feel like it would make sense to just turf everything. I am not going to do that, though, nor am I about to take on the task of cleaning up for them, in spite of their reluctance to actually continue with the order I periodically impose on things.
Yes, it looks amazing. Do not judge a toy room by its outward appearance. They may have stuffed an apple core and your income tax returns in there somewhere. Nothing is impossible, and I can’t watch them ALL of the time.
I have an evil plan.
For today, we did a lot, but not everything. We cleared out most of the actual garbage and things that belonged elsewhere, but the toys have not been sorted. My evil plan is to let the children do the sorting. This is definitely the hardest, most frustrating part of having a lot of stuff. Hence, one of my reasons for starting 5 Down. Less junk = less stuff to sort and organize! My plan of letting the kids do this organizing on their own has a couple of ulterior motives:
1. To make it really, really clear why excessive stuff is such an enormous pain in the nether regions and
2. To, I hope, have them come up with a system that makes sense to them, since my systems never seem to work.*
So I guess, in reality, my kids are only better than your kids at faking being good at cleaning up. Or maybe your kids do this trick, too.
Also, they’re good at building giant Lego robots:
My favourite part is the eyes (yep, they’re LegoMan heads). I have been informed that this was Solomon’s idea. “Eye”dea?
Not to veer wildly off topic, here, but I think I should also give a little shout-out to Mike, who prompted the whole “let’s get this toy space cleaned up” by removing the Guinea Pig tower (we have only had 1 piggy for well over a year now, but the structure remained. Junior has been relocated to a more accessible spot, as you can see in the background).
Yes, it does kind of look like Junior’s new digs are sprouting out of Mike’s head…
Day 109 Scorecard: 545 down, 1,280 to go
* also to avoid me being committed.