By Ashleigh Wilkening of Bless this Beautiful Mess
I’m done with the crap. I’m done with the overflowing bins of toys collecting dust. I’m done tripping over cars and blocks on a daily basis. I’m done finding dinosaurs in the laundry hamper and plastic farm animals in my bed. I’m done.
When I look around my house, I’m surrounded by colorful, loud, annoying junk that hardly ever gets played with or used. How many cars can a kid have before it’s enough? I’ll tell you. The number doesn’t exist.
I can’t remember the last time my boys’ excitement lasted long enough to keep their interest in a toy for more than a day or two before being disregarded with the other misfits.
Sometimes a lucky few will make a comeback for a brief, repeat shining moment. Even then, it’s soon forgotten and again resumes its place in taking up precious space in my already cramped house.
When my boys do decide to play with their toys, it’s rarely with its original intended use. Usually they’re better served as fighting instruments. I didn’t know the different ways you could manipulate things to be a sword until I had my boys. It’s actually quite impressive.
My boys would rather play with a turkey baster or a chip clip than their numerous ‘choo choos’ or blocks. Non-toy items are much more entertaining than the crap I spend money on, categorized as ‘toys’.
For the last few days my youngest has grown attached to a bar soap container. Yes, you read that right. A bar soap container. It goes with us everywhere and even accompanies him during naps and nighttime. This purple plastic contraption meant to hold a person’s bar soap is his favorite thing in the world – not the countless toys scattered throughout the house, yard, and car.
My other toddler has recently focused his interest on kitchen gadgets. Our spoon rest and matching trivet are now his best friends. Their loud teal color and silicone material only add to their appeal. Maybe instead of the toy aisles, we should be frequenting garage sales to find their next favorite accessory.
I can’t hide my excitement over the idea that there are no holidays, birthdays or other gift-giving occasions in the near future. The last birthday gift we received was a small, green dinosaur that roared. Only a few months old, it looks like it’s been to hell and back. The damaged sound box sounds more like a dying cat than any prehistoric animal. It’s missing a leg and hasn’t been touched in months. What a waste. The box it came in saw more action than this poor, miserable velociraptor.
Besides my children being more interested in household items than the latest and greatest trinket on the market, my kids are explorers. They are free spirits, wanting to be outside, playing in the yard, looking for bugs. My kids are the ones you hear riding their bikes on the driveway at 7 a.m. on the weekend while you are trying to sleep. They enjoy walks, finding sticks and rocks while playing in the dirt and chasing squirrels. None of these require the assistance of toys.
I had an ‘aha’ moment the other day that really validated my feelings on this subject. After requesting, asking and begging my boys to clean up their toys for the umpteenth time, I threatened to throw them away. To really hit the point home, I tossed a couple in the garbage can to show I really meant business. This backfired on me in so many ways.
Not only did they not care, they were amused. They proceeded to help me throw away their toys. They refuse to pick them up and put them away in a designated location, but they willingly will pick them up and throw them away to never be seen again. I learned two lessons that day: toddlers don’t make a lick of sense and they have no attachments to these damn toys.
I’m often reminded how truly oblivious and unaware they are to the amount of toys they possess when a toy they’ve long forgotten about re-surfaces. The same toy that has been lying there for weeks or months completely ignored, suddenly found its way to the top of a junk pile. What happens next? In addition to my boys fighting over who gets to play with it, it’s treated as if it’s just been brought home from the store. WTF? Maybe I can save some money and re-package some of these abandoned toys as birthday and Christmas gifts.
I’m vowing to not buy another toy for the foreseeable future. I may encounter a tantrum or two when leaving the store sans toy, but I don’t care. These ‘things’ are not important. Experiences and making memories are important. I’m shifting emphasis in hopes of bringing simplicity into our lives and encouraging finding fun in our everyday. If nothing else, I’ll be happy with reducing the amount of junk traveling into our home like an uninvited house guest who’s overstayed its welcome.
This post was originally published on Bless this Beautiful Mess.
About the Author
Ashleigh Wilkening is a SAHM of three children under the age of four who spends most of her days on a never-ending quest for a lost toy. She is a lover of caffeine, naps and a generously poured glass of cabernet. On the rare occasion she gets free time, she contemplates taking a nap in the family van, but finds herself exercising as it’s a more legitimate excuse to escape the house. She writes at Bless This Beautiful Mess and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.
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