Before I became a parent, I often wrinkled my nose in distaste at the messy, crowded, toy-infested living spaces of friends with children. “Surely their little brats don’t need SO MANY toys”, I’d think disdainfully. And just think about how spoiled they must be! Wanting for nothing and begging for everything.
And for the first few months after I had Ryder, for the most part, I kept my promise to keep him grateful and humble. We purchased only a few toys; a mixture of educational and silly, large and small, in a variety of textures. Ryder truly began to appreciate the intricate makings of each toy, which can only come from playing with it over and over. I held my head high and felt slightly superior to other parents who lavished products at will – which I deemed as vulgar and even detrimental.
Of course, then I started my little ol’ blog, and toys – just begging to be reviewed – were dropped off on my doorstep. And before I knew it, my house was overtaken with products. Big toys. Small toys. Cars, blocks and playsets. Toys as far as the eye could see!
And my sweet, humble little boy – now joined by his equally sweet, innocent younger brother… turned into spoiled little monsters.
“It’s a TOY for me!” Ryder declares every time the doorbell rings.
He quite likes the FedEx guy.
Come to think of it, he’s got a thing for Purolator, Canada Post and UPS too.
Even all those local delivery services, arriving in unmarked cars (mostly Honda Civics).
Depositing brand new, shiny, must-have items.
(More often than not, they’re actually not toy deliveries, but the damage is kind of done. They’re brats.)
They play and play and play, discarding items after just a few minutes and sometimes never going back to them again. They don’t feel the need to be gentle with toys; secure with the knowledge that there’s an unending supply that will satisfy every whim and fancy. They turn up their noses at products declared favourites only yesterday. In short, they are behaving like privileged children who are lavished with gifts – and I’ve been ignoring my own messy, crowded, toy-infested living space.
And so, I’ve decided to take back my boys. And take away their toys.
This weekend, we’ll be packing up close to 75% of the boys’ loot, sorting them into “Keep”, “Donate”, “Throw Away” and “Hand Down” bins. (Thankfully, Superstore had a sale on large, plastic storage bins a couple of weeks ago. I went crazy and bought six, but now I’ll put them to good use!)
And then, from the “Keep” bin, I plan to re-introduce the toys over the next year… say two per month. I’ll be sending some toys to Grandma’s, so that they have something “new” to play with when they visit. And I’ll be stashing some in Ryder and Reid’s closet, to be brought out when they’re super good or super bored – or when I need a few moments to myself. In short, I want them to experience the Joy of Learning: the pure pleasure that comes from really appreciating everything about a toy, and the discovery, creativity and imagination that comes with it.
Take that brats!
This month, Ryder and Reid will become re-acquainted with the Fisher-Price Sodor Search & Rescue Center pictured below, in addition to a handle of picture books that Reid has discarded for the instant gratification that is YouTube. Ahem – not on my watch! Have fun boys!
Tell me: Do your children have too many toys?
I am part of the Fisher-Price Play Panel and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.