Well, I still think it was a good idea but it ended in disaster, of course. I attempted to bag things up but the ingenuity and relentless energy of 3 little boys defeated me. By the end of the day I had, for all my efforts, only made a small dent on the chaos of the dining room. The boys had been busy elsewhere…. While I toiled away in one room they had been doing what they do best in every other room of the house and the results were not pretty.
Once I had stopped crying and Rob had administered the hot tea and chocolate therapy customary on these occasions, we sat down to think out what our options were. We scooped up the worst of the debris in the dining room, but it didn’t really get clear until about 5 minutes before our guests arrived on Easter Saturday. But these things we now know:
As fast as I can put ‘stuff’ away back where it belongs, our boys can pull it out faster. Much faster and more of it.
We just have too much ‘stuff’ and too many toys in particular.
Clearing up and putting away (not to make a Martha Stewart worthy house but just to make a house that is SAFE to live in) is taking up far too much time – time that we could be spending on much, much more enjoyable, fun things.
Not clearing it up isn’t an option either (though for a moment I fondly hoped it might be). It is taking a toll on my mental health and frustrating the boys no end. It is very difficult to play in chaos – even if it is your own proud creation.
We have to do something radical (but obvious - no rocket science here).
The answer is to purge and that is what we will do. We have explained to the boys that over the next few weeks we will be ruthlessly culling their toys. Ruthlessly. Without pity. Well, we didn’t tell them that. But here is the kicker. We also told them that WE would be the ones to decide what stays and what goes. I know that it is supposed to be good to involve ones children in decisions like this but trust me, it would not be good here and we know this from experience.
To my surprise they took it very calmly. Their only request (plaintive plea) was that we keep the train set and the Brio construction kit, to which we could readily agree. I am hoping that they are, in their hearts, relieved that they will have more space and opportunity to play and that they are glad not to have to be making the decisions themselves over what to keep (I would rather like it myself).
Or maybe they just don’t believe us.