Category Archives: HELP!!

The Problem With Toys

As is the case with 99% of families I know, we have a serious problem at our house.

Mason has TOO MANY TOYS.

Seriously, we never intended it to be like this – our house looks like a toy store exploded and picking up every night takes longer than one DVRed sitcom. Grandma buys him a new toy EVERY SINGLE WEEK (and yes, we’ve talked to her again and again). It’s like they’re multiplying while we sleep. The dog and husband are ALWAYS tripping over toys (me, I look where I walk) and this insanity needs to end.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how kids who have fewer toys tend to use their imaginations more, play longer with the same items (instead of bouncing from toy to toy), struggle less with picking up when they’re done playing, and take better care of their stuff. Don’t those all sound like a much better alternative to buying a third toybox?

Well it just so happens that the huge fall consignment sale is in a few weeks. Perfect timing, right?! I went into this with big plans to purge purge purge.

Only, I’m coming up blank.

Yes, Mason still has toys that he is way too old for. I’m looking at you, ball popper and ride-on zebra. Except, he plays with these things ALLLL the time. He sobbed and cried for two hours when I tried to give away the ball popper a few months ago. I can’t see selling something he’s so attached to.

ballpopper

He has 6 fire trucks. No kid needs 6 fire trucks, he only has two hands for pete’s sake! Well, he makes fire truck fleets. They work together and put out fires and pull the bus out of the ditch. Every fire truck has a job. So no go with the fire trucks.

firetruck

Okay, so he has like 15 monster trucks. Again, two hands, 15 trucks…. Well, he lines them all up and they jump over one another, crash into each other, different days he plays with different trucks. And he knows which ones he has, so I don’t think I could sneak some away.

I have a HUGE bag of  MegaBlocks that I got at Goodwill for a killer deal. He wasn’t too interested in them the last time we had them out (which was at least 7 months ago – my fault) and I feel like these are a no brainer to get rid of. Only, what if this winter he’s ALL ABOUT building stuff with blocks and I end up having to spend $40 on something I use to have in the basement and only paid $8 for. I feel like I’m saving money by hanging on to these.

We do the toy rotation thing. Things go in the basement and new toys come up. A lot of the stuff (like his toy kitchen) he asks for again and again. Obviously, the toy kitchen shouldn’t go anywhere, even though it’s been in the basement for a month. But what about the stuff he doesn’t ask about? Well, when he goes to the basement and sees those toys, he’s like a kid on Christmas – super excited to see his truck/tractor/toy that has been off rotation and begs to bring it upstairs.

So how the heck do I eliminate toys? What do I sell? I realize he’s three and I’m the boss, but the soft-hearted mom in me doesn’t want to get rid of stuff that would make him cry if it was gone. The thrifty person inside of me doesn’t want to get rid of stuff that I might want to re-buy down the line. I really don’t feel like he has any toys that he’s not interested in, but since he has SO MANY TOYS that doesn’t seem possible, does it?

How do you decide what stays and what goes? Is there an age where you say “You shouldn’t play with X anymore?” How do you convince people to STOP BUYING YOUR KID stuff? How many toys is too many? Do you rotate toys? How do you decide if a toy is “unused” and when it’s time to get rid of it? I would LOVE people’s feedback on this issue!

That Time We Ruined Story Time….

As many of you know, I’ve struggled since day one finding stuff Mason and I can do together as most “Mommy and Me” activities take place between 10 am and 1 pm during the week and I work 8-5 every day, and I work most Saturday mornings as well. There are very few activities that take place after 5, on Saturday afternoons, or on Sundays in my area.

Which is why I was THRILLED when my library started offering “Bedtime Story Time” every few months last year – basically an event where they read themed books and do a little activity with all the kids in their pajamas – the event starts at 7 pm and the idea is that you can take your kids home and go to be right afterward.

The first even went attended was Christmas of last year. It went great and we had a lot of fun and Mason sat and listened to the stories in total awe The next event went well too, but had pretty poor attendance – I think there were just three kids and three moms there that time. I kept bugging the library (I’m in there several times a week) to try one last time and I promised I would get them more attendees and they agreed to host a “Halloween Story Time”  and invited kids to come in either in costume or in their pajamas.

I spent lots of time begging friends to come, advertising on Facebook, etc, and I was excited when three other kids from daycare showed up, as well as one of Mason’s friends, and a few other kids who we didn’t know. The kids were adorable in their costumes and it had all the makings of a great night.

Mason even agreed to pose with a little girl he had never met and they were ADORABLE together.

Unfortunately, Mason was WAY too excited to be surrounded by kids he knew instead of by all strangers. After about 5 minutes, he declared his costume to be too hot and stripped it off. Which caused two other kids to try to undress too, regardless of if, like Mason, they were wearing anything under their costumes. Oops. Next, Mason and his bff from school started talking loudly about their costumes and wrestling over A’s “pirate’s gold.” We put the “gold away” and then Mason wanted to hide behind the book shelves. Then he wanted to jump on the pillows. Then he wanted to touch the jack-o-lantern. Any attempt I made at getting Mason to sit and listen to the stories was met with screams, kicking, and tears. It was typical toddler behavior, BUT since the other kids were all trying to listen to the story and my kid was basically out of control, it was pretty horrifying.

Soon I just let him do his thing (which involved playing quietly with toys about 20 feet away form the story group) since he was being both quiet and still. Except two of his friends really wanted to join him. Next thing you knew, we had toddlers/preschoolers running all over the library and you couldn’t even hear the librarian over the shrieks.

To make a long story short(er), the ended up cutting story time short by two stories and Mason never did settle down. The night ended with me dragging him home after he refused to stop jumping off of a couch. Yeah, mom of the year….

The next day, I e-mailed the librarians the pictures I had taken (per their request) and apologized for Mason’s behavior and mentioned that in hindsight I should have left when he started acting obnoxious instead of letting him inadvertently encourage all of his little friends run and play. I just was at a total loss at what to do – we NEVER get to attend events like that and I didn’t know when we’d have another chance (it wasn’t like “Well, we’ll go home tonight and try again next week” was an option) and going home would have meant the fun was over for Mason and ME too since I was excited to spend some time with the other moms. I explained in my e-mail that I saw that Mason and I needed to spend some time visiting the library when all of his friends WEREN’T there so I could remind him that libraries are for quiet and reading and NOT jumping off benches and playing chase and reiterated how sorry I was for turning the evening into a rodeo.

The librarians never wrote me back and to make matters worse, when they announced the next Bedtime Story Time a few weeks before Christmas… “Ages Three and Up Only Please”

I was totally horrified and felt awkward going into the library for the next several weeks. I don’t know if we’ll brave another story time after he turns three – since it’s not like he’s going to magically act better just because of a date on the calendar. I’m kind of at a loss here – I can drag him out of Walmart screaming because I know I can go back to Wal-mart the next day or next week, but what happens with stuff like this that there may not be any “second chances” anytime soon? Would he even remember “4 months ago, you were bad so we had to leave, so don’t do it again?” UGH. Why do simple things get so complicated?!

So, what would you do? What should I have done?