I long for the one-year-old toys that used to clutter my floor. They were chunky, brightly colored, covered in drool, and usually ended up all over the house, but they could easily be collected into a toy box at night. A quick walk through the room, and ta-da! the floor was clean.
I remember feeling a bit of annoyance along with pride as my kids started to crawl and then walk. As they became more adept at movement, the toys traveled with them farther and farther from the designated bins, corners, or rooms. Of course, that is nothing compared to now. At the ages of four and five, my children have so many toys with so many little pieces, it is nearly impossible to keep them contained or organized. Currently, these are the main culprits in my house:
LEGOS: I used to keep them high on a shelf, but then my son started climbing and dragging chairs around, so that became pointless. Now, I leave them where he can reach them, and they end up EVERYWHERE.
He likes to make tiny dinosaur body parts and then feels a need to display them like fossils in a museum. They rest on the kitchen counter, the bathroom sink, or my nightstand. There they must remain. As much as I try to make him clean up the stray pieces when he is done creating his masterpieces, there are always a few stragglers blending into the carpet of colorful, swirly flowers. And, they hurt. They really, really hurt when you step on them.
SHOPKINS: I don’t even want to write about this. I can’t believe they are even in my house. These are the most pointless, small toys ever, so of course my daughter is obsessed. It was cute when we had four of them. She kept track of her precious figures (Lipsy, Pamela Pancake, Cheese Louise, and Waffle Sue), and they mainly stayed in their little baskets. However, for her birthday, a whole new supply of Shopkins arrived, and they now have become part of the daily landscape of my house.
She is currently obsessed with YouTube clips that show people opening plastic eggs or blind bags filled with tiny, plastic toys. (If you don’t know what these are, simply search ‘egg surprise’ on YouTube and be amazed by the ridiculousness of it all!)
Shopkins are by far her favorite ones to open when she can talk me into buying her a blind bag, but some of her other favorites to watch are : My Little Pony, Paw Patrol, Palace Pets, and anything Disney. Watching these video clips, of course, creates wild, uncontrollable fits of temper in the aisles of Target when she demands that I purchase her these blind bags.
She has now learned to imitate these video clips to perfection. She spends her days tucking small toys into socks, envelopes, or leftover plastic Easter eggs. Then, she hides them around the house, so she can unwrap them, narrate what she is doing, and pretend to be surprised by what’s inside. I am equally amused and concerned when she does this.
DINOSAURS: My son is obsessed with dinosaurs and received a big bin of plastic dinosaurs for Christmas (Thanks, Dad!). These dinosaurs like to hang out in his sister’s dollhouse, between sofa cushions, on the kitchen counter, or on the bathroom floor. Their migratory patterns are far and wide. Occasionally, he will create certain formations (Carnivores to the right! Herbivores to the left!) that remain in crooked lines down the center of his room for days. I am impressed with his scientific reasoning, but do not enjoy stepping on the clubbed tail of an ankylosaurus every time I walk into his room.
He also likes to create “Dinosaur Stores” – a game in which he successfully messes up two rooms of the house at once. This game basically consists of him displaying every dinosaur toy or book he owns. He places them on each piece of furniture in the living room, and then spreads out a deck of playing cards throughout the dining room; the cards are meant to be used as money to purchase the dinosaur books and toys. I am not allowed to move anything in the dinosaur store all day until my husband comes home from work to “shop.”
PALACE PETS: The figures themselves aren’t that bad, but all of the accessories! Each little pet comes with little combs and brushes and crowns. How in the world does anyone keep track of these? I find them under tables, in my car, and in my bed.
I mentioned something about this to one of the grandmothers at pre-school drop off a few weeks ago. Her advice: “That’s when you need to vacuum.” She mimicked the motion of vacuuming and went on, “Oops! There go the accessories!” Yes to this. Grandmothers are so smart. I was all worried about trying to keep Princess Tianna’s cat Lilly happy with her miniscule hair brush and cucumber facemask. Not needed.
I try to fight it. I label bins, find bags, implement some sort of cleaning up rule. At first, we are good about making sure each small toy and piece is returned to the correct spot. But then one day, my daughter will feel a need to fill a purse with one shoe of each one of her dolls or my son will arrange fifty plastic army guys into a figure eight and that’s the end of that.
What other little toys bother you? What is your least favorite toy in your house?