Thought of the Day

Sometimes I wonder how many hours of my life have been spent searching for a missing toy in this house. I mean, out of the seemingly endless amount of trains, toy animals, balls, and general CRAP we have strewn throughout various containers it always amazes me that the one thing Truman wants is the one mysterious toy that hides from me. And mocks me. And makes me want to pack up every single toy in this house and donate it all to Goodwill. For real. A needle in a haystack, if you will. And I'd like to consider my haystack fairly organized and 'controlled', but that darn needle keeps slipping into the depths of darkness.

Let me explain: my kids aren't (totally) spoiled rotten or anything, but they do have the typical middle-class American home that includes a ridiculous amount of kid paraphernalia. Ridiculous. We have boxes and bins that are supposed to conceal said toys. We have a freaking playroom that is supposed to house them all, too. But of course, the toys get scattered throughout our home almost always landing directly in the walking path of bare feet (i.e. legos and trains can nearly pierce the skin if you aren't careful, trust me). So yeah, we have a lot of toys despite my bi-annual C.O.T.C episodes (Cleaning Out the Toy Crap).

Tonight Truman could not find his beloved monkey, which is not a toy and is nearly a member of our family. So my heart was not quite as hardened at this point. We had Truman look for monkey by himself, like we always do when he 'loses' something. Because usually he is the one who knows where something is hiding. We don't step in and assist with the toy-hunt until he has truly exhausted most of his options. This usually works and I figured he would find monkey in no time.

However, after Truman, Nate and I searched for monkey for seriously 30 minutes or more I became increasingly irritated. How does one lose a lovey that is practically attached at his hip? We checked garbage cans (Cecelia??), the oven, under pillows, toy boxes, the toilet (Cecelia??), my work bag, etc. Eventually I found the monk-ster, hiding in the deepest, darkest crevasse that is our basement. Whatever. But then? Truman informs me that there is something else missing: a tiny red bouncy ball that he simply must have immediately.

I glanced around the family room, toys strewn about like usual. I peeked under the couch and then tapped out, saying, 'I'm sorry buddy, mommy can't look for anything else tonight. Be happy we found monkey and let's worry about the (blasted) ball tomorrow.' He didn't throw a mega-fit or anything because I think my tirade about how we have too many toys in this house during the monkey-search made him realize that mommy is about to lose it with his stuff.

Obviously, this is a first world problem. We are blessed beyond belief and having too many toys is hardly something to complain about when there are so many without these luxuries. I promise this rant doesn't mean I'm totally delusional and self-centered. But still, maybe I need to up the ante of my bi-annual C.O.T.C. to be monthly or something. I'm sure the kids would not miss half of the stuff I boxed up. I do actually have a few boxes of older toys stored in the attic and planned to 'rotate' out the older stuff for newer stuff but haven't done that since last Christmas. Which, of course, will be another time that will overwhelm me with STUFF. I sent out an email to our family this year suggesting that we all try a new and fun idea this Christmas: one gift a piece, and nothing expensive. Simplify. Enjoy the time together without worrying about buying a bunch of silly gifts. Remember the real meaning of Christmas. Novel idea, I know.

Of course, I think this idea will go over well for us adults but for Truman? The kid is becoming toy-obsessed and would probably hate us for eternity if he 'only' got one toy to open this year. Not really, I'm sure he would live, but I have a feeling we might break the 'one gift only' rule for him. Which only perpetuates the problem with the toy-takover of my home, so it's ironic that I'm whining now. Huh.

Anyway, I wonder if someone could keep track of the amount of time we spend looking for a missing toy. Would it be more or less time than we actually spend playing with that toy? Food for thought. I'm one toy-hunt away from doing a major purge. I'll probably forget about this by tomorrow, but it's nice to consider right now.

So ends my thought of the day on toys and needles in haystacks.


  1. I am currently in the process of losing my freaking mind as we sort through our endless amounts if crap in preparation of our move and can totally relate to this. We are leaving behind about 75% of our toys and the kids seriously will not even notice. I've always purged regularly, but I had to be cut throat for our move and it has been LIBERATING. I cannot wait to get to Africa and get settled into our very simplified life with minimal crap/toys. Hallelujah.

  2. Ahhh, yes. Never is the abundance of toys more annoying than just before Christmas. I just did a big purge and also put a bunch in storage for rotation as well. I really do try to tone it down each Christmas, but I am sort of guilty of enjoying spoiling my children with STUFF. Stuff they certainly don't need. But I just really do love watching their little faces light up with excitement when they open their gifts! I do believe that life with too many toys in the house is a "season" though. Before we know it they will be asking for iPads and the coolest clothes, etc… So rather than feel guilty about perpetuating this superficial aspect of Christmas, I'm going to choose to enjoy it for now! Of course I'll still complain that they have too much stuff after the holidays though, haha ;)

  3. My boys both have lovies and I've recently implemented that they are not allowed to leave their room in order to avoid this from happening. On most days before this, the lovie wouldn't be "missing" until nap time, which caused the frantic running around for the lovie and delaying what should be a relaxing start to the nap. It still happens sometimes but not as often as usual. Good Luck!

  4. Ugh yes all the STUFF. With the increase in space, I don't feel nearly as overwhelmed with it as I did before, but it still just bugs me irrationally that all the crap just gets thrown around and not actually played with. I am still kind of excited about the opportunity to actually get the kids bigger toys now that we have the space (a dollhouse for Annie, namely). Thankfully my kids' "lovies" are attached to their bodies so I don't have to search for them ever ;)

  5. I agree so much. I have been wanting to get rid of everything. SO MUCH STUFF. There is a huge pile to donate and the bigger it gets the more I want to get rid of.

  6. We are trying the WANT, NEED, WEAR, READ rule this year, to avoid adding to the bajillion toys that we have. The WANT is obviously going to be a toy he can't live without, NEED is something practical, but still new to them and fun to open, WEAR is obvious, and READ doesn't necessarily have to be a book, but something educational. That along with some random stocking stuffers and I think the kiddos will be happy. We realize that as our oldest nears 4 years old that we are setting a precedence as to what future Christmases should hold as far as gifts go. AND we know grandparents will still spoil them and they will not go without this holiday season.

  7. Ohhhh, the STUFF. I am overwhelmed by it, especially in our not-so-large house. Every time I decide to purge, though, I can hardly find anything that I want to do away with, since the boys really do play with a lot of it! I need to get better about rotating toys every few months.

    For Christmas, I'm sort of with Mama Tully here - I so ENJOY getting the boys things I know they'll love, and it's part of the magic of Christmas watching them open up their gifts. I've decided for the gifts from us, I'm going to get them each one bigger thing and then get them smaller, inexpensive things after that - since at this age, it really is about quantity over quality! They just enjoy opening them!

    It sure isn't easy finding that balance between wanting to make your kids happy and get them the things they want (or that you want to see them have!) and raising kids are not greedy or selfish or spoiled.


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