So a couple of posts ago I alluded to the unscheduled-but-entirely-imperative winnowing of Brilliant Beauty's room. I still don't have the energy to poetically or prosaically tell the story of why or how (ummm, isn't that part of what this blog is for). Once again, it is sufficient to put it simply: "Needless to say, there was plenty of opposition". The gal had too much stuff (not a ton too much, but too much to manage even by eight-year-old standards - too many garments, too many scraps of paper, too many shoes, too much dress-up stuff, etc.), couldn't keep it straight, and repeatedly lost the latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates to her floor. No one should have to suit up for extended deep sea diving just to find the surface of their carpet.
I am most happy to report that the winnowing SO helped, and the little cutie has happily and capably kept the room tidied all week. Once again, everything has a place so she can't give me the "But Mo-o-om, I don't know where it GO-oes!" crapola. Today she tidied again so I can take pictures of the cutie's new-and-improved crib. I'll post those tomorrow.
Today...ah, today...it ended up being Little Big Man's turn. In a stark contrast to Brilliant Beauty's scenario, he definitely had a ton too much stuff.
But here's the cycle in which we have found ourselves. Not only are toys strewn, but they are also abandoned in their location, wherever that may be, and forsaken for some other toy. The "new" toy isn't played with for long when it, too, is left wanting for it's owner. This goes on all day where his toybox toys are concerned. Lots that catches the eye, but nothing that holds his interest. It's tooooo much. Sensory overload. And I believe there's a level of agitation, in him even, with so many choices of things to play with.
One of the supremely coolest things about parenting (in my humble opinion) is watching all the developments take place in these little eternal souls, including the development of their interests. I'm not talking about the flash-in-the-pan interest like "Oh, I sooo want that toy that's advertised every 3.62 minutes on the Dizzyney Channel so that I can play with it, figure out it's not even as fun as watching the commercial, and toss it aside" kind of interest. I'm talking about who they are becoming, what they like doing. So far, my little guy (and his sister before him) are steady and firm in the things he likes most - ANYTHING that has to do with instruments (especially drums), Georgia Bulldog football (with all other sports a close runner-up), reading books, playing outside, and playing with cars. Now obviously he will gladly do other things, play with other stuff, but when this toy abandonment scenario plays out its usually because of one of these five things.
Here's a little of what we've done right:
-We've always read to the kids. That's a big deal to us. Ma Luffin' Mayun has the patience of Job when it comes to reading book after book, and if given the chance, they would do just that for hours. That's pretty cool (especially coming from a mama who dearly loves the written word). Admittedly, it can get old reading kid books when you're an adult, but it doesn't get old to them, so we try not to squelch it.
-We've given them room within limits to find out the things that not only pique their interest but hold it. For Brilliant Beauty it is dancing and reading and singing and playing restaurant and dressing-up while playing teacher/mommy/"famous"/widow/orphan (read: being melodramatic...oh the teen years to come...please God, let her melodrama be several notches down from my teenage angst!). She does and tries all kinds of things, but these are the things she comes back to, her default. We are watching Little Big Man for the cues to tell us his favorites and strengths (and potential weaknesses) much the same.
-We have always held the position that a lot of toys is far from ideal in how we want the kids to grow up.* In no way do we want the kids to feel neglected or impoverished, but when it comes to material stuff, the things that pass like a vapor, I can live with it if they are left with a certain healthy measure of wanting. I would give them the deepest desires of their hearts if I were capable, but I am not, and this life does not (and should not) work in such a way that we get all we want. And as they, we, get older there is something pretty awesome about discovering the happiness and joy and peace that comes from "doing without".
*The same goes with clothing
Now, here's where we've fallen down, blown it, thus leading to these two near-emergency winnowing projects:
-We have let toys accumulate far too much.
-Instead of weeding through the toys, we bought a bigger toybox for Little Big Man's room. That was a bad idea. Besides being too tall for him (if you didn't know, there is a strong emphasis on the word "Little" in his name), he skims only through about the top third of what is in the box. He has no idea what is down at the bottom. Heck, before today neither did I.
-Clothing that doesn't fit (outgrown or can't yet fit) has been left to pile up anywhere it can instead of being rightly dealt with (given away, packed up for the next season). I will say again that we have been blessed beyond measure with clothes for the us-es. It is amazing and humbling and almost unbelievable. But I have to stay on top of what comes in and KEEP IT MOVING. Remember, we live in 1,154 square feet. There is not the space, time, or energy for little mountains of stuff everywhere.
So I stepped in my little fella's room today and new it needed straightening (as does his two-year-old ATT-IT-TUDE of the last several days...Jesus, take the wheel...), but the thought of cleaning it without winnowing it first felt ridiculous. And, I assure you, it would have been. Keeping his key interests at heart, I did a pretty ruthless purge of his posessions. Boy, did it feel great. And it looks pretty awesome, too. I didn't take "before" pictures (oy, do I wish I had. Bad, blogger, BAD!), but here are the "afters":
You know me and my caddywompus angled shots. Here's his room from the door (it's a little blurry).
This is from another corner of his room. His books are now on a bookshelf. Before they were in a little red bin that was not really big enough to store them properly. That glowing craziness on top of the bookshelf is his "faux" fish tank. EtothaRtothaItothaCUH, do you remember making the artwork on the wall above the shelves?
Here is his closet. When I started today, I couldn't see the floor of the closet and it was stacked deep and high (about 4 feet) full of crib bedding, clothing and shoes that don't fit, and big, bulky toys. It was a nightmare.
Here is the closet now. All of his toys are right here. ALL OF THEM! His shoes are to the right, and FYI...that's a dress being saved for Pretty Baby hanging there, not for him.
Here's the view from his window, now with the footstool to the rocker there to serve as a little window seat (and don't forget the sippy cup with Bulldog koozie).
And another shot from the window. He likes this spot. He climbed up on the stool and reported back to me everything he saw. I asked him if he saw any birds and he replied, "Nope. I'm sorry, Mom. I don't."
Here's the top of his dresser. This is one of my favorite spots because it has a pull toy my Daddio got from Ukraine, and also it has the three Hollyblocks (as they are known around here) via my friend Hollyster. Besides being ultra cute and fun and soft and cuddly, these blocks have an awesome, supernatural story. She and I didn't talk about the theme of his room, and I didn't know she was making these. They were in a delivered box on my doorsteps shortly after he was born. They may have been the thing that saved me that day. Seriously. I love them so much. I think of you every time I look at them, Holl.
Here's some evidence that God cares about the small intricacies we care about. Look how the blocks match the quilt.
The bed (duh). This is another favorite - the bed came from TheWorld'sGreatestNeighbor, and the artwork above it is pictures from nature that make up the alphabet and first ten numbers via Rach. Love it (but it looks like I need to straighten it tomorrow...).
I also had to winnow down which peeps could sleep in the bed with him. He would prefer all of his stuffed animals, but I narrowed it down to Nemo and The Street kids . . . and a football (hey, this is not the hill I want to die on, you know what I'm saying?).
Now, in addition to two 30-gallon trash bags of clothing that he can't wear anymore, this is what we got rid of. It makes my head spin just to think this was all in his room...
Don't be hatin', the pink car was Brilliant Beauty's, and now will be Pretty Baby's. We got Little Big Man a more, ahem, masculine ride.
Here are the girls, simply agog at the stuff, and that it ever all fit in the boy's room (I'm agog at the stains in the carpet...wood flooring someday, someday).
Now how did it get to be 11:55 PM? AGAIN? This can't be the new norm. Get to bed!
Thanks for reading. Happy sifting!