As we prepare for the coming of the fat man in red next week, I started to look around my house with the eyes of a parent suddenly conscious of the fact that there’s about to be a whole lot more stuff scattered about. Don’t get me wrong: I regularly go through toys and clothes and purge, with the overwhelming majority of it being donated. Some days I look around Felix’s play school and I think half the toys there once lived at my house. It used to be hard, the purging. I guess it was that nostalgic parent bit whereby you realize your kids are getting older and that sweet innocent babyness is gone. But then my natural desire for neatness and disdain for über-clutter won out. It’s much easier now. Most of the time.
My kids are both kind of odd, I think. Neither of them has ever played with toys the way many more typical (“normal?”) kids do. Stella has never really gotten into dolls and Barbies the way other girls are. She’s played with them a little, but doesn’t invent narratives or stories with dialogue for them. She’ll do costume changes and that’s about it. Some of that may be lingering semantic-pragmatic language stuff. Who knows? She is more into computers and iDevices. That’s ok. She’s barrelling toward honor roll and seems like a generally happy little girl, so I don’t sweat it.
Felix has always been interesting in his interactions with the world. I’ve written oodles of posts about him Preciousing stuff over the years. What’s more, while a Precious may not be Precious all the time, it’s still in the category of Precious so it must stay visible. Every night he has to find a “something” to take to bed with him. The “somethings” then get piled on the shelf next to his bed. Last night it was a fishing swivel. This means his entire world is full of random assorted bits and pieces. He has bins of Precious bits as far as the eye can see. And holy merde, y’all. Santa is about to bring a whole lot more bits.
With all this in mind, I was determined to purge some bits and organize the Preciouses. First off, I sent a Facebook shout out to parents at his school to see if anyone wanted the giant bear I bought him and thought he would love but didn’t. It was not, in fact, Precious. I have found a new home for Sir Bear, so at least this adorable brand new never-played-with bear has a shot to be Precious to someone.
I was kind of ruthless. I purged and discarded a full box of random crap, including bits and pieces his father had given him after visiting the “take apart store” (this means Goodwill, where Will will occasionally take Felix to buy an old piece of mechanical something and then take it apart to look at its innards). We’re talking wires with ends missing, screws and bolts, zip ties, cable ends. I put all the Legos in the Lego bin with the exception of some of his more interesting “machines” of gears and wheels which went in a bin of their own. I ended up with tons more space for him to actually play with his Preciouses and, using a taxonomy of my own device, 4 bins of organized bits (gear machines, Monkey Max bits, assorted cars and action figures, and a car part container).
I did have one other container for truly special stuff – a small tackle box. In it went marbles, coins, a shell or two, teeny tiny gears, teeny tiny tape measures, tiny jar of tiny beads, a magnet stick, a chunk of pyrite…. It was all the “somethings” from his nightstand and under the living room couch that he Preciouses above most else. And while I was purging, I found a Precious blast from the past – Teeny Tiny Sandwich.
Y’all, my instinct was to throw Teeny Tiny Sandwich away. It hasn’t been a Precious or a “something” in ages. I just couldn’t. It went in the tackle box.
It doesn’t take up that much room, does it?