Thoughts While Putting Away My Children’s Toys

I recently read Maura Quint’s “The Entirety of My Thoughts As I Eat My Son’s Mac and Cheese Dinner,” cleaned my children’s bedrooms and closet-size playroom, and was then inspired to write this:

Didn’t 4 year olds work in fields 150 years ago? Probably not. That actually sounds awful. But still, mine should at least be capable of putting Chutes and Ladders back in its box, right?

I hate Chutes and Ladders.

They have too many toys. I should donate half of them. Most of them. All but three of them.

Why are there candy wrappers stuffed in the Lego bin?

I am not their maid. A maid would be so nice. And a laundress. And a chef. And a personal trainer. Definitely a personal trainer.

I wonder how many calories I’m burning shoving stuff in bins. I should get one of those Fitbits. Or actually go to the Y. They can play with toys in Child Watch. Toys I don’t have to deal with. I wonder if I can find a place to hide and read in the Y while they play in Child Watch.

Another capless marker, wasted. That’s it. No more markers. Ever.

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD THEM TO PUT THE CAPS BACK ON THEIR GLUE STICKS? No more glue sticks. Ever.

Huh. A Barbie shoe. I thought surely I had vacuumed all those up by now.

Why are there 76 pieces of paper with one line drawn on each of them?

I’m going to have to hide these in the recycling bin to avoid the apocalypse that will surely happen if they find out I’ve recycled their one-line masterpieces.

Maybe my children are hoarders. Maybe there’s a mental issue here. I should email the pediatrician.

I will never allow their rooms to get this messy again. Maybe I should try the Saturday Box. Or the Marble Jar. Or the Popsicle Stick Jar. Or the Reward Chart. I should check Pinterest.

Or maybe I just get rid of it all. I mean, seriously, they’re downstairs playing with empty boxes. Empty. Boxes.

Isn’t it monks who find joy in everyday tasks? I don’t think monks have children, though. They’ve never had to deal with 8,000 .$97 Matchbox cars. Or Rainbow Loom bands. Or Perler Beads. I hate Perler Beads.

I wonder what my friends are doing at work. I bet they’re wearing heels. I bet they had a salad with some kind of candied nut on it for lunch. I bet, after a meeting, everyone picks up their papers and pens and tablets and coffee mugs and puts them away, without any reminders or timers or let’s-see-how-fast-we-can-get-this-done games.

All these crayons are broken and worn down to little nubs. They really need some new crayons. I should get some the next time I’m at the store. And markers. And glue sticks.

At least we’re out of the finger paint stage. Those were some colossal messes.

Gosh, I miss those finger paint pictures on the fridge. Why do they have to grow up so fast?

[SILENT CURSING. A LOT OF IT.] I will not miss the Legos on my bare feet. I don’t care how crazy creative they get with their creations I will not miss those pain-inducing little pieces of plastic.

Why do people even buy Legos anymore? It’s not like they break. Or get old. Where are all the Legos people have been building with since, when were Legos invented, the 70s?

Probably in the trash. Probably parents stepping on them and throwing them, one by one, in the trash.

I actually love that they got Legos for Christmas. They play with them for so long. So much silence for such long periods of time. I should send the Lego company a thank-you note.

Our house cannot handle any more toys. Can I tell people not to buy toys? Is that rude? Is that too minimalist? Is that too Grinch-like? My children do not need any more toys.

We should become minimalists.

Well, minimalists with a few toys. Five each.

But then there’s March. I hate March. How many toys will it take to entertain them indoors in March?

I need more bins.

“And this mess is so big
And so deep and so tall,
We cannot pick it up.
There is no way at all!” —Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat