Wednesday, February 27, 2008
The Devil in the Toy Chest
In case you were wondering about the long silence on this blog, I apologize. Things got a little hectic. First there was Stake Conference = Break from Nursery, Hurray! Then I came down with the flu. Then I got in a car accident. Nothing serious, but it was thoroughly unpleasant. This string of bad luck has me thinking of all the stories about temple attendance. You know, how everything in the world will rise up to stop you. It has felt like everything in the world has risen up between me and my one, tiny, righteous desire to clean out the nursery toy cabinet.
I have spent weeks looking forward to this Tuesday. It was the day appointed to sort clean and organize the jumbled, mangled, and disfigured mass of toys inhabiting our toy cupboard. Sunday after Sunday the kids pull out every single piece of junk, throw it on the floor, step on it, trip on it, and smash it in order to find the three or four decent toys that all 12 kids want to play with. I was SO ready to get rid of the germy junk.
But after swells of nausea and the car collision, I was not in the mood to wade through infested mounds of plastic. With the assistance of my angelic friend who came along to help, I went anyway. It was a pretty good time. There is some sweet satisfaction in throwing out some of the toys that have haunted me. We ended up with four very large trash bags of junk. (I'm sorry great North Pacific Gyre--that's the oceanic vortex where plastic trash ends up) I wanted to bring my camera to document a few of my favorites but forgot. Here's a description of a few of the highlights:
Child sized baby doll: This thing might actually have survived the cut because baby dolls are so loved by the kids, but I hate it. I'm fairly certain it was used as a CPR dummy before becoming a "toy." It's just about as large as the kids, has on a pair of raggedy cut off shorts that are way way too small for it, and has these suspiciously hideous scratch marks on it's scalp. The really terrible thing about this toy is when seen out of the corner of my eye, lying prostrate on the ground, I have mistaken it for a crumpled child and rushed over to "save" it. Sadly, I have made this mistake more than half a dozen times.
Second most hated doll: She has hair the color of red jolly ranchers and neon blue eyes, a kind of neon blue that can look into your soul and fill it with a feeling of florescent doom. I would be fine if I could keep my distance from her, but one very kind little girl in my class always tries to get me to hold her. I do not know why. It's started giving me bad dreams.
Over a hundred magnets: I love magnets, but for some reason we had a huge bag of them--each a little smaller than a marble. PERFECT choking hazard. Is someone trying to kill these kids?
Every ugly figurine ever given out in happy meals in the last forty years. Some are fine; most made no sense. I liked the purple and yellow green octopus. Didn't like the Polly Pocket whose hair had all been pulled out.
There were a lot of really wonderful others but it's hard to remember them all. Still, by the end of the night we had made a lot more room, organized the toys, and wiped everything down with disinfectant. I think play time and clean up will be a lot more fun.
We do have a few really wonderful toys that are staples. They are:
Large wooden puzzles with pieces large enough for the kids to handle.
Very large hard plastic car and truck. These are just big enough that the kids try to sit and ride on them. It doesn't really work but the kids love them.
Balls. The kids love balls.
A toy kitchen. Great for fun and fights. Three kids always try to play with it at once, it's so much fun.
The baby dolls. No matter how ugly, they are cherished.
The baby stroller. The kids love filling it up with anything they can find and wheeling it around.
Fisher Price Cash register. I played with this thing when I was a kid so it warms my heart to see it still in action.
I have a little money in the budget to make a few responsible purchases. Any suggestions for toys for 1-3 year olds?