Are you one of those parents that secretly sneaks toys away from your child while they are sleeping.? You know, the half broken Hot Wheels ramp that is 4 years old and your child never plays with.? Or the crusty old teddy bear that hasn’t been looked at in years.? Maybe that board book you read every. single. night and he’s moved on to bigger and better things, like the Harry Potter series.? You whisk away the toys in the hopes of lessening the pain of the plastic overlords.
I once thought I was that kind of parent.? I could just clean out the old toys and he’d never notice.? My plan worked well for me… until I realized that my kid actually plays with all of his toys and he actually misses them if I take them away.
My child has taken stock of every last toy and toy bit that he owns and knows if something is missing.? That firetruck book that his aunt bought him a month after he came home.? I tried to take it away one day at nap time and a few days later he came asking for it.? It has moved its way back into the bedtime story rotation.
The Hot Wheels car garage that was a gift from my dad was inadvertently taken to the trusty in-laws and left there.? The boy found a bit to it and said that he needed to take the bit to Grammy & Papa’s so it could be with the garage.? (At least he didn’t want the garage back here)
This afternoon I am sitting at my desk and he says, “Mom, can I have my flushing potty book?”? This is a book that we purchased over a year and a half ago when we were potty training.? It has a button that makes potty flushing noises.? It is quite irritating.
“Where is the book,” I asked.
“In the garage.”
“No, I’m not going out to the garage to get the book.? You can have any of your other noise making books.”
Satisfied (or so I thought), he went on his way to play with something else.? I sat down to write this post and that was going to be the end of it, but 2 seconds ago this was the conversation I just had with my child.”
Boy: “But, I don’t know what the potty sounds like.”
Me: (contemplating just flushing the toilet to avert a crisis) “yes you do, you just went to the bathroom”
Boy: “But I want the flushing potty book”
Me: “I’m not going out into the cold and dark garage to dig a book out of a box that is burried under a bunch of stuff.”
Boy: “But I want the boooook!”
Me: “I said no.”
Boy: “But you could just turn on the light.”
Me: “I said no.”
Boy: “But you could just put your sweater on.”
Me: “I said no.”
Boy: “But AHHHHHHH WAAAAN THE BOOOOOOOOK!”
Needless to say, he’s not getting the book.? And it’s not just my pride at this point.? It’s the fact that a) the book is burried in the garage b) it is fricken freezing out there and c) it is a distinct possibility that the book is still in the house and I just don’t want to look for it and dammit, I bought him dired beans this afternoon to keep him occupied and that only worked for 15 minutes.
It’s amazing how they do that. I swear they remember where things went. I tried to sneak away some stuffed animals that they never seemed to play with. Then, a few months later, they ask for them. Specifically. With the correct location they were last. And all of the sudden the now-at-Goodwill toys were the most specialist thing ever. Gah.
This would be the reason why I couldn’t donate any stuffed animals to the neighbor girl the other day. The kids play with them all the time, not every day, but often enough that I couldn’t sneak one away even if I tried. Hence the animals stay for a while longer.
You should have seen the fit when I handed of the youngest two’s TOO SMALL coats to friends’ kids. Sigh.
Tell him it needs to go to Ethan to help him potty train 🙂 maybe it will work, maybe not. The book will disappear none the less and NO I don’t want it at my house, unless its magic and will help Ethan potty train.
Does it help if he chooses which toys go to a new home? A home that doesn’t have toys for little boys (this line works well with Quin)?
Another trick that works for me is that Quin has to go look for his book/toy/special item without me first. If he makes an honest effort, I’ll get up and help him after about 5 minutes. If he just wanders away, glances in his room (or the family room or at the bookcase), I tell him he needs to LOOK for the item, not just wander around, and that I’ll help him if he hasn’t found it after he tries to do it on his own. (Yes, I’ll give suggestions like “did you look under your bed? what about behind the couch?”) Most of the time he finds the item, and is very proud of himself for finding it all by himself. I will admit I’ve sent him searching for a toy I know perfectly well has been taken away for some reason, and that he’ll never find it. Then we look together, and the time looking allows me to come up with a reason as to why we can’t find it (E and I hate the Elmo phone, and its home is usually someplace high and out of sight. It will come down for a couple of days if either child sees it, then it’s “lost” again. It’s currently in the give-away box, and is not coming out again.) I figure this also teaches him the skill of finding objects and taking better care of them. I also take the oppurtunity to remind him that if toys are put away when he’s done playing with them, they’re easier to find later. This lesson, however, has not sunk in yet. Then again, it hasn’t sunk into E’s head either, and he’s 35.
Poor Mommy. Can you use this power of his for good? Can he memorize your grocery list for you or something?