Simplifying, Decluttering and Personalities

Back before Little Man was born, I received the book Simplicity Parenting. It really made since. I aim to keep us home at least 3 or 4 days a week, we’ve aimed to keep toys to a minimum. We aim to sandwich A days with C days.

Then, one day Hubby says that there are just too many toys out. Its too much to clean up, he says. I had to agree. So, I removed several toys that weren’t played with all that much. Put about 1/4 of the duplo blocks into a basket that was put back out; the other 3/4 were put away. The next day, Little Man hardly noticed, but he did play quietly by himself for a while.

A few days later, I read a blog post about a mom who, in response to seeing her daughter’s discontent, put away *all* the daughters’ toys. As in, every single toy. All the dress up clothes, all the toy food, all the puzzles. It took two weeks to adjust, but then the girls started playing happily together. ┬áThen they reached the day when the girls would ask for a toy (such as dress up clothes) that would keep them happy all day.

I was inspired. We’d been trying to teach Little Man to play on his own for months; nothing too intense, just setting him up with something and leaving. Or making suggestions of what he could do. I hoped that it was just a ‘someday’ skill, he is only 2. But I figured this was worth the try.

I cleared out another 1/2 of the toys. Most of the toys left out fit on a small 3 foot bookshelf. The books fit in a basket. There are other random toys around, and he’s acquired a few more ‘toys’, like an empty roll of tape. I didn’t clear out all the toys, because he isn’t old enough to ask for particular toys. Here’s what’s out:

Most of the toys. This is the 3 ft bookshelf.

Most of the toys. This is the 3 ft bookshelf.

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I use a wire trashcan to hold the various balls and a beanbag. If nothing else, it makes a natural target for throwing.

I use a wire trashcan to hold the various balls and a beanbag. If nothing else, it makes a natural target for throwing.

The remainder of the toys that got put away are up in our closet. The books are on a shelf in our bedroom. I figure I’ll trade a few things out every now and then, especially if I see something that isn’t played with all that much.

This doesn’t include outside toys, those are just a different category.

Result: One morning, he pulled out his car and truck and played with them, quietly and on his own for nearly 2 hours. I think he was watching the wheels as he rolled the vehicles over various surfaces. Another morning, at the local children’s museum, he played, quite intently, with toy trains for nearly an hour. And this has continued. He has spent 30 minutes studying the water as it flows ‘down hill’ as he poured it with a cup from the swimming pool (not that we have hills in our yard, but there is enough of a slope in places for the water to flow down).

Last weekend, at my nephew’s 1 year birthday part, at one point I realize that Little Man isn’t out playing any more. I look around and find him back in the bedroom with toy trains, playing quietly on the bed. I realized that Little Man is more like me than I’d assumed. Yes, he likes interaction, but he likes the one-on-one interaction. Big groups seem to wonk him out. And with slimming down his choices about toys, he seems to find it easier to focus on one thing.

And its all way easier and faster to clean up.

 

Celebrating the everyday

Getting the labels off books, using a just-the-right-size piece of wet paper towel.

Figuring out my baby clothes storage system. For now, I’ve settled on two boxes — 1 for 0-12 month clothes and 1 for 12 to 24 month clothes.

Making ice cream in my new, Christmas gifted, ice cream maker. Thanks, Dad and L! I’m on a ice cream making kick these days. I’ve even figured out, yes, already, a recipe that we like better than the one in the book that comes with the maker. More on these adventures later.

And taking pictures with the new, Christmas gifted, camera. Thanks, Mom and Dad – in-law! It even has a “food” setting, which is so totally cool.

And Peanut enjoying all the new-to-him board books from his cousins. We are now loaded with books. And Peanut has started actually looking at the books, not just chewing on them. He got several new toys for Christmas, and some hand-me-down toys, and as soon as I get the shelves in his room cleared off, toy rotation starts. Just too many to keep in the living room.

Peanut loves to pick things up to eat. Most recently, he’s started on goldfish. Mamma loves goldfish, too. He’s learning to use signs to ask for “milk” and “more”. I think he’s generalized “milk” to be “eat”, as he uses it in the high chair also. No, I”m not worried about it, but its funny to think about. Truly, nursing is the eating he knows!