...my child sold your honor student the answers to the test...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Invasion of the Toy Snatchers

Xavier is a rabid pack rat. It doesn't matter if it's a piece of twisted paper, an old McDonalds toy or something expensive, whether it's in good shape or pitifully broken, if it's something he actually plays with or not. If he feels it is his he will not let it go quietly. He comes by it naturally though. While J and I are not even close to pack rat status, after pondering this dilemma we realized that both of our moms are Pack Rats with a capitol P. Maybe these things skip a generation?

Being a Pack Rat is not always a bad thing, but when it comes to de-cluttering the house it creates the perfect storm for an all out tantrum of epic proportions. And these epic tantrums happen at least once a year around the holidays when I have enough of the clutter and begin to clear up in preparation for Christmas toys entering our household. Normally I try and do this decluttering when he is away at school to save us both from butting heads. He cant see it and wont know what happened, while I can toss in peace. This year I was able to get the downstair toys done while he was still in school, but this year he got out of school too early so I was unable to get to the heart of his hoarde, his room, before it was too late. Fortunately this year, I had a partner in crime.

This past weekend while the two older boys were off playing/beating each other up, I noticed J in the boys bedroom picking up. Normally we have our kids pick up their room each weekend as is their chore. I wandered in perplexed as to what he was doing, breaking the Adult Conspiracy and enabling the kids to get away with not doing their chore. When I queried his response was that if he was in charge of cleaning up the room this weekend he could actually reduce the amount of toys in the room without the kids realizing. Once that sunk in I realized how utterly devious and ingenious this plan of his was! And I joined him in his diabolical scheme.

Casually I sauntered downstairs, trying to not make eye contact with the local natives and grabbed some trash bags. I crumpled them up into a wad, carefully ensuring the red of the tie was not visible, and walked up the stairs to their room. Once in safety I grabbed one from the wad and went to town. I started on Ashes toy box first just in case Xavier decided to pop in unannounced and wonder what we Parents were up to. He did come in a few times but was so busy in his own world of play that it didn't register on him as to why his mom and dad were in his room cleaning it for him. Ahhh, the ignorance of children! Once in awhile his eye spied a toy of his in the trash and he would start to cause a commotion, but we would quickly tell him it was broken and to go GO play! Be free and enjoy your little childhood games! In awe of this, he did, and we were once again left alone to toss in peace, a grin on our faces.

It was such a wonderful feeling, to have a partner in this endeavor. While I know it has to be done, there is always a part of me that feels a certain amount of guilt in tossing items that are not "mine" because I was a kid once too. I remember how much I cherished certain items and would have been devastated if my mom came in and trashed a favorite toy of mine that may not have looked like much in the eyes of an adult. But at the same time, Xavier takes his hoarding to a whole new level and I know he doesn't play with 90% of his belongings, let alone remembers that they are there until he sees them in the trash bag. But to have J there took my guilt away because it wasn't only me making the ultimate decision. It made me realize that I wasn't being an evil mom when I underwent this chore. Just a mom.

And so it went for about an hour, until we had 4 trash bags filled with broken clutter and toys. Only a few halfhearted whines did the Peanut Gallery elicit, but they were not lasting. And when it was time for bed no one mentioned the lack of toys in the room, nor the insane amount of trash bags J surreptitiously moved outside to avoid further commotion. It was like those toys never existed. Which is not really a bad thing in the end

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