Note: This column appears in the 12/2 issue of The Glendale Star and the 12/3 issue of the Peoria Times
We live in a modest home. It’s a considerable upgrade, however, from where we lived in New Jersey, which was a two-bedroom condo.
There was more storage than we had stuff when we moved in. This was great, as everything could be packed neatly away. As the years progressed, and we acquired more and more stuff, and my wife maintained her refusal to dispose of the stuff we already had, that extra space dwindled. Now, we have a child.
There is no more space. In fact, the walls are closing in. There is a trampoline in our dining room. Next to my side of the bed rests a multi-colored jumper thingee that our daughter no longer uses, which has a plastic sun on it that sarcastically smiles at me each morning as if to say, “Still here!” At the foot of our bed rests a plastic dinosaur castle. It has compartments for the dinosaur egg balls it came with—obviously—but now our daughter uses those compartments for other things, like my cell phone.
It has become an ongoing battle between my wife and I, which I am losing, as to why we keep acquiring so many things. Of course I want our daughter to have toys, it just seems that most of these toys interest her only upon their arrival, and then she moves on to other things. Were it up to me, we’d have a house full of only battery-less remote controls, which I could easily store away each night.
Last weekend we went to pick up a kitchen play set that was offered to us by a friend who was moving. I thought it was going to be one of those cheap, plastic Fisher Price toys, but it most certainly was not. Were it not downsized, I would prefer to it to our actual kitchen. I needed a screwdriver to dismantle it. It barely fit into the back of my car, and on our way home I openly wondered where we’d put it. “Don’t worry,” my wife said. “We’ll find a spot.”
That spot is now in our living room, next to the TV. It used to be the spot where our dog rested on his bed, but he has since, to his chagrin, been displaced.
As I was lamenting what new plastic wonders Christmas would bring, it suddenly dawned on me—why am I hung up about this?
For some reason, I have always fashioned our living quarters as, ideally, being ready for company. But 97-percent of the time it’s just us. When family is visiting, or when friends are over, it doesn’t even matter. Who cares? It’s not like we’re hosting wine and cheese parties. Although if we were, it would be fun to rest the caviar on the dinosaur castle.
For the time being, our daughter loves her new kitchen. Sometimes, we will drag the trampoline into the living room, because the best thing to do after cooking a fake pizza is to jump around on a trampoline.
I also realized that the best way to get her to play with the toys is to play with them myself. Now I’m the one scattering toys around. Apparently, she’s getting a wiffleball swing set for Christmas. I can’t wait.