I have a subscription to Parenting magazine. (Or should I say the subscription has me? I ended up on their mailing list through no direct action of my own. I wouldn’t pay money for this magazine, that’s for sure!) I usually skim through the articles, dissing many of them, and then hand the magazine over to Lyd for her to do with as she will. But I found this article, entitled Going Zen, in the most recent issue, and I really felt a connection to what the author was saying. I completely agree with the author when she states:
There was a time when I believed that life with children would be simpler, that we could limit the amount of stuff we would accumulate to a handful of cunning and education wooden toys.
And I laughed out loud in understanding when I read:
There was a time when, each night, after Coby was tucked up into his crib, my husband and I [although in our household it was just me] would painstakingly pile rings upon rings, pair small wooden pegs with large wooden boxes, match like with like. Presumably we did all this only so that if by chance we were robbed in the night, the burglar would be able to play with complete sets of educational toys.
I struggle with the mess of toys in our house every day. Lyd currently has an obsession with crayons; the different colors have personalities, and she makes up stories with them All. Over. The House. She has a similar love affair with bubble wands. And wooden stringing beads. And pillows. And blankets. These things end up all around the house. However, it is the toys with pieces, the toys in sets, that get to me, and those are the toys I want to see put away neatly, all together, thank you very much.
But, that’s just not how Lyd plays with them. She gives these various pieces lives all their own, lives I would never have imagined. And I am so excited to witness her creativity, to witness her processing the events of her own life through her play. When I feel like I am butting my head against a wall, as I try to encourage her to share, to listen to me, to consider the feelings of others, it is gratifying to see her acting out those very virtues with her “dolls,” as strange as those dolls may be.
But we still need to work on picking up after ourselves. I just have to learn to not be so obsessive about everything going in the right place, and just be glad when she puts it away in a momma-approved toy space.
This reminds me of my Theme for 2008: Things don’t have to be perfect to be effective. (Thank you, Mister Rogers, for that quote.)