Friday, May 21, 2010

Pick Up Your Toys or I'll Throw Them in the Garbage!

Hands up.  How many of you recall your parents threatening you with throwing your toys in the garbage? 

Now, how many of you have actually said that to your own children despite the vows that you would never, ever would?   Quite a few of you, I am hoping.  Because my hand is up and it's waving high. 

One thing I have learned about parenting is that you need to be consistent.  I believe that both K and I have worked very hard on this.  Still, I am sure a passive observer, like the Supernanny, would probably still find areas where we cave that we just don't realize it.  After all, if K and I were the extremely consistent parents that we thought we were, why do our kids ignore our requests until we get to the shouting stage? 

I have tried my best to live by the adage:  Say what you mean, do what you say.  If I threaten to throw something in the garbage, I better be prepared to follow through with it.  This thought has often given me pause in my dealings with the kdis and that's a good thing.  If they aren't listening, am I prepared to follow through and not take them to Nana's that afternoon? Probably not, so I better think of something just as effective that I am prepared to follow through with. 

Still despite all of these efforts, I let the mess and the frustration of them throwing their things around get to me to the point that I hauled off 80% of their toys to the garage sale pile.  Remember my earlier post about Aunt Irma?  While I think this must have been a bona fide post Aunt Irma rage.  Cause I just hucked the crap down the stairs and then had to wade through the mess at the bottom to haul it off to the garage.  This all happened after about two hours of trying to get them to clean up.  I swore I wasn't going to do it because usually if I start to help them they just start slacking and playing while I do it all.  I just get so tired of the whole vicious cycle. 

Did the kids care?  Not really.  They just stood and watched their crazy mother throw toys down the stairs.  Later while I was hauling it out to the garage, I would catch them trying to sneak down the stairs and steal a toy or two back.  Yet, when I asked them if they were sad mommy was taking their toys away, they said no.

This completely flummoxed me since they had been complaining earlier this month about having to get rid of some of the more babyish toys. Still I guess I shouldn't be surprised because while they seemd to cling to their possessions, it seems they rarely play with any of it except to dump it out on the floor. 

To. Drive. Me. CRAZY.

What I have realized is that I need to tune into my kids' playing style.  While they may think they want a particular toy they see, really their interest only lasts for a week or so before they've outplayed it.  So what I need to do is break it down to what the kids seem to like to do and do consistently.  (Besides watching t.v.)

  • They love to play outside. 
  • They love to play with water and get dirty. 
  • They love to craft. 
  • They love to build things.
  • They love to sing, dance and dress up.
Are you seeing a pattern here? 

None of those things really involve toys except in a way that a toy can enhance that play.  Such as O racing his hot wheel through a muddy dirty pile or J using the plastic Dora to float in a boat in the water table. 

OMG we could have saved SOOOOO much money and SOOOO many headaches if only we had realized this sooner. 


So while I totally regret the episode in that my anger and frustrations got the best of me, I do not regret the self assessment and re-evaluation of the situation that ensued. 

I also don't regret how clean their play area looks and still looks two days later. 

Am I a completely mean mommy?  What is the one mean mommy incident that you regret?


*photo is mine from our previous house*

7 comments:

  1. If you do some digging on my blog, you'll find where I made that same threat this past winter. Sad part is, Bean's room is almost as bad as it was then.

    It . never . ends.


    On a side note, my word verification is "hilker." Is that someone who milks cows while hiking?

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  2. We've done it...the toys didn't go to the garbage, but to the Salvation Army bin, and you know what? they never missed them. The stuff they really love, they take care of.

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  3. I've threatened it, but the boys believed me. I have them stop and pick up twice a day, but I think I need to get them to pick up after they finish playing with them because I'm so tired of nagging for a half hour to get them to clean. Ugh.

    My mean mommy moment was when I slapped Evan across the face when he spat in my face. I felt horrible. It was a reaction instead of discipline. Though now that I think about it, he never did it again.

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  4. I've done that. I really didn't want to carry through with it, since there were some REALLY nice new toys in the bag. So I tucked the toys away for about 2 months and slowly brought out 1 or 2 toys at a time.

    It stuck with my son (who was 4 at the time) so when I threaten the kids now with the garbage thing, BOTH the kids reaction is insane. Even though Mackenzie has yet to experience it, she knows that if Braden makes a big deal out of it, it MUST mean something drastic!

    I'm not looking forward to the day they test me. Because then I'll HAVE to get rid of the toys for good!

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  5. You are absolutely not a mean mommy! And, they really do care even if they say they don't. So true about what they really play with too!

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  6. I have threatened the same thing, and followed through on it. Now, the kids know that if I say to clean up the playroom, they had better listen because they don't want me to clean it up. It's a hard lesson for them to learn, but it certainly didn't traumatize them!

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  7. I threaten all the time and then I never seem to follow through. My kids know it, too, so I really need to get on the bandwagon and be more consistent and follow through.

    My kids are the same way with toys...they play with something new for maybe a few days and then it gets cast into a huge pile that usually ends up sporadically thrown on the floor somewhere.

    I think once school is out I'm gonna sit down with the kids and get rid of some toys and get organized!

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