Sunday, July 21, 2013

Time Capsule: Toyland

**This was post was written April 22, but won't be posted until we're letting the world know of our machinations**

8 suitcases. That's it. 8. It's what Joy and the kids will live on for the next 8 months until I can bring another load from Nigeria at Christmas time.

As we roughly sketched out what would go in each bag, we said the kids would get one suitcase for their toys.


Three months ago, to bring some order to too-messy rooms, Joy collected all the kids' toys and packed them into 4 suitcases. We opened one at a time, occasionally replacing all the toys with those from another suitcase. So we knew exactly how many toys we had:

3 times too many.

What goes? What stays? How could we choose? I asked Superstar that question on Saturday and he said, "Let's do it Monday." Do what? I didn't know, but he had a schedule to keep apparently.

So Monday, Joy absconded with every toy they had - again. They had nothing to play with all day. That evening I locked the kids in Princess' bedroom for a few minutes. We pulled out all four suitcases and spread the toys out attractively.

I came back in to the kids and asked if they wanted to go to Toyland.
"What's Toyland, Dad?" asks the Superstar.
Toyland is a magical place that has ALL your toys and puzzles. You can play with anything you want. Decide on what your favorite toys are, then put them in a carry-on bag. Each of you gets one carry on bag. Fill them up. If you want to bring something else after that, you need to trade for something else in the bag to make room.

Then with a cheer and 1, 2, 3, I turned them loose. They RAN into the family room to behold a great Christmas-like sight. They rejoiced. They jumped. They cheered. They rediscovered forgotten toys. They filled their bags fairly quickly. Oddly enough, they filled their bag with the other child's toys mostly. We had to explain to Superstar that he was not claiming and keeping her toys, nor she stealing his. All these toys would go home and all would be available for both of them.

Right at bedtime, both carry-ons were full and we rushed the children back out of Toyland so we could have the smallest measure of reverence for prayers.

Then Mommy and I sat down to take inventory and do some overriding. Who else is going to be paternalistic if not the paternal units? We were rather surprised at a number of their choices. What? Neither of you is bringing a Smurf? We have had fights over Smurfs for days. Princess can't be separated from a Smurf or she weeps.... Then Joy and I saved a couple of our favorite toys to add to the pile and fit all of them into one suitcase. One.
Now that we're here, I'll add: and they still don't play with most of them! Maybe we'll leave most of their toys in Nigeria. No sense bringing back the also-rans when the winners aren't loved. The books are far more loved. I'll bring back them instead.