Monday, November 17, 2014

De-cluttering with a second grader, and other oxymorons

I don't know what came over me yesterday. Maybe it was the cold that kept me at home all morning. Maybe the extra 30 minutes of sleep gave me vaulting ambition. But whatever combination of well-intentioned but woefully delusional forces contributed to the lunacy, I decided to get Seconda to de-clutter. I told her we were going to go through her toys and edit. We were going to downsize. When none of these euphemisms rang any bells, I told her we were going to give away some of her toys.

"NO!" she shrieked, "I need them."

"You couldn't possibly need all of them," I said. "Let's just take a look and see."

I started with her stuffed animals. In fact, I started and ended there because it took over an hour and by the time we were done, all my ambition was used up and I was dying to flee the apartment, no matter how cold the temperature.

Seconda's a stuffed animal person. They just never did it for Primo, but they hit that sweet spot for Seconda. They are the only kind of toys she ever really wants and she wants them, passionately, desperately. She carries a stuffed animal with her wherever she goes, including in her backpack at school, and grocery shopping and swimming and playdates and airplanes and EVERYWHERE.

She currently has three good-sized Ikea boxes full of stuffed animals and lately, there's been overflow. I'm not getting any more boxes to house any more stuffed creatures. So some of them have to go, I told her.

But which?

I held up a white Beanie Boo of the feline persuasion.

"Not Bianca! She's the only Italian cat I have!"

"Can't any of them be Italian?" I ask.

She didn't even dignify that inquiry with a response.

I held up a filthy brown cat we got at a toy swap five years ago, It was old and filthy even then and being carried around constantly and left in a burger joint in New Jersey for two weeks didn't not make it any less worn.

"Mom! That's Siamesey! It's the only Siamese cat I have!"

Incorrect, actually. I held up another Siamese cat as proof, but she just replied that THAT was a long haired Siamese and the other was SHORT HAIRED. Duh.

"What about this?" I asked, holding up one of at least four white fluffy non-named cats with no particular ethnic origin or sentimental backstory.

"But you gave me that!" she protested.

"But I gave ALL of these to you!" I protested back.

We couldn't give away the ones from her grandparents, or the ones won at the festival, or the ones her friends gave her for her birthday. We couldn't even give away the one she found in a giveaway box on the street.

"I just found that one!"

"Two months ago! And you haven't even played with it once!"

In the end, she OKed the release of one Beanie Boo penguin who she had covered in duct tape before learning the lesson that duct tape never comes off plush animals, ever. Who would want such an animal, I don't know. He looks like a penguin POW. It's pretty disturbing.

So, the fall cleaning was not a success. Except that my daughter's reconnected with all her beloveds. And I've learned that next time, I'll have to de-clutter when she's not looking.