Some of our family came to visit the other day. Our 3 year old nephew walked straight into the lounge and exclaimed loudly and squeakily “What a mess, Auntie Phyllis!”. I have to admit, he had a point. He’s wise beyond his years that boy. I embarrassedly shooed him out onto the balcony where I discovered various shards of plastic toys, that my darling Phillip had “not quite got round to” removing after our son’s friend had come round and helped our son smash the place up. I started to wonder if our home would pass an inspection by a social worker and if we were fit to be parents at all. I removed the fag from our son’s mouth (don’t worry, it was just an e-cigarette), chucked the broken bits of plastic into the bin and poured myself a cup of gin.
I faintly heard our nephew exclaim several more times that the place was a real mess and his mother, keen not to offend, shushing him. Our son obviously heard this and was not in complete agreement. He thought it necessary to tip anything that wasn’t all over the floor already, all over the floor. He did a really good job. The flat felt smaller than ever and walking through the lounge required people to do special dance moves. Even by our low standards this was pretty unbearable. Suddenly all adults (guests included) jumped up out of their seats and were frantically tidying into boxes, grabbing toys and running upstairs with them.
You see, I thought we had it all under control, we had limited how many toys our son had downstairs and the rest were upstairs in his room. The problem was that he had not really bought into this arrangement and by stealth had somehow managed to gradually move more and more of his toys downstairs. Although the stuff was in his room, a lot of it on shelves he can’t reach, he could still see them and seeing something means he “NEEDS” it.
The following day I tried to have a sort through of his toys, pointed in the opposite direction and said “look! a cat!”. While he was distracted, I quickly chucked something into a box. Every now and again, however, he would catch me out, scream and cry and grab some treasure straight back out of the box again. Hmm.. I needed a plan b. I thought about putting a David Cameron mask on and telling him afterwards that the bad man that’s going to privatise the hospitals and sell off social housing was also stealing his toys, but I didn’t have a mask to hand.
While he was sat on the potty at bedtime “doing a poo AND a wee mummy, the poo is coming out of my bum!” (coming out of his bum, my err… arse, he just sits on the potty to delay going to bed). I quickly shoved a whole load of the toys in his room into boxes and plonked them up on the shelves. Guess what? He never even noticed that they were gone- despite the room looking pretty bare afterwards. He was happy enough with the mini etch-a-sketch, the pair of baby’s shoes and the bouncy ball that he had been carrying around with him all day.
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