Life in General

Shopping for toys the smart way…

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For a moment I forget that this is baby number 9, not my first born.

See, I love the car-toy-playing-seat the second I see it; it is so perfect. Closed in on four sides and enough knobs to keep a baby sitting and busy, it was just so cute. 

But then I remember. I have other children at home. This is not my first.

I take a deep breath and allow reality to take over.

The joy would last 10 seconds, 12 if I’m lucky. My 2 year old would squeeze his way into the little seat, right on top of my 10 month old. My 4 year old would try to join in. My 5 year old would take matters into his own hands and try to remove the whole piece of equipment. My 8 year old would probably take up the disciplining and successfully lift the car station over the kids heads and walk off with it. Everyone will come tumbling down and there will sit my 10 month old, on the rug, with nothing to play with. And the car toy will disappear into someone’s room indefinitely and be upgraded to some high powered supersonic gadget.

Right. So no, I will not buy this toy.

When it’s your 9th, you shop differently. Sometimes it feels like your smarter than everyone and sometimes it feels like you’re the party pooper, because you know what the toy really promises.

But I love this particular consignment sale. It’s twice a year and it’s huge and has every toy and baby object imagineable.

I continue with my browsing. I’m determined to buy at least one thing.

Race tracks. Train tracks.

Anything that can be turned into a dagger, sword or gun is black listed.

That eliminates ALOT of stuff.

And besides, so much of the stuff I see for sale are things we’ve already owned, used, broken and gotten rid of.

But I do admit, I like stuff.

I am not a minimalist.

Don’t tell Marie Kondo, but I keep stuff even if it doesn’t spark joy inside of me.

I keep it if I know it sparks joy in someone else in my house. I keep things for many different reasons. Some are nostalgic, some are functional, and some are just because.

The opposite of a minimalist is not hoarder. It’s just plain normal people.

I enjoy the process of buying and bringing home good stuff. And most importantly, the difference between a hoarder and plain normal, is knowing when something needs to be tossed.

I’m being prudent in my choosing, but I do want to bring something home.

Then comes the pink. And more pink. And dolls. And dolls. And dollhouses. All the things I love but don’t have time to play with.

And all the things my 13 year old daughter doesn’t play with either.

I browse just so I can touch it all and continue on my quest.

I am a seasoned mommy. I will not be fooled by noisy toys that don’t have an off switch.

By toys with a gazillion pieces.

By toys that won’t fit into any bin or shelf.

By toys that will not withstand the use of multiple children.

By toys that can’t be used without adult assistance.

My years of experience have taught me serious lessons. Years of lost sleep but gained knowledge.

Then I spot it. It’s a one piece, self contained, no additional pieces, easy-to-fold-and-unfold racetrack.

It is perfect.

It is approved by a seasoned mom.

It makes a lot of noise.

I locate the battery department – and confirm it’ll be a quick fix.

I pay for it and leave with a big smile on my face and a sense of accomplishment. My kids will be so happy and so will I.

And they are happy. The younger ones love it. I’m cooking in the kitchen watching out of the corner of my eye, once again complimenting myself on such a good choice.

And then I see it. They’re playing with it. It’s folded up. Tight and secure. And…it makes a good stool. To reach everything sitting safely on the higher bookshelves. And it even has an easy carry handle.

A stool. This toy also functions as a stool. A stool that can be used to find all the things that are stowed out of reach of little hands.

Oh, the sweet taste of humble pie.

Because how can I forget. Motherhood is a game with moving parts and pieces. Knowledge, age and experience doesn’t mean you’ve outsmarted it. Truly outsmarting it is realizing that it’s a work in progress, always. And winning means enjoying the ride – even when you’re tasting humble pie.

 

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