Can we start a movement to eliminate all toys with small pieces? I am talking about Lego's, Mr. Potato Head, Tangoes, Thomas the Train, 5000 different race cars, kid tool kits, etc. If you have daughters, add Barbie and her multitude of shoes to the list (really? does she need Mango-colored shoes to match her latest Flamenco-dancing European party dress? does basic black not cover it anymore?).
Why do the manufacturers (I'm talkin' to you, Mattel) make so many little itty bitty teeny tiny annoying pieces?! So we can step on them in the middle of the night, that's why. My boys are pretty good about cleaning up their toys. We have in our house what we refer to as the "GLAD" clean-up method. Brace yourself, I know you are expecting some clever acronym for GLAD, but alas.................... GLAD simply refers to the large industrial size GLAD trash bag I wave around as I say, "Boys, time to clean up! If you would rather not clean up, I can help you."
The message implied is that the toys languishing on the floor will have a new home in the trash. Brutal, I know. Effective indeed. This begs the question, Miss MOV, have you ever actually thrown a beloved toy in the trash? (Oh, the horror.)
And the answer is a resounding "YES". Not once, but probably more like 5 or 6 times. Let's break down the cost of such a Draconian child-rearing method, shall we? The average nice toy like a large truck that talks or a Buzz Lightyear or a small Lego creature might cost around $25 or $30. If I have thrown away 5 x $30, that calculates to $150. And I surmise that my method is MUCH cheaper than dragging my kid to special classes where some "expert" can teach him to follow directions in the first place.
How do Tall and Short (misnamed, as he will easily pass up Tall for height in the next few years) react to this GLAD method? A serious, and somewhat panicked look comes across their little faces. They know I mean business; they clean up their toys. I rarely have to throw one away.
The key for me is the consistency: I threaten and then I follow thru. Yes, it breaks my heart to throw a perfectly good toy in the trash. But, The Husband and I have found this method to have EXCELLENT and swift results. Why, you say, do I not donate the toys to the Goodwill? Well, it is more dramatic for them to go in the trash! Also, I do take my children to the Goodwill to drop off toys and clothes, they understand that they are helping other children who have less and need these things. I do not want these two lessons (1. take care of your things and put them away, and 2. we donate things to those in need) to become unfortunately intertwined into the unintentional hybrid of "if I don't put my things away, a needy child gets them, therefore I hate needy children!"
So, the lesson of the day is this: Buy stock in GLAD trash bags.
("Might Obey the Vacuum")