If there is one bane of my existence besides laundry, it would have to be toy bins. OK, maybe it's not the bins. After all, they do their job, containing toys.

So it's the toys.

All those fine-motor-creative-thinking-skill toys we have. Ever notice how those kind of toys never come as just one? No - they are sets, collections, pieces, that, while not requiring batteries, require storage bins.

And every time I see an empty bin somewhere in the house, I want to throw a tantrum.

Because an empty bin somewhere in the house means that there is, somewhere else in the house, a pile of blocks or train tracks or legos or matchbox cars or miniature search and rescue vehicles (with tiny cones!).

And since that pile is not in said bin, it has likely been scattered to at least the four corners of the room in which it is in, if not through several rooms or into the hall. Which means crawling on hands and knees on hardwood floors to gather, gather, gather and load the bin back up so that insteps are safe in the middle of the night.

Sometimes there are multiple empty bins. Which means multiple piles of small toys, usually scattered and mixed, which means gather, gather, gather and sort, sort, sort.

And since children's play is their work and they "work" even more than they wear clothes (at least around here), this bin/toy thing is at least as futile as laundry, is it not?

What's worse than the discovery of an already empty bin is the sound of the dumping of a bin. Why? Why can't you play like girls and only use one thing at a time and take it out in an orderly fashion and play with it in the way it is intended? Why the dumping?

I have bad dreams about the sound of millions of duplos falling and scattering...

It's because for the boys, the empty bins don't represent piles of toys. They represent something to build or climb or invent or command. There's a world of possibility in that bin once you evict the toys that are supposed to live in it.

And of course, I can't complain about the times when the boys build a train or a boat with the bins and I turn around to see them all cooperating and giggling together.

Put three little brothers in a line-up of empty toy bins calling to me to look at what they made together, and I can actually forget that there are at least three piles of small toys strewn somewhere that later I'll be lumbering through on aching knees, separating kaplas from regular wooden blocks and the Loving Family from the rescue workers (and their cones!).

The piles will always be there, but for a moment they can't be seen or heard above the building and the laughing of my little boys in their bins.


Christine said...

Once again, I'm right there with you. Except I've given up the sorting part. So, what are you're methods? Do you do a lot of screaming to let them know you don't like it when they pour? I hate the pouring. My middle one just can't resist. He just pours all the bins at the very beginning. We have about 4 that I just keep in our front room. It usually happens early in the morning before I've woken up. That's the sound I wake up to. That, or my oldest coming to my bedside to say "Mommy, Sherman just poured all the toys out again." And again, another thing we have in common, in picture #4, your baby is holding the soft blue blanket that we own too! Loved this post. You just cannot get mad at them for doing what they're programmed to do.

Sir Nottaguy-Imadad said...

I raised two girls. We constantly had the dumping of bins. And Barbie shoes everywhere. Believe me, it's not just a boy thing.

Anonymous said...

Heh, I hate to break it to you, but I've never met a little girl who just took out one toy at a time and played with it quietly and the way it was intended to be played with... might just be the little girls I know. My daughter would rather dump out all the boxes, bins, and bags of toys and then try to build some sort of Rube-Goldberg contraption with ALL of them that spans several rooms.

Code Yellow Mom said...

I knew I would be in a bit of trouble for the play like girls line. :) But then why does everyone keep telling me girls are easier, even better? I don't see it. Especially when adolescence hits. The boys will smell bad during those years, but I can handle odor much better than emotional chaos. I'm in for it, aren't I?

MotherT said...

Sir Nottaguy-Imadad neglected to say that HE is the dumper of bins when he's playing with the grandkids!!! Not only is it not just a boy-thing, it apparently doesn't get outgrown! lol

Anonymous said...

I don't know why people say that girls are easier or why people say that boys are easier. I hear both (from different people). I think people whose girls were easier than their boys say that all girls are easier than all boys and people whose boys are easier than their girls say that all boys are easier than all girls. In reality, I think it has very little to do with gender and almost everything to do with temperament, but people LOVE to generalize their one experience to cover every experience. I'm pretty sure that's just human nature. In my case, my boy is INFINITELY easier than my girl. He's happy, obedient, cautious. My daughter has always been defiant, fearless, and oh so persistent. She'll do 3 minute time-outs over and over again for over 3 straight hours and still refuse to do something like pick up the cereal she dropped all over the floor. My son, on the other hand, will sit happily in time-out for 30 seconds with a huge smile on his face and afterward will gladly obey. I don't think that's a girl/boy thing. It's just a personality thing.

Julia said...

Girls are easier.

Linda Stahr said...

O.K. First off... Did I read that whole "little boys with their PREGNANT Mom" statement correctly??? Congratulations!!! And I know you've heard alot about little girls playing with only one thing... mine do. Because all of their other toys with little pieces got eaten by the gunny sack so that they're down to only one more container that can possibly become empty. They have to EARN their toys back. And books don't hurt so much in the middle of the night. Neither do paper dolls. Unfortunately for me, I'm one of the guilty ones when it comes to dumping toys out.

We did, however, just have a FHE on working and teaching the kids to work. So far, so good. We'll see how day three is... I gave them their own little buckets and supplies complete with name tags so that they can do their work here at home. I'll post about it later. In the meantime, it was great to catch up via the blog!