Our apartment is getting smaller by the day.
I’m speaking metaphorically, of course. The walls aren’t actually closing in little by little but it feels like Eitan’s toys are occupying more space in our living room than ever before. Even when the room is clean and everything is put where it’s supposed to be, I can see that there is less and less floor space showing between the rug and the row of toys against the wall. Last night we were sitting and watching television and I could have sworn I saw Elmo smirking at me. I could practically hear him whispering, “Don’t let Elmo’s cute face and high voice fool Aaron. Elmo wants Aaron’s apartment and Elmo will use force if necessary.”
There are just so many things. The kitchen and the trucks and the Little People. The food for the kitchen. The toolbox and all of the tools. The three-car garage from IKEA. The puzzles and the blocks and the basketball hoop. Thomas and his friends and all of their train tracks. The other day Eitan saw us transferring one of his Hanukkah presents into the car and stated, very matter-of-factly, “Eitan want that toy.” We certainly could have put our feet down and said that he couldn’t have it at that moment and tried to make him wait but we decided the tantrum was not worth it. So, now we also have the three-foot-tall City Skyway sitting in the corner, which will come in handy if King Kong ever stops by our apartment.
To Eitan’s credit, he plays with most of his toys on a fairly regular basis. He does have some preferences; more often than not, it’s either the food or the tools that get scattered all over the floor, and the collection of sports balls make frequent appearances, as well. But on any given day, Eitan will play with the cars and take out the train tracks and start building towers with the Mega Blox. Sometimes he’ll pick one toy and stick with it for an extended period of time and sometimes he’ll drift from toy to toy as it suits him. And, once in a while, he will go into his toy box and pull out toys we haven’t seen in months and assumed had gotten lost as time has gone on.1 And I really do like the fact that he still shows interest in all of his toys, even if it means that we end up with scenes like these:
I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m complaining. I realize that Trudy and I are really fortunate to be able to buy toys for Eitan in the first place, as well as having friends and relatives who can do the same.2 I try to make sure that I remember that, especially since Thanksgiving just passed. It does get frustrating, though, when Trudy and I have to crawl around on our hands and knees to restore a sense of civility after it looks like the toddler section of Toys R Us has thrown up on our living room floor for the fifteenth straight night.3 That being said, Eitan usually helps clean up, which makes things somewhat easier, even if we have to ask him to “just pick up the red blocks” or just put the tools away while we do everything else. The key, obviously, is that he’s having fun when he’s playing; I’ll take cleaning up his toys over handling a tantrum every day of the week.
1. Trudy and I also may or may not have “lost” certain toys at the bottom of that toy box on purpose.↩
2. We’re also eternally grateful to Trudy’s cousins, who have given Eitan fantastic hand-me-down toys now that their sons have outgrown them.↩
3. I’m exaggerating. It hasn’t been more than eight.↩