29 March 2013

On the subject of stuff

We have a lot of stuff.  Some of it new, some of it old, some of it meaningless except to us.  It's bits of our shared history, our individual histories, lots of books and lots of CDs, memories, useful stuff, cords for things, clothes, photos and toys. And I should reiterate.  Lots and lots of books.  Lots and lots of CDs.  We're those kind of people.

Minimalist is not a term you use in our house unless you are referring to my domestic skills.

And we have a lot less grown up stuff than we used to just by virtue of the fact that we moved house twice in a year.  However, we've added two small people to the equation in the last 2.5 years and so the amount of toy and clothes stuff has multiplied like a science experiment gone wrong. Some of it we've bought, some has been gifted, some found in hard rubbish and lots has been hand me downs from children who've outgrown a skirt, or a kitchen, or a cot and we've been the lucky recipients.

I find myself constantly on the defensive about the toy room in particular but as of this week, I'm drawing a line in the sand and saying - you know - YES. We do.  And aren't the girls lucky?  And fuck off with your judgements.  

These are a few of their favourite things
Everything is their favourite
I love that in small people
I love being able to provide a place where the girls can play, indulge their imaginations, share their toys with their friends, read their books, run riot, dress up, lie down, colour in, squabble, cuddle and romp.  YES we do appreciate the generosity of our friends and family that have provided so many of the items that make up the room.  And YES we appreciate the family that put out the giant pink quad bike to be taken away during council clean up as I wandered up the road to dinner.  And YES, we like being able to give our girls things.

But having these things doesn't come at the expense of their souls.  They can play just as happily with a box, they love to make up songs and stories, they have manners, they share.  They give toys away to charities, friends.  They lose the occasional favourite when we are out and about.  They don't demand toys or things or throw tantrums to get things.  They take their surroundings for granted because they are only tiny and it's just where they play. And them taking their surroundings for granted is absolutely okay because they're still working out how to put their feet into shoes, their spoons into mouths and how to say the word 'milk' without lisping.

And YES I can be an indulgent parent.  If I see a little something they girls might like I'll go crazy - yesterday I bought two dinosaurs - for $1 each.  I know - I'm a regular Paris Hilton I am!  But we save the big stuff for special occasions and I'm sure as they grow older and more aware of marketing we'll have to set firmer boundaries but in the meantime, I'm saying thank you to all those that have given us old toys, old clothes and old books.  I'm saying thank you to a first world that allows me to give my girls a room of toys and I'm saying thank you to you for minding your own business.  If you're judging me and my little people on their toy room, I'd say it's not me that should be on the defensive.

That rant over I'm going to go and spin giddily in the midst of all our stuff and be full of gratitude.  I am going to choose not to feel guilty about our blessings.  Until I step on a piece of duplo and then I'm going to hop about profaning and threaten to throw the whole bloody lot out if they don't start putting it away!