Sunday, March 11, 2012

Point of No Return

I snapped.
I lost my mind entirely.
I went medieval on Little M's playroom.

Of the three items I've listed above, the only thing that truly surprises me is that it didn't happen sooner.

Little M is not just an only child, but she is also the only grandchild on both sides of her family- thus, pretty much making her the Messiah.  Nary a day goes by when this child does NOT receive a gift/new toy/treat, and it's kind of gotten to the point where Little M expects to be given treats.  Obviously, the expectation factor isn't good, and as her mom, I need to nip this behavior in the bud.

There's only one problem, though-  the universe is conspiring against me.  The universe apparently wants Little M to be consistently showered in pink plastic shit.  It's a bit of a vicious cycle, and I'm pretty sure that I can't win.

Here's why.  I want Little M to have a happy childhood--to have everything she needs and most of what she wants.   I want her to experience the joy of receiving gifts and playing with new things.  By no means do I want to sound ungrateful (and I'm sure I'm about to), but this child receives so many very generous gifts from so many very generous sources and with such alarming frequency that it makes it extraordinarily difficult to NOT raise a spoiled brat unless I am consistently playing bad cop.

I get it.  I'm her mom. It's my job to make the hard choices, to make those decisions that prioritize long-term gains over short-term sanity, to be the bad cop.  I've read the job descriptions, and moms just aren't supposed to be as fun as dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends.  I'm the freaking drone in a kingdom that's otherwise built on fun.

That sucks.  I'm fun, dammit!  I'm funny, dammit! I want to be able to share that with Little M---but some things have spiraled so far out of control that I've become the "No" police- which also sucks.

Two important side notes here:

1.  I am unbelievably grateful that Little M has so many people who love her and shower her with gifts, and more importantly, love.  She's a lucky girl.  There are kids out there whose parents don't love them properly and whose supporting cast doesn't show up or is generally indifferent.  That's not my girl- she just might be the most loved girl on the planet.  Which rocks.

2.  I am not, in any way, encouraging being cheap.  Anyone who knows me at all knows that the three characteristics that I most despise are cheapness, stinginess, and joylessness.  To clarify, I truly appreciate and respect practicality, seeking value, frugality and personal responsibility.  I'm not, however, particularly fond of sucking the joy out of life and its experiences as an intended consequence of self-imposed self-deprivation.  What's the point?  We only get one go-around at this life thing.  We may as well make it enjoyable, within reasonable parameters.

As usual, I digress.  My war on toys began when I was ordered to find the mate of a missing Barbie shoe that I didn't realize we owned in the first place.

It went down something like this:

Little M:   MOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMY!  I can't find my Barbie butterfly shoe.  Find it!
LMS:  Go look in your playroom.
Little M:  It's a MESS in there.  I can't find anything in there.  You do it.

She's right- it is a mess in there, despite my best efforts.  The biggest problem is that she has SO MUCH stuff that I'd have difficulty finding a 40 inch child in that pit, let alone a inch-long plastic shoe.  Against my better judgment, I agreed to engage in a search-and-rescue mission for the missing plastic shoe.

The first step in Barbie shoe recon was learning what the missing shoe's mate looked like.  Imagine my shock when I discovered that the shoe was a "snake" strappy heel of sorts that went to Barbie's knee.  Okaaaaaaay- not only was I about to search for a needle in the proverbial haystack, but said needle was also more suitable for a stripper than a 3 year old little girl.

Who the hell bought my daughter a plastic dominatrix doll?

Add this to my already brewing fury regarding a Barbie DVD of unknown origin.  I arrived home from work Thursday night to find Little M watching a Barbie movie on DVD.  On first glance, that wasn't a necessarily a problem, until I realized that the Barbies spent virtually the entire movie in very tiny bathing suits.   I pretty much snapped at the scene where Barbie was doing a handstand, on a surfboard, in her tiny bikini and her F-cups didn't move.

I asked where the movie was sourced, and again, the answer was unclear.  I was, however, told that the movie contained a positive, girl-friendly message.  I'm assuming the message is that if you want your F-cup boobs to not bounce while doing a surfing handstand, those boobs should be made of plastic.  

(In all seriousness, I'm sure that movie is totally appropriate for an older child....but not for my 3 year old.)

At that point, I totally snapped.  I decided that I was going to do an organized inventory of every toy Little M owns-----all two billion of them.  In a mental state that can best be described as insane fury, I dumped all of the toys into the middle of the playroom floor, creating a 8" layer of toys that covered virtually every square inch of the playroom floor.

For the next 5 hours, I was Mommy, Warrior Princess in my battle against the toys, mumbling profanities the entire time.  I'm pleased to say that I didn't die in an avalanche of small plastic parts.  I'm pleased to say that all shoes have found their mates, all puzzles have found their missing parts, and order is joyfully restored.  Most importantly, I now know what the kids are playing with these days.

This morning, Little M is playing with a toy that was (1) uncovered at the bottom of the heap and (2) she had no idea that she actually owned.  We were trying to figure out how to operate it, unsuccessfully, when Little M had a brilliant idea.

"MOMMMMMMY, you need to find the destruction manual."

I was about to correct her, but I actually think destruction manual fits the bill just perfectly.

In Victory Over the Toys,

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