With all the new things that came our way this Christmas, I'm finding they brought a new need.
A bigger house.
Preferably a clean one.
Knowing in advance what was coming, I went through all the girls' things and set aside for charity all I could bear to part with. I made the boys do the same thing, though their pile of giveaways was pitifully small and didn't create the abundance of space that I'd envisioned.
Neither pile lasted long either. As soon as the girls saw the toy-filled boxes, they set about unpacking them, pulling out and reattaching themselves to playthings they hadn't shown an iota of interest in for months.
The level of the boxes plummeted and the old toys were strewn about the house -- again.
I spend the days before Christmas cleaning, knowing that new places needed to be found for new things.
By the time we returned home Christmas night, the house was in shambles and hasn't recovered yet.
Don't think it hasn't been because of a herculean effort on my part. I've had days off, weekends free and nights unscheduled and still I can't stay ahead of the destruction.
New toys have been unpacked and dragged from one end of the house to the other, with their accessories littering their paths. Old toys have been remembered and pulled out to meet a similar fate.
No matter what I do or how hard I work to get ahead of the chaos, its vortex sucks me in.
I did the only thing I could. I cleaned my bathroom and shut the door. I guard it jealously to keep it the only clean room in the house.
There have been several efforts to breach it, but I've been diligent, and I've had several new toys, games and movies in my arsenal of distractions.
I managed to get the Christmas tree down and packed away despite Katie's sad "bye, bye Christmas."
The relief was immediate. Now, I have a small corner to tuck in our new Strawberry Shortage tent, something that had to be erected the minute the box was opened and has been blocking the path down the hallway for days.
The kids don't seem to mind the mess. They're in their element. They're thriving.
See, they've got some sort of opposition to clean anyway. It's not two minutes after I finish cleaning the girls' room that they're rearranging, emptying the toy box and pulling things off shelves. And, I don't have many more shelves that they can't reach.
It's not that they want to play with the toys, it's that they have a need to see all their options displayed before them and easily accessible.
The one nice thing is that all their toys get some attention.
That fact doesn't make a nighttime trip to the bathroom any easier.
It's an obstacle course here and holidays just add an extra lap.
I know I'll get caught up eventually, though I'm starting to fear it will have to be at midnight.
Still, I can't help wishing for more space. Or better yet, a small house of their own.
Then, they can make beds just for the pleasure of messing them up. They can display their toys in just the right way to ensure they all get equal playing time. They can scream and yell and play "I'm gonna getcha" to their heart's content.
And I can sleep.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.