The necessities of life |

The necessities of life

There are very few circumstances that allow us to leave the house without toting more toys than we can carry.

Fire is one of those circumstances.

To be honest, it’s probably the only one. Certainly the fact that Katie is going to be late for preschool and Mom’s going to be late for work are not reasons for us to just get the heck into the car without one last scan of the house to ensure we haven’t left anything essential behind.

And by “essential” I mean the blue fairy’s shoes. Mom’s breakfast doesn’t count as essential, the video case for the princess movie does.

That final scan is to determine which toys are our favorites that day because, you see, they’re not the same ones that we took yesterday and are still loaded in the backpack.

The absolutely-can’t-go-even-a-minute-without-it favorite toy changes every single day.

One day it was Care Bears. Not just a Care Bear, all the Care Bears. We took the big stuffed bears, the small hugging bears, the key-chain dangling bears and a few of the hard plastic bears.

After I fell across her threshold sending six bears flying, the baby sitter suggested I fill out a change of address on the girls’ medical records.

Is this a girl thing or a kid thing?

The next day, Katie — in addition to three princess dolls, her blanket and a dinosaur egg — wanted to take “Roofie,” her nearly life-sized stuffed Husky.

Oh, and she wanted me to carry it.

That’s where I draw the line most days. If you want to take it, you’ve got to be able to carry it. I manage to stick to that line about 50 percent of the time, but when you’re racing the clock, you smudge a little.

On Wednesday, Katie kept it simple. She carried a small, pink wire basket filled with a musical necklace, a toy cup and one colored pencil.

Don’t ask because I wouldn’t know what to say. The toys that are favorites for the day are chosen for who knows what reason. I guess you can measure how much you know about your children by knowing what’s their favorite for the day and why.

The colored pencil, for instance, is a magic wand. I know that because my little fairies keep pretending they’ve turned me purple. But I’ve got no clue as to the purpose of a nonfunctional sippy cup meant for a toy infant.

Today, it was a stuffed kitten and a full-sized fleece blanket with snowmen on it.

The daily selection always includes a “toy” that’s not actually a toy. I often look at the clutter in my girls’ room and think, “They don’t need all this stuff.”

But when I try to clean the toy box, the stuff I really want to throw out stands out clearly as being a “favorite of the day” and I’m unable to let it go. There will be another day that single Lego will be part of a bigger scheme.

Just because I don’t have that sort of imagination doesn’t mean kids don’t.

So for now, they get to keep it.

To save me, the girls were given their own back packs. Each morning, they can fill it with whatever they choose as long as the are able to carry it.

The baby sitter, though, still thinks I’m being subtle about shifting their room to her house.

If the bear fits, I say …

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or

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