Over the past few days, I've been retiring old baby toys and generally removing some of the clutter of toys from our living room. As a result of this, I saw little change in my son's activities. So far, so good. I was removing toys that he didn't play with. Today, In the process of helping my girls clean away some unneeded items from their room, I decided to move the playmobile toys to the living room to be shared toys. These are the playmobile toys that are appropriate for 1 1/2 year-olds and up (fewer moving parts). I figured that he has only 2 more months to go to meet the age limit and he already loves to play with them every time he has managed to get in his sisters' room.
The result of this experiment? All of the kids play with the playmobile toys more. However, the Happy Boy is in heaven. He is playing with these toys for an hour or so at a time, with no complaints (except from his sisters if they are playing at the same time, he tends to act like Godzilla). The clutter is back in the living room, but it is a clutter from a different kind of toy. It is also the clutter of a well played with set, rather than the pick-up and drop five seconds later scenario we had before.
So what kind of play is this boy doing? The usual pretend play. He helps the playmobile people go down a slide. He puts them in cars. He puts them in and out of houses. This is pretty standard, I realize. But it shows that he isn't that far off from playing like his sisters do. It gives me hope that in about a year, they might actually be able to play together (all three) at times.
How are the girls handling the changes? Quite well actually. I've moved toys and books around and had them help me select which stuffed animals to keep. They know that many of the toys are going to be given new homes. It doesn't seem to bother them a bit. I'm sure that it will bother them the next time they want a particular toy and we don't have it anymore. But, that too is part of learning about life and the consequences of one's decisions. As for their play habits, I noticed them doing something new the other day. They were playing "Cinderella." They would take turns being Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother (or Fairy Grandmother according to the Adrenaline Junkie). They acted out the key events of the story in a whirlwind short version that took no more than five minutes. I think their Daddy's wish that they get involved in drama will probably come true because every time they finished, they would switch off roles and do it again. They entertained themselves like this for at least an hour straight.
Let me tell you...any time kids these ages can entertain themselves for an hour straight, it is a blessing from God. If I hadn't been suffering from a cold this week, Life would have been perfectly blissful. Well, OK, they did cry and complain and whine a little this week too. But they always do that. I'm trying to count my blessings.