Like most parents, we’ve experienced the fun of picking out just the right toys for our children for holidays and birthdays only to have our youngsters captivated by the wrapping paper and boxes over the gifts we selected for them. At first I was slightly hurt by their apparent lack of appreciation of all that I went through to find the perfect gift, hide it and then wrap it up for them. Actually, they did seem to appreciate that last part a bit but the toy itself was profoundly neglected in favor of the packaging they had ripped apart. Eventually my disappointment gave way to rationalizing their choice, they were so young and when everything was cleaned up they could see and play with the toy properly. Besides, when they got older their appreciation and anticipation of the gift inside the packaging would grow. I told myself that for quite sometime.
With three children close in age it didn’t take long for the toys to begin pilling up and still the boxes and wrapping paper were the best part. We began to assess the situation of trying to keep the toys caroled and I noticed that I was less than thrilled with them myself. Not just because they were regularly under foot and actually not played with that often but because most of them were an ugly nuisance. The colors seemed tacky, the beeps and whirls down right irritating, the music out of tune, and they seemed to rob my children of something that I couldn’t put my finger on. It didn’t help that there were just so many of them! I was overwhelmed with the shear amount of toys available, how to pick which one to play with at any given moment? Did they even matter any more? One thing was certain, the toys were in the way of our lives but I wasn’t sure how or why.