Like most families who aren’t Amish, hiding in a bunker or employees of Nickelodeon, our family loves Disney movies. Princesses, beasts, witches, sea-urchins, talking jungle animals – we love them all.
In 1995, Disney blew our minds with Toy Story. If you were a parent then, you’ll remember how astounded you were by the computer animation and how appreciative you were by the clever and witty script, which made watching it 489 times a year a lot more enjoyable. Like every other parent and child in a First World country, we loved it. Still do.
After Toy Story 2 was released in 1999, Thing 1 was obsessed with Jessie and carried her little Jessie doll around with her everywhere. We used to laugh about how one day poor little Jessie would be lost and forgotten under the bed while Thing 1 would be chatting on the phone or painting her nails, and thought it was funny to recreate the movie and make her Jessie doll sing “When Somebody Loved Me”.
Until it happened…and it wasn’t.
And then came Toy Story 3 and plunged daggers in the hearts of mothers with growing up kids everywhere. Seriously, that movie caused more depression amongst middle aged women than the break-up of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. And besides reducing us to tears by holding a mirror up to our own children’s disenchantment with the toys that had defined their childhoods and the fact that they were growing up, it turned us into hoarders.
That’s right. Toy Story 3 is directly responsible for this:
Sidenote: This is only a small portion of the playroom. There are at least 80 more Barbies, Barbie paraphernalia, and assorted Playmobil structures behind me (as well as a few more empty Goldfish bags). And can I just mention that the 11yo has not touched a Barbie in about a year? We’ve always told people that our fourth bedroom belongs to our third daughter, “Barbie”, and I’m embarrassed to admit that for the last year the door has remained closed.
Glad she’s had some Goldfish to snack on.
For the past week Husband and I have been cleaning out the toy closet in the basement (oh yes, there’s more) since pretty much everything that’s stored there hasn’t been touched in years. Polly Pockets, puzzles, baby dolls that haven’t been held since 2005, blocks, playhouses and tunnels, tubs of plastic Disney princesses, Duplos, Legos and enough stuffed animals to fill an ark have been separated into piles of “Things to donate”, “Things to throw away” and “Things to keep” (thank you Hoarders for that helpful lesson in reduction).
The “Donate” pile has been an easy one to make thanks to our best three year old friend who has been happy to take a good portion of it. The things she doesn’t want (and that held no special meaning) will find new homes via the Goodwill.
The “Throw away” pile has produced three entire tubs full of broken electronics and old markers and games with missing pieces and cheap figures with no homes.
The “Keep” pile is tricky. If the toy is a well-worn favorite that has a monumental memory attached to it, it stays (e.g., the first Beanie Baby; the 64th Beanie Baby; Bitty Baby and just about every outfit made for her from 1997-2003). If it was something that was one of the Things’ absolute favorite things to play with and something we could see our grandchildren playing with one day (in the far away future), it also stays (e.g., Fisher Price Dollhouse + every accessory; all 38 My Little Ponies).
Sounds easy, right?
Every time I pick up anything with eyes, I hear Jessie saying, “You never forget kids like Emily or Andy, but they forget you.”
And then I think of poor Bo Peep and Wheezy and how sad the rest of the toys probably were when they got put in the “donate” pile…or wherever it was they ended up.
And then this happens.
But even I realize that it’s impossible to keep all the “Things to Keep” things out where they can see and breathe (shut up), so sadly the baby dolls, the My Little Ponies and about eight other tubs full of favorite things have been entombed.
We’re making (slow) progress, but I hope that by mid-summer “Barbie’s room” becomes a study/writing/reading room with fresh paint, colorful chairs and zero Barbie shoes to step on.
But at least Jessie is still watching over Thing 1 from her perch up on the bookshelf.
Even if she is covered with 1/4″ of dust and her head is held on with a toothpick.
She’s got the boys from One Direction as her bodyguards now, so she’s pretty happy.
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