Friday, June 11, 2010

Throwing out toys

It’s just Caleb and me these days, living in a big new house, with nobody but each other for company, entertainment, or conversation. We have more space to live in than we’ve ever had before, but no matter where I go in the house, Caleb's there too.

Sometimes we need a break from one another. No, that’s not true. Caleb never seems to need a break from me. I love being his best friend. I love how much he needs me. But sometimes, I need to be alone. And when those times come, I often tell him to go play with his toys for a while. After all, in our new house, he has a whole room just for his toys and another room to sleep in. He has so many toys, most of which have been in storage for over a year and he hasn’t played with them in so long, they might as well all be brand new toys.

But he never wants to. Not if it means Mommy isn’t going to sit in his playroom with him. Not if it means being separated from one another, even for a few minutes.

The other day, I desperately needed a break and told him to go play. He left my room for a few minutes, but kept coming back, no matter how many times I told him to go play. Finally, in desperation, I threatened to throw all his toys away if he wasn’t going to play with them.

It wasn’t the first time I’ve threatened to throw away his toys. The few times I’ve done it before, he gave in and went and played. But this time was different. He just did not want to play by himself.

“Let’s throw them away,” he agreed.

So frustrated, I went and grabbed a trash bag and started throwing away toys. I filled an entire bag full of toys.

“Are you going to play with your toys now or do I need to throw more away?”

“Throw more away,” he answered.

A second bag. Then a third. By this point, I was dumping entire baskets of toys into the trash bags, not caring what toys were getting thrown out.

Caleb walked over to me holding his Buzz Lightyear, one of the few toys he actually plays with.

“Should we throw Buzz away?” he asked.

That was the breaking point for me. He's such a sweet and loving boy. He didn’t understand at all what was going on, but he was trying to do what he thought I wanted so that I would be happy again.

I carried the three garbage bags out to the garage and put them in the back of Daddy’s truck, telling Caleb that we were going to drive them out to the dump to throw them away later. Really, I just couldn’t bear the thought of throwing away all his toys.

The next day, I brought the bags back inside. Caleb was so excited, hoping that he got to keep his toys. We sat down together and I explained how sad it made me that he would rather throw all his toys away than play with them and that together we were going to go through them and decide which toys to keep and which to give away.

As I held up each toy for him to decide, there were hardly any that he wanted to keep. So easily, he kept saying, “Let’s give that away.” We ended up keeping a lot more toys than he said to keep, just because Mommy was too attached to let them all go. In the end, we filled up one trash bag full of toys to give away and one shopping bag full of toys to throw in the trash.

We drove to Goodwill with the bag of toys. I unbuckled him from his carseat once we got there and had him get out of the car. I handed him the big bag of toys and had him give it to the lady who was working at the donation drop-off spot.

Afterward, I asked him how he felt. He told me he was sad, but I’m still not sure he really understood what happened. I think it was harder for me to give his toys away than it was for Caleb.


Abigail said...

Maddie did the same thing when we were in the same situation!! We boxed and bagged up all her toys and they got put in our bedroom because I couldn't handle throwing out all those toys.

Patti said...

Even though I had already heard this story, it still made me hope for a happier ending. I hope Buzz made the cut. I think I wouldn't have had the guts to go through with it. Tell Caleb Nana loves him.

Cheryl said...

Take him to see Toy Story 3...maybe he'll see things from the toys perspective. ;)