What are the Toy Box Years?

>> Friday, May 1, 2009

Someone once asked me how to describe being a mom. Other than the usual chaos of raising children, two dogs, and maintaining a home, I once commented that my house looked like a giant toy box. Every floor was covered with toys - from one end to the other.

Shortly after I had my first daughter, my mother in law told me that if she ever visited and saw that my house was completely spotless (meaning all toys put away, etc.) then we would have issues. She said that a home without toys scattered all over, really isn't a home with children. That caused me to pause, and think about it. Then it hit me. I'm literally living in a toy box.

But when do the Toy Box Years begin? I truly believe that time period begins from the moment you find out you're pregnant. You begin to plan a nursery and a play area. And what does every play area need -- yep -- a toy box. You begin filling that toy box - baby's first teddy bear, rattles, age-appropriate toys. As your baby grows, the toys change over the years -- blocks, trucks, trains, Barbies, ponies, and more.

As some moms know, the toys almost never stay in the toy box....slowly creeping out and invading your home. You sit on the couch and find a fire truck ladder invading a space that only a medical professional should see. You vacuum the carpet and hear that all too familiar grind as yet another Lego or doll shoe has gone to the dusty vacuum cemetary. As you're in the kitchen you see the dog chewing on something that isn't a rawhide but vaguely resembles a dismembered Barbie leg. And it goes on and on. The Toy Box has now slowly taken over your home -- kind of like the Blob from those old 1960's sci-fi movies. In a short moment, you silently tell yourself - "Oh, I can't wait for these toys to go away!" (Come on -- as moms, we've ALL said it from time to time!)

The Toy Box Blob

When you think about it, do we REALLY want those Toy Box Years to end? And do they ever really end?

Personally, I think that just depends on you. The Toy Box evolves over time. As your child grows and toys become discarded, the Toy Box often becomes an unwanted piece of furniture, often stored or forgotten in the attic.

Some Toy Boxes become yet another storage spot - seasonal clothes, blankets, and other things.

Some Toy Boxes are sold at garage sales, given away, or sadly, thrown away.

Some Toy Boxes become time capsules -- a place where you can go when your children are grown and gone. A place that you can sit and open it and hold that teddy bear again...rock that baby doll once again....or turn the pages of a favorite book, it's pages now yellow, possibly stained with peanut butter & jelly or chocolate, and the edges worn with endless page-turnings (read it again Mommy!)

Personally, I don't believe the Toy Box Years ever end. I'm proud to say that we have two Toy Boxes in our home. One used to be mine and now sits in our youngest daughter's bedroom.

My old toybox, now in my youngest daughter's room

The second belongs to our oldest daughter and sits in our living room. Each one is different, but they both will always contain memories of each child and their special moments throughout their lives.

Our second toy box

I don't know about you - but in spite of the toys everywhere - I still don't want these Toy Box Years to ever end!


Darcy May 1, 2009 at 5:17 PM  


I loved it! So sweet and what a nice perspective on toyboxes. Sadly we do not have one for each girl as the olders have drawers, nothing special. We do have the toyboxes from when they were little and they are for our littles right now. Our house is always!! overrun by toys in every! room...but at least it shows we have children who play. :)

Liesl May 1, 2009 at 8:49 PM  

How beautiful, Jennifer! We live in a toy box here, too - people sometimes give us a hard time about out "messy house". The house is clean, safe, and sanitary, but it definitely does look like Santa's toy bags came to an explosive end on our floors. All of them!

Yo are off to a great start to your blog - I will definitely bookmark you, and next time I'm updating my site. I will add you to my blogroll.

I've been blogging since Liam turned 2, so that's 3.5 years ago. It was originally intended to be the baby book that wasn't getting written, and it is that, but it has also evolved into an outlet for frustration, joy, and everything in between. And I've developed a great community of blogfriends, some of whom I now know in real life. I think you'll find the same things happening on your site!

If you ever wonder where I am when I'm not over at Happy Homemakers, well, I'm blogging. Or driving somebody somewhere!

Welcome to the blogosphere!

Liesl from Happy Homemakers

arminda May 2, 2009 at 7:02 AM  

Fabulous! I never looked at my house that way. :) It helps a little with dealing with the mountains of toys everywhere haha.

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