Sprite's room makes me want to cry.
Her new tea set is missing a mint green tea cup.
The bedbugs piece is without its mallet. (Although I think John may be the one behind that. He HATES that toy, but I don't mind it so much. The horrendous sound assures me she's striking the toy, not a dog.)
The box which held the alphabet books in a neat and tidy enclosure is past saving.
The cabbage patch doll which survived my sister's repeated embraces and my cousin Mike's (yeah, Heidi, your husband) repeated attempts to twirl it on its head over 25 years ago has lost the ribbons that held up for so long.
And the Baby Einstein flash cards have exploded all over the house and the search and rescue ended in about a quarter of them being found and a few of those bent and creased to the point they will no longer be straight again.
I tried. Honest, did.
I know I'm fighting a losing battle here. Every night, when Sprite is getting a bath or distracted with her dad, I bulldoze my way through the fallen toys, discarded by my negligent child often as quickly as they are picked up. I arrange her bookshelf quickly, but efficiently. The tiny books stack together, the larger books on the bottom. The chewed up ones stay at the top of the shelf to be first noticed when she's particularly destructive.
(Her favorite book, "Monster At The End Of This Book" sits alone on her dresser, too high for her hands to reach, in an effort to preserve it just a little longer. In fact, I recently found a "Monster" board book and let her go to town with it. Best five bucks wasted this weekend.)
As I go, I try to bring all the shapes back to the shape sorter and reunite all the animals and Noah back in their ark. I try (oh how I try) to keep all like toys together and keep everything in its place. I try to keep everything in good condition, scrub the crayon marks off one doll's face, return the lost shoe to the other one, but I can't keep up anymore.
I learned about the time Sprite started walking that this war cannot be won. Yet, Iike the lone soldier unaware that my side has thrown the white flag of surrender, I battle on.
Sprite's toys have lost their newness. You may not have seen this word before, but it's as old as I can remember.
When I was a kid, Cabbage Patch dolls were the things to have. My mom and dad got us each one. Lee got the girl with the long blond hair (okay, yellow) and I got the bald boy. We were so proud of those dolls, we kept the original boxes they came in. The original diapers lasted a lot longer than the initial 2 days when the repeated adhering ("Oh, baby needs to be changed!") rendered them useless. The clothes were in pristine condition. The only negative thing that happened was my cousin thought it would be funny to spin our dolls on their heads. Stupid boys. I forgave him. (Just now, in fact.)
Recently, my parents brought over all the dolls they had held onto after we moved out. And in one over-sized garbage bag was 5 Cabbage Patch dolls with the original diapers, clothes, hair ribbons, even brushes and birth certificates.
I handed them over to Sprite, thinking they would surely survive her clutches. I mean, they survived mine, right? Wrong. Oh, so wrong. Within days of her "adopting" my old dolls, one has crayon on its face, another has hair coming out at every angle (which is hard to do with yarn hair), and all of them are bare-bottomed, the diapers deemed offensive by her Spriteness.
My history! Seriously, crying will commence soon.
On one hand, I know she's a child and most kids her age season their exploration with tinkering, taking things apart to see how they "click", and often losing interest before the "reassembly" part, leave the toy in shambles for Mommy and Daddy to step on, or a dog to chew on, thus declaring the toy "broken" and Mommy and Daddy throwing more money into the evil empire that is Hasbro or Fischer Price. (No, no, they're not evil, just convenient.)
On the other hand, I have this naive idea that somehow, I can save my daughter's toys from their predetermined fates that seems to behold every other toddler's toy out there and maybe, just maybe, save them for the next child, if that ever happens. (Um, John? You listening?)
So, every evening, I go through my routine, saving one toy from destruction, giving last rights for another. I know the point of my effort is moot. I know I'm just stressing myself out over the inevitable.
I just want to preserve the toys' newness a little longer, that's all, kind of like I wanted to preserve Sprite's newness, yet every day, she reminds me that she is no longer something to be coddled or awed over or stared at. Every day, she reminds me that she has a brain and she is learning how to use it to her advantage. *Sniff.*
You know what? I think I'm just hormonal. In fact, while Sprite is having her bath, I may just relax with a cup of tea...
Mint green tea cup....