Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Fishbowl Freakout

Some people are hoarders. I'm a purger. I believe the politically correct term is "minimalist".

My biggest pet peeve: birthday party goody bags. Little plastic yoyo's, random pencils, single pieces of gum, temporary tattoos, ultra mini water guns and those dreaded animal-shaped elastic bands. If it were up to me, the goody bag would go straight from our car to the outside garbage bin.

While we regularly donate our gently used items, I don't donate the contents of goody bags. I feel like if I do, I'd be doing some other parent a disservice.

At one point goody bag pieces could be found in my vacuum, all over the kitchen counters, in every bin in the playroom, and even on their way into my baby's mouth! I wanted every little Chinese-made trinket out of the house. The kids balked. My husband just wanted peace. For awhile, he got me to secretly agree to a 24-hour "pitch it" rule. The rationale was that given the lifespan of the toys, most would break on their own within the first day. The rest would never be missed. So I diligently waited the required time, hunted the next day for the pieces, and buried them in the garbage bag. My covert operation was working.

Or so I thought.

I sorely underestimated my children's intelligence. One day as I was purging summer clothes in my daughter's room (while she was out collecting another goody bag at a birthday party), I found a drawer full of the dreaded Chinese trinkets. Not one or two, but 30"x12" full of them. I had to face the harsh reality that my daughter is a goody bag hoarder.

...and so is my son. He had a drawer, too.

Have you ever watched the show "Hoarders" and wondered how relatives of those hoarders let it get that bad? I do. "No way are my kids going to be on that show", I mumbled to myself. "I'm helping them now" and I dumped the drawers.

When my daughter discovered the freshly cleaned out drawer, it was as though I had dropped a bomb. War ensued. My daughter brought out the heavy artillery. Tears. Wailing. Something about a painted shell. While she was flailing her arms and yelling something about a super special painted shell, my husband silently put on his coat, went outside and started digging around remnants of that mornings' breakfast.

Like waring countries working through an interpretor (aka Dad), we agreed it was time for a ceasefire. She could keep the retrieved shell if she agreed to limit her "collection". We came to an agreement that an empty fishbowl (which was also a remnant of a past goody bag) would hold all future goody bag contents. If they didn't fit, Waste Management got to keep them.

Saturday is Elliott's birthday party. In an attempt to not be a complete hypocrite, I didn't put them in bags, so I'm calling them "parting gifts".

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