It might be a New Year's cliche, and if you pointed that out to me, musing on resolutions, you wouldn't be wrong, exactly. But the timing is less a factor of the new year and more a factor of our family calendar: we're four weeks past L's birthday and two weeks past Chanukah and two weeks before E's birthday and four weeks before G's. You might think of this season as winter but I think of it as intake.
We've been working on organizing the toys and dolls and dress-up clothes and firefighter accessories and puzzles and manipulatives and books and the girls, they've seen it happen. They've helped to a degree, they've rediscovered lost treasures, and they understand that mama means business. There's an enormous new Ikea shelf in the basement, y'all, and color-coded baskets.
Both girls came with me to the store when we went to pick up the printed photos for E's school project. L spied a doll she fancied and asked if she could have it. She didn't whine or plead; truly she asked very kindly and reasonably. But I made a spur-of-the-moment decision and announced, "Girliciousses," (sometimes I call them each 'girlicious') "we are not buying any more toys until we finish organizing all the ones we already have at home." L looked at her feet. She didn't object, but her whole body turned sad.
"Hey, you," I said, rubbing her neck lightly. She looked up reluctantly.
"It's not a punishment, loves. It's just that we need to get the house under control. But you didn't do anything wrong. It's not a punishment. I don't mind buying you something -- I just don't want it to be another piece of clutter on the floor. Should we go get a piece of chocolate from the counter?"
Okay, she readily agreed, her spirit revived. We found the posterboard we needed, and some cleaning supplies we needed to replenish, and we headed to the front to find chocolate and pay. L's eyes darted back.
Mama, she said pointedly, what if I have an idea that's not chocolate? Can I have a balloon? That only clutters the ceiling.
I giggled. Both girls got balloons. Everyone was happy.