Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Katie was saying today (and has said similar things several times in the last week or so) that she wishes we could live like in the Little House books, with chores to do and growing our own crops and milking cows and such. Of all children, this is the most ironic one for it to come from, because she also loves to dress up, wants earrings and high heeled shoes and make-up (she's SIX!!), wishes we had a bigger house so she could have her own room, and she and Helen have the biggest room as it is, which is barely visible because of all the STUFF they have in there, none of which Katie is willing to part with, nor is she willing to put any of it away. And she doesn't eat much in the way of vegetables, so I'm not sure why she's so eager to harvest crops. Oh, and she says that she wishes they had a bigger room, that we should just make the living room into the girls' room.

However, she's been parting with a lot of it lately, and hasn't even noticed...

We have a separate flat with our house, with a separate, locked, entrance, and nobody is staying there at the moment. Last week I put all of the stuffed animals (cuddly toys), a big basket full of dress-up accessories (shoes, hats, gloves, etc.), and a large laundry basket full of bags (handbags, backpacks, etc.--all "toys" belonging to the children) down there, the next day added all of the big dolls and some miscellaneous stuff lying around. They haven't noticed. In fact, last Friday we had a visitor with high-heeled shoes, which Katie and Helen took turns borrowing and making loud noises with, and then Helen said excitedly that in their dress-up clothes (again, a translation for the non-Americans: "dress-up clothes" are "fancy dress" clothes, costumes (not swimming suits, SA friends!) and funny hats and old grown-up clothes, etc., for imaginative play) they had Mommy's wedding shoes, which had high heels. (Not VERY high heels, but they do make a lot of noise when being worn by a three-year-old.) Helen went to look for them, but came back without them...because they're downstairs, of course, but there's so much OTHER stuff in their room, that I'm sure that she just thought they were buried under something else. She didn't say anything, and neither did I.

This evening I added two of the three doll buggies (the two collapsible umbrella strollers), all of the doll clothes, the small dolls, the toy kitchen stuff, the box of vehicles, and the box of plastic and wooden animals. That was after they went to bed, though, so I'll be curious to see if they notice in the morning. Last summer I did a major sorting out and labeling of the girls' room, complete with little pictures. Even Elisabeth is able to see the drawing of cars and put cars there. In fact, Elisabeth is the only one who DOES it. I have cleaned it up (tidied it up, for my non-American friends, not actually literally "cleaned" much...) quite a few times since, sometimes with their "help", more often without. Katie thanks me profusely and explains that she's now going to keep it nice and neat, and the next day, everything is all over everywhere, and she throws a tizzy fit if I ask her to pick up "just the books" or even "just that doll". It's too much work and not fair.

They still have the dress-up clothes, Duplo blocks, wooden (Brio and other brands) train set, building blocks, lots and lots and lots of books, one doll buggy with whatever is still in it (blankets and pillows and maybe even one doll), too many chairs (oh, maybe I should put some of the little chairs downstairs, too), all the jewelry and hair-thingies, and plenty of Miscellaneous, not to mention bits and pieces of the categories that are already downstairs. In the living room we have Baby Toys (more building blocks, Primo, stacking cups, wooden puzzles, rattles, and more Miscellaneous), the box with regular Lego is in the boys' room (not that it's visible, under all of THEIR junk, but I've just been focused on trying to get the girls' room in order for the last six or more months), and we have books in every room of the house except for the bathroom (my German husband won't allow that) and the laundry/shower room (they'd be ruined by the humidity). None of the children have much Playmobile anymore, because over a year ago I declared that any Playmobile I found outside of children's rooms automatically became Mine. In my (locked) closet in the girls' room, I have a box that is actually labeled "Mommy's Playmobile", and it is full to overflowing. And last October my friend Peggy brought the children an entire suitcase full of second-hand Playmobile, which they played with for the two and a half weeks Peggy was here, but which I said they couldn't bring upstairs until there was a place to put it. So that Playmobile lives in the storage room downstairs.

Editing to add some photos from last October:

Here is the girls' room last October 2nd, not even at its worst.

And here it is after I spent several hours working on it.

 Helen decided that the step-stool made a good bunk-bed for some dolls. Please note: they DO own a LOT of clothes for the dolls, but for some reason, always strip them.

I have to agree with Katie. Things would be a lot easier if she had A Doll, and that was It. And one dress for weekdays and one for Sundays, and one pair of shoes. And if we all had the equivalent, we could ALL live in the living room, which is probably bigger than some of the houses in which Laura Ingalls Wilder lived.

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