"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Getting Rid of Stuff

The rest of Monday was pretty impressive, too. We are in the process of buying a house, and so I am beginning to panic about moving and everything that goes with it. Buddy has a little trouble getting rid of stuff he doesn't use, mostly because he doesn't want to hurt the feelings of the person who gave it to him. So I spent Monday with him going through his things and packing them off to the consignment shop. The question, "would you rather keep this toy or have money for it?" seemed to work well for him.

Of course, Princess wants to do whatever Buddy is doing, which is (usually) fine because it is (usually) a good example. However, Princess has less things because she has been here four years less and because she breaks stuff. So all she has left are the "good" toys.  As she brought in toy after toy after toy that I personally had put tons of thought, energy, and love into purchasing and said, "I don't really care about this that much," I took a deeeeep Mommy breath and said to myself, "don't freak out. Don't make this about you and your feelings. She's right: she doesn't really care about it that much," and gave it a big Whatever. I paid her $5 per giant pile of junk and $5 per good toy I wanted to keep and asked permission to give it to one of the little girls, which she always granted.

I did talk her out of the cupcake maker, for which I am kicking myself and asking WHY? but dang it, she really does love the thing. I don't know if you are familiar with this particular brand of parental torture. Never. Ever. Never. Buy one for a child who is younger than the age recommended on the box. I think the box recommends ages 32+, and I am telling you, stick with it. The directions are hard for a young reader to follow, it's difficult to clean, and the mixes cost $5 for three cupcakes. I have done it with her exactly twice. It involved the entire day. The only part kids care about is the frosting mechanism that spins the cupcake around while piping frosting in a professional manner. Hahahahahaha! The frosting container has a hole about this big: . to stuff the frosting into. So for each cupcake, I am forced to stand in the kitchen for (literally) hours stuffing frosting that smells like something died into a tiny tiny whole because my children do not yet have the motor coordination. Because they are not yet 32. So don't ever buy one. But if you're not going to heed my advice, buy it off my blog, because then I get a cut.


Princess racked up $30 during this exploit. We has discussed several times over the past six months that she may have possession and control of her money when she is done throwing furniture and toys and kicking in the door when she is angry, but until then, Daddy and I are keeping her money to pay for repairing any tantrum-induced damage. So she says to me:

"I really want to buy a stroller for my baby dolls. So I am going to try to not have tantrums. I know it's going to be hard and a lot of work. I think maybe if I say my "I am smart."* three times every day, I will feel good enough about myself to not throw things and kick."

Just lately, Princess has been expressing acceptance of responsibility for her tantrums. Sometimes. But this is defiantly the first time she has had a plan. She even asked if she could put a sign on her wall, so I gave her a dry-erase board.

The $30 was totally worth it.

*What I jokingly call "Daily Affirmations." A card has "I am smart. I am special. I am successful. I am somebody." written on it. Princess gets a Skittle after she says each one.


  1. Taking responsibility is something Bip and Bop find hard.... and Im finding had to teach ...any good pointers for me.... and I like the idea of the Daily Affirmation card... Im going to try this... we do a kind to others one... but not a personal one....

  2. I love reading your posts about how things are improving. We're about to become foster parents and I love your ideas...the daily affirmation is a great one (not to mention paying your kids for their old toys!)

  3. That is some awesome self-awareness. Go Team!

  4. One thing that I found helped with my kids was to set an arbitrary (they didn't know it was arbitrary!) number to each type of item.* I don't know why, but it helped them focus on which toys/items they loved enough to keep, instead of hating Mommy (really important with my RAD kids) for taking their stuff even though they don't/can't use it anymore.

    I sat with them and helped them stay focused, gave advice when asked (How is this better than the one you just kept? When was the last time you used it? Does it still fit?), but always let them know it was their choice. I usually did all the actual bagging (otherwise one child often filled his bags with trash and/or other people's stuff) and sorting into where it was going (garage sale, thrift store, hand me downs, and sometimes I dropped things in a bag to keep for later). I tried to give them as much control over the process as possible.

    I also pay per bag for things like toys unless it's Christmas time. At Christmas time they know they have to give toys away to make room for new toys (in theory the more toys you give away the more room you have for new ones, but they're old enough to figure out that's not really how it works now that we have the "three present rule." For clothes they just have to do this purge/organize thing every season especially before school starts or if they tend to wear winter clothes in the Summer which could kill someone in our TX heat!

    Mary in TX

    *For example:
    you can have 11 stuffed animals because you are 11 years old (two of my kids are obsessed with stuffed toys),
    You may keep as many matchbox cars as fit in the slots on your storage case,
    7 t-shirts, 7 pairs of pants, 10 pairs of undies... (and I sit with them and help them try them on and choose - we'll usually only do one category at a time so they don't get overwhelmed).
    3 books next to your bed (I can't actually make myself purge books, the rest stay in the playroom)....