Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'm probably just under the Polly Pocket Super Mall

I'm feeling a little lost in my life. Sometimes I feel like I know exactly who I am and what I'm doing (whether or not I feel like I'm doing it well is another story). Sometimes I wake up feeling like I've been partially erased during the night. My outlines are all blurry. These are the times when I think hey! I need to train for a marathon! or hey! I need to buy a two-hundred-dollar glass bead making kit (and then hide it under the spare bed for the next five years) or hey! I need to get a job! And I run off in seven different directions as if complicating the hell out of everything is the answer, when in reality I should just clean out my laundry room or give away the eighty percent of Angus's closet that he hasn't worn for three years or play my poor neglected piano which gets even less action than my husband.
And the stuff. What's with all the stuff? I don't think of myself as particularly materialistic. Our cars are old and crappy, our couch cushions have holes in them that are almost the exact size and shape of my kids' butts, and I don't enjoy shopping. So where the hell does all this crap come from? Did somebody forget to tell me that babies are born with little stuff-generating kits? Because I blame the children, obviously. Okay, I have a lot of books, but those fall under the heading of basic necessities, right? Don't you find that in houses with no books the air is just a little thinner? (Seriously? Is it just me?) I'm not the one that requires that glitter glue, pipe cleaners and seven different colours of yarn be available at a moment's notice. That avalanche of stuffed animals I started yesterday while cleaning up for the cleaning lady -- not mine. And the bins of fake musical instruments, random puzzle pieces, wind-up creatures that don't exist in nature, tiny plastic darts?
Okay, I'm being unfair. I have a serious problem with not being able to throw things out. It was bad before I had kids -- now it borders on the pathological. I try really hard; I go up to their rooms with garbage bags and roll up my sleeves and turn on loud, angry music and get ready to be ruthless. Then it all goes horribly wrong. I can't remember the dates of any important wars, I can never remember when Bernini was born, I don't think I can name a single cabinet minister, but I remember when every ball, yellow chicken and scrap of paper was given to my children, and what they looked like playing with it, and I feel like it shreds my soul to get rid of any of it. Also, I always feel like if I get rid of any of those odd-shaped pieces of plastic that the very next day one of the kids will go "where did that silver octagonal widget that is the very key to making my very favourite car/princess chariot/robot work properly go?" (like I can't lie to my kids convincingly? Cripes, we just convinced them last night that 'you put your weed in there' was a gardening reference).
And I buy them too much stuff. Not everything they see or everything they ask for, but when I see something I know they'll love and it's not too expensive I often buy it and put it away for a special occasion, like when Matt's away and they've been really good, or ... Tuesday. I start buying stuff for Christmas in July and by December I have so much stuff that I can't actually give it all to them and still show my face in public, so I give it to Toy Mountain, or save it until they're three years older than the maximum recommended age for whatever it is. I try to keep reminding myself and them that just because something is new doesn't mean it's any better than what you already have, and sooner or later it will be old and boring too (once, after this type of speech, we left Mrs. Tiggy Winkles and Angus, who was four, said "I understand what you're saying, but it's just that all that stuff looked excited"). They don't whine and throw tantrums when I say we're not getting something, and they're always very sweet and grateful when we give them stuff; this should NOT make me want to give them even more stuff, right? They're both sweet, compassionate, creative kids, and I'm just going to stifle that if I keep adding to the commercial, plastic, made-in-China clutter.
My chief theory is that there are just too many damned shopping hours. As a rule, if you don't see stuff, you don't want it. Now that we can go shopping at night and on Sundays, it's too easy to do it recreationally, whether you actually need anything or not. Add that to the fact that you can buy Bratz dolls and little pets with absurdly large eyes at Loblaws, and clearly we're all overmatched. Add that to the fact that I'm a moronically emotional pack-rat, and clearly I'm screwed.
Yes. This must stop. Sentimentality is bunk. I'm suffocating
under all this stuff. Or maybe it's just that I need more books...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

And on that note - we need to talk about when you are coming for a visit so we can go shopping again. = )
Also, does lego make "girl" stuff? Sophie wants to build stuff like her brother, where she gets to follow the instructions and make what is on the front of the box, but she wants it to be pink and not a space ship.
And sweetie - just to to out you. I've seen your scrap booking collection. Clearly you do need 7 colours of glitter glue at a moments notice. = ) Of course it means you beat all the other mums when it comes time to give end of year cards to the teachers. Z

alison said...

If I really work up to it, I can be semi-ruthless, sort of. Well more like selectively ruthless -- I can pitch out the little crappy plastic dollar store/McDonald's toys, but I can't for the life of me get rid of a stuffed animal.

And we always need more books.

Bibliomama said...

Oh right. The scrapbooking stuff. Damn.

NoisyBluebird said...

Baby returns are killing me. I get the will to give away buckets of baby stuff, mountains of space are cleared up, I say my quiet goodbyes and then months later the people give it back to me to pass on to another baby. I'm going in purging circles.

Bibliomama said...

You're absolutely right -- it's a vicious circle -- one of the ones that didn't make it into Dante's Inferno. The one where you constantly drown in a whirlpool of onesies and push-me-poppers, then come back to life to do it all over again...