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Toy Frustration: It’s Time to Implement a Kids Free Zone

toysFor the past seven years Casey has been begging me to make our room a kids free zone.  A place where kids don’t bring their toys and their notebooks and their crayons, but only come to say hello in the morning or goodnight at night.  I ignored her requests and now I’m wondering what I was thinking.

My parents had something similar in place when I was growing up. We were allowed to be in their room in the evenings, in fact, there were many evenings when the family watched TV together in my parents’ bedroom, but we weren’t allowed to bring our crap into their room.  It was their room.  A place where they could retreat and get a break from kids, and now that I’m a parent I don’t think they wanted a break from kids, but a break from all the crap that usually accompanies the kids.

I am tired of all of my kids’ stuff lying around the house.  Dealing with their stuff never seems to end.  Just last night I climbed into bed and discovered that Addie had left a stack of homework on my side of the bed.  After I moved Addie’s stack of homework out of my bed my foot discovered Addie’s pencil as it was sliding between the sheets.

A few nights ago I got to listen to one of those stupid little toy hamsters that Addie got a few years ago.  That thing would not shut off.  It squeaked and squawked all night long and into the next day.  As I pulled the hamster out of the toy box it had been sitting in, I thought about throwing the stupid hamster out the window where it would never be heard from again.  Instead, I exercised restraint and told Addie to get up stairs and shut the hamster off.

My couches are often loaded with beads, dress-up clothes, shoes, and DVDs.  Our living room gets cleaned every day, but I’m always amazed at how messy it can get within just a few hours of Addie and Vivi using the room.

Oh, and the shoes.  Addie and Vivi and their mother love to walk into the house and remove their shoes right in the middle of the kitchen floor.  There the shoes sit as I get to trip over them as I walk back and forth doing the nightly dishes.  I’ve begged, pleaded, and threatened Addie to put her shoes away when she gets home, but nothing has stuck.  I had a breakdown last weekend.  I couldn’t take Addie’s shoes lying in the kitchen any longer.  I took all four pairs of shoes she had left in the middle of the kitchen within an hour time frame and I threw them outside into the backyard—a practice my mom used on me a few times growing up.  Hopefully a few trips out in the rain or the snow will teach Addie how to take care of her shoes.  (Now if only I can figure out how to get my wife to take care of her shoes too.)

It’s definitely time to implement a kids free zone in this house.

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