You will note that I have been a tad bit MIA. I've been feeling the need to get back to writing - it helps me process without burdening other people to hear my same epiphany over and over again. This afternoon, we had some pretty intense happenings, and so here we go!
Peanut turns six tomorrow. I know right? How is that possible? Well, in addition to all of the festivities, we have been prepping for the presents. We had the kids (Pumpkin turned four last week, so this is a double birthday scene) wish lists on the kitchen board and have been adding and taking things off for a bit now. We've have several rounds of "let's clean up this room and by the way since you are having a birthday soon maybe we can make some room and give some of this stuff away" which results in maybe a book and stuffed animal each time but never makes anything neater. Over the past year or so, Peanut's room has gotten more and more cluttered, and she has become more and more reluctant to let go of things. This is kind of foreign territory - she had previously been really happy to pass her things along to kids who needed them. So Honey and I have been discussing how to handle all of this wanting and keeping, and we have been doing the best we can, but know that something needs to give. Over the past week we have each had conversations with her about needing vs. wanting, and how too much stuff can make it hard to focus. We talked about making her room (and all bedrooms) a toy free zone. About only having books and making it super calming. But really, this is a one sided conversation.
Anyway, she unwrapped lots of fabulous things this weekend, and added them to the melee. And over the past two days there has been one meltdown after another over really really minuscule things that wouldn't ordinarily make her fuss. This afternoon, we all went our separate ways to have a rest, and after a bit I came to check out what the kids were up to. She was crying, and when I went to see what it was all about, the flood gates opened up. Peanut was distressed and so so sad. Through her tears, she expressed that she has too much stuff and she got too much more and she is overwhelmed and doesn't know what to play. And she can't figure out what she should do with some of her presents. And she wants to give it all away, but she really loves it all and, and, and. Wow.
So I sat with her, held her, and reflected back what she said. I had a feeling we were at the cusp of something huge and I didn't want to interject my opinions here. She continued to say how sad she was and how there were some things she knew she would never give up like her lovey that she wanted to "keep until she is old even if it is falling apart". She said that she sees things and loves them and wants them and then when she gets them they just take up space and she doesn't know what to do with them. She said she wanted to put it all in a bag. After a while of her processing through her feelings and how her room made her feel frustrated, I offered some thoughts. We could give things away, return some of her gifts, make her room a no toy space, just clear it out for a bit and see how it feels... She was game to try. We took all of the toys out of her room and put them behind closed doors. You could almost feel her relief as I lugged stuff out.
We even simplified the bed - her big present from us was having her room redone so I have been painting and redecorating for the past month, and the walls are done (blue sky and water) but the bedspread was the exact opposite of the rest of the room (hot pink geometric craziness). Once we got plain white sheets and a teal blanket on the bed, the room was like a spa comparatively speaking. Of course, all of her toys were now in my room which had already started to make me twitch.
We'll go through the toys a few at a time, and give her some time to decompress before we do even that. I just find this whole thing fascinating - her coming to this place and not only acknowledging it, but articulating her feelings. I know that I like things to be simple, but I can get easily swayed from that path. I'm not sure when I learned that you can enjoy things without owning them, but I know that is the next lesson that needs to be explored around here.