She can count too.

Last night we began tackling The Wilderness that is my daughters’ bedroom. I knew for certain there were two beds and floor in there, so I tied a rope around my waist, hooked it around the kitchen table (in case I got lost), said a prayer and just jumped in.

I’m not a mom who has a lot of restrictions on what kinds of toys the girls can have, but I do have a few. Two years ago I threatened to disown any family member who bought either girl another stuffed animal. It worked. I can only recall two stuffed animals received in the last two years. And wouldn’t you know their father purchased those. It’s not like I can disown him. Of course, this restriction does not apply to carnival prizes, because given the choice between taking home a stuffed animal and a live fish, we’re going stuffed toy all the way. And this also does not apply to gifts from our neighbor Betty, who is just too old and too sweet to expect to follow such a request. She treats my girls as if they were her own grand-daughters, and we love her.

Anyway, over the last two years I’ve given away two huge 50 gallon trash bags of stuffed animals and others in smaller, less noticeable quantities. We still have too many, but at least our exports have outpaced our inports.

Last night I discovered another toy surplus, and I’m going to have to put the family on notice. After cleaning out from under the beds and the closet (I didn’t even try to sort through the toybox), I counted eleven bags/purses. Eleven. I included book bags, mini-suitcases, purses, and backpacks all in that category because they are all bags. I lined them all up in a row, sat Little Miss G down (because she is the one who is so passionately attached to her things), and counted them with her. Gently, as I didn’t want to start An Ordeal right before bedtime I said, “Don’t you think eleven bags is an awful lot for one little girl?”

“No,” she replied in all seriousness, “They’re for two little girls.”

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I stand corrected. We compromised and decided that four bags can stay upstairs and the others will go downstairs. Of course we don’t know yet how many bags are already down there.

I did make it out of the room alive. We didn’t finish, but we got close enough. John has earned, for about the one billionth time, my eternal devotion and gratitude by volunteering to clean the playroom tonight.

As you can see, this is no ordinary housecleaning chore. I’m thinking of renting a search and rescue dog just in case he can’t make it out alone. Someone has to stay behind. For the kids.

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