My house seemed so much larger before all the toys took over. It was manageable with one child but even with only two kids (compared to larger families), my house feels like it’s busting at the seams with toys. Where did all these toys come from? I sure didn’t buy all of them.
I did a toy sweep before the holidays hit, just so I wouldn’t be tripping over new and old toys. I packed seldom used ones in boxes down the basement, to bring out on a rainy day when they would seem brand new. I sorted babyish toys my two girls outgrew to sell at an upcoming consignment sale. McDonald Happy Meal toys that we’ve had way, way too long got tossed in the garbage (shhh, do not tell my children). The final pre-holiday sort was donated to the local Salvation Army. The payoff for the toy sorts and reorganization was empty spaces I hadn’t seen since 2005 under the bookshelf cabinets in my living room/playroom.
Eight short weeks after Christmas my oldest child turns 7. When she was younger and not in school her birthday parties were rather small. Now, the trend seems to be inviting the whole class to birthday parties. No problem with that; I know her classmates from volunteering in her class and they are a great bunch of kids. But the birthday presents ... where am I going to put them? I’m not complaining — I realize it’s a fortunate problem to have. It’s just that I want to feel like I live in an actual house instead of a toy store. I’d like to walk across the living room without rolling my ankle on the myriad of Squinkies littering the floor.
I came up with a solution and you’ll think I am either brilliant or awful. How about a Bookworm Party? Before you go all Mommy Dearest on me, let me tell you one of my daughter’s absolute favorite things to do is reading. She is known to spend an inordinate amount of time reading in the loo (that just sounds so much prettier than the potty, or worse ‘the can’. The British really know how to make ordinary human functions sound so much more elegant than they really are). Similarly, if she’s reading in her room and she’s called to dinner, chances are high she will be walking down the hallway with her nose in a book. I proposed the idea to her and she liked it. I was on my way!
To go along with the reading theme, I made invitations that looked like library cards. Initially I wasn’t sure how to request books for presents. I’ve never told parents before what they had to buy for presents and I didn’t want to appear controlling or rude. I needed to get my message across in the sweetest way possible. So, I composed a rhyme and put it on a bookmark I made on my computer.
To complete the bookworm theme, I plan to fill goody bag treats with pencils, erasers, and candies like Nerds, gummy worms and Smarties. If there is space and time at the party, kids can design and decorate their own bookmarks.
So I’m thinking this Bookworm Birthday Party seems like a win-win for all involved. My daughter gets more of her favorite things, gets smarter, and I can freely walk across my living room floor.