It’s no great secret that babies come with more ‘stuff’ than you ever thought a teeny tiny 8lb person could possibly require. I don’t have anything like minimalist tendencies (too many hobbies and a serious book-buying habit), but even we were surprised when the first overnight visit with a newborn Kitty required enough accompaniments to completely fill the boot of our car.
And those of us with toddlers know that whilst the bits and bobs themselves change, the volume most decidedly doesn’t.
Elma will happily sit in front of any bag, bucket or shelf within reach, systematically unpacking it, giving each little doodah a careful chew, and abandoning it in her wake, and between the play kitchen, the jigsaw puzzles and the Duplo, Kitty has more than enough small pieces of plastic with which to swamp the lounge.
Sometimes it’s overwhelming, usually shortly after I’ve trodden on yet another Duplo brick in bare feet, or stubbed my toe on a solid wood play cupcake. I look across the floor and wonder when I’m going to find the time to get it all sorted and organised, whether I’ll be too submerged in domesticity to have time for the things that I find the most fun, and whether I will ever find the missing socks in all of this chaos.
But those moments are fleeting.
Elma has been doing her settling in sessions at nursery this last week and I distracted myself from the horribly empty house by decamping to the studio to sew up Kitty’s birthday dress. Most of the time I could persuade myself that Elma was just upstairs having a nap, but when I walked back into the lounge and everything was still tidied away from the night before it sunk home how much I miss that mess when it’s gone.
Because it isn’t really mess; that’s the big picture, the adult view. From Kitty and Elma’s level it’s a zoo, a picnic, a bear hunt, or in this case, Princess Ginger’s garden, with a bedroom and a turret for her, and a bedroom (with slide) for Ariel. There’s a swing for Ginger, a gold chair for Ariel, and coming down the slide is the train driver who’s pulled up outside, ready to take them on a expedition to eat their sandwiches.
It’s their creativity, their imagination, all laid out in tiny pieces of plastic.
So although I’m still trying to figure out how on earth to organise it all so that the girls can get to their toys during the day but I can scoop them up easily at night (and if you’ve got any ideas that don’t involve Mary Poppins and a spoonful of sugar, let me know), for now I’ll be the one on the floor trying to find the missing piece to build the fire station.
Let chaos reign!