Coming from my daughter, this was a riot! Getting her to pick up her playroom is like getting politicians to agree on a budget. No matter how much I negotiate, cajole, bribe or force, it still end up being me doing the majority of the work.
I was all prepared to let the statement pass by as the obvious ploy it was, until she suggested I use it as on overhear. Huh! Was there more to the statement than trying to foist another clean-up onto me? It made me wonder.
As I considered it I realized that in a weird way, I do kind of like putting things away. It is very rewarding to put all the little plastic Polly Pocket pieces into one bin, and the Barbie clothes into the other bin. I love going through her craft box and purging old stuff and organizing her feathers, stickers, yarn and markers.
What I don’t like is trying to figure out where things belong. What about a picture she has done… should I keep it or toss it? If I keep it, where does it go? Will I even care in a year that she signed her name in cursive with a little curly-cue on the end filled in with hearts?
And what about the toys that don’t have a logical home… where do they go? I can’t mess up the well-ordered bins with them, but they don’t fit anywhere else (unless it is the garbage).
In a way I think this is what she meant by it being difficult to take her toys out… It is not like she dumps out one bin and then moves on to another simply in order to make a mess. Toys are placed in their locations carefully and thoughtfully and imaginatively. Barbie clothes might form the basis for a store that the Polly Pockets run; while an old Cinderella carriage, like a bus, brings the doll-house people from their home to go shopping.
When I think of it this way I realize that I can relate to the challenge of creating stories like these. It is not much different than what I do when I am in the creative stage of my writing. Of course at some point I then have to organize and reframe things into their logical bins…. Figure out what content doesn’t fit in the story and purge it… or find a way to save it for future use.
So, really, both are challenging in their own way; rewarding too, but still challenging. Seeing the taking out and putting away as two very different endeavors can help make each a bit more rewarding and fun. Certainly, when I have attempted to control the mayhem made by the creative stage of my daughter’s playing by telling her she can only take out one bin at a time it has ended with a much abbreviated playtime.
And this, then, is my writing lesson for the day: Creativity is hard enough work without also taking away the fun and freedom of using the full range of our imagination.