The other day Son wasn’t listening when we asked him to clean up his Lincoln Logs, so Husband told him that if he didn’t clean them up he was going to take them away.
I stood there and shook my head, knowing that this would be no incentive at all. Because Son doesn’t get attached to his toys.
He enjoys them. He plays with them. He particularly loves his trains and cars, but more as a class than individually. There will be periods of attachment when a particular toy goes everywhere with him. But these periods are always short-lived, and no deep attachment forms to a specific toy.
This made no sense to me. I’d always seen evidence that kids form strong attachments to their toys. Many of the parents I know clean out playrooms and toy boxes only when their kids aren’t home in an attempt to avoid the histrionics that would be inevitable if the children knew their toys were moving out.
Not so here. I found this out the first time I tried taking away a toy as a consequence for not cleaning up after himself. He could have cared less, but I don’t know how. Over time I tried different ways, but whether I took away one car or one hundred, for one day or five it just didn’t matter. At all.
Huh. He’s not attached to stuff. Who’s not attached to stuff?
Guess who helps me choose toys to give away? Guess who has talked him into keeping toys?
Now, as we’re getting ready to put the house on the market I find myself asking him if we should keep this serving dish, or that tablecloth, or the other dustcatcher.
He’s all about relationships, not things. It’s not important what he plays with, it’s just important that he plays.
I’m forty-three. He’s four. And he learned the lesson first. And had to teach it to me.
Really. It’s humbling.
Now if I could just get him past his urinal obsession…