living tidy avec le toddler

 Living with a babychild has the potential to turn your living room into a disaster area, but it also doesnt have to--babysitting, I witnessed the full spectrum of toddler-inhabited communal space. Ive never liked the look, or implication, of a room filled with piles of discarded plastic doodads. Its not like they own the place, after all. But at the same time, I hate the idea of a child not feeling as comfortable or as welcome in the living room as the rest of the family; they cant help that they like to play with plastic doodads all the time, and why should they? Theyre only sweet babies, after all! With Felix, Im determined to find a happy medium, wherein my obsessive compulsion to achieve a clutter-free state and his many childish flights of fancy are mutually inclusive.

So far Ive figured out two ways of aiding this goal, the first being toy-managment or, to borrow a term from my new professional bakery jargon, merchandising. That is to say, most of Felixs toys live in his room, but I incorporate a frequently rotating selection throughout the living room. That way he never gets bored of the things he has around in the common area, and we dont have to keep buying him new junk to pique his playtime interest, but the house still stays relatively toy-free.

Second, and perhaps more crucially, Ive developed a new rule, which is that I allow any two things to be happening at once, toy-wise, on the floor. For example, if Felix was playing with blocks, but then got bored and wanted to play with his trucks, its fine with me (Im working on it being fine with me) that he not immediately tidy up the block mess. If, however, he moves on from trucks to drawing, then something needs to be cleaned up. This way, he (hopefully) doesnt feel constant pressure to put things away, but the house isnt covered in a mess all the time, either. So far its working well... I just wonder how things will progress as he gets older?

Ive also found that Felix is a lot more gung-ho about having a clean house if I let him help me clean it. He loves to help me windex the coffee table, sweep the kitchen, put away the laundry, and return blocks and cars to their respective receptacles. He really is a pure sweetheart, and the tidiest boy in town!

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