Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A clean sweep

'This is so much fun, I love spending time with you. Can we do this again?
Heartwarming words heard from my 8 year old over the holiday season. On which particular occasion did she utter them? The shopping and lunch day (s)? At the work party I took her to? New Year's Eve with friends? Day out in Leeds to see 'Annie' (brilliant, brilliant, if you are near Leeds go while you still can). Cuddled up on the sofa watching films and eating chocolate? Nope. Yesterday as we cleaned out her bedroom.
She's not blessed with the tidiness gene, my daughter. Tiptoeing through her darkened bedroom to kiss her goodnight is like tackling a booby trapped assault course, blindfolded. I warned her Father Christmas wouldn't be able to find her bed to leave a stocking - only of course he did, bringing lots more clutter and mess into an already stuffed full room. And then she spent a night with her friend and saw just what a tween bedroom could be. Dressing table, illuminated mirror, swivel stool, minimalist sixties dollhouse. No clutter
So yesterday, the first day I didn't achieve my 'at least 500 words a day goal', we went on a tidying spree. Goodbye two thirds of her soft toys. Oh the anguish as we deliberated whether or not to keep baby dronkey (from Shrek). He stayed but Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger were cast aside. All her dolls, the big pram, high chair, their clothes - gone. Not my two dolls of course, they went back into the attic along with the small wooden pram and cot. All the babyish games put aside: 'I think I'm old enough for grown up scrabble now' as were a tip-full of broken felt tips, crayons, filled in colouring books. Goodbye to the Disney princesses, Bratz (yay!), Gabriella, Giselle, Eric and Robert leaving a mere 8 Barbies and 2 Moxie dolls, Eric from Aladdin and Toy Story 3 Ken complete with his paisley shirt. Playmobile, Lego and Sylvanian all stayed but the clunky doll's house furniture made for small pre-school hands went.
Now I have to make a trip to the charity shops after I donate the dolls and large pram to the local playgroup and say goodbye to the first part of her childhood.
It's never easy sorting things out, discarding, moving on. Whether it's toys, clothes, books or words. 'Kill your darlings,' advises Stephen King but you love those darlings, worked hard on them, they make you happy! But sometimes you have to move on, put them aside. I can never kill mine completely, I cut and paste them into a separate document and save it 'just in case' just like my old dolls and the wooden cot have gone back into the attic, just like I still have her first pair of patent, purple campers, her christening dress and the outfit she wore her first day home. After all, they're not just a little bit more clutter, they're memories.


Julia Broadbooks said...

My girls still have their Bratz dolls. And the American Girls dolls. And the Pooh and Tigger, Piglet and Eyeore. At least they are all packed up in a box on the top shelf of the closet.

Alexandra said...

It's so hard to let go of their babyhood. I finally gave my girls' baby and toddler clothes to charity just over a year ago (my children are now 16 & 11 years old), and I cried so much as I went through the bags and bags of stuff. It's a part of their lives that has been and gone and it was tough to say goodbye.

Charlotte Phillips said...

This really takes me back a couple of years to when we decorated my 13yo's bedroom and I tried to whittle down her zoo-sized collection of cuddly toys. She eventually agreed when I said I'd keep them in the loft for six months so she could be sure she'd done the right thing. Over the six months 70% of them crept back into her bedroom and probably 25% are still there now. I don't mind though, what with her Superdry obsession and new request for blonde highlights (I don't think so!!) I wish 13 was still what it was when I was that age - I'm sure I was still wearing Pooh Bear T-shirts.