When David and I first moved in to our own home it was filled with a mish-mash of furniture. Things people had given us paired with Ikea specials. We were so pleased with our little house and over the years we made it perfect.
One by one the hand-me-down furniture got replaced with plush settees, sleek units and beautiful objet d’art. We had cream carpets and bedding. It was spotlessly clean and surfaces were clear of clutter.
When we had Harriet, we quickly realised that our little two up two down wasn’t quite big enough to accommodate all the stuff that comes with a baby. The clear surfaces slowly started filling up with sterilisers, blenders and all sorts of paraphernalia. The once spacious kitchen was half occupied by a gigantic jumperoo that we had to squeeze around. As for the cream carpets… let’s just say they didn’t stay cream for long.
I informed everyone that Harriet would have tasteful wooden toys that matched our décor and beautiful patchwork teddies that would sit at the end of the pristine cot… Of course this doesn’t happen, as your small child grows so does the amount of shit you have to accommodate, mostly it’s plastic shit… unmissable plastic shit.
Firstly, at Christmas and birthdays, people who you thought were friends start to buy your child gaudy plastic toys, normally noisy too with flashing lights. Harriet wanted to play with those, not the wooden train or patchwork bunny. Often the shiny noisy toys would get ‘lost’ or ‘run out of battery’ very quickly… who knows how??
The cot got covered with Frozen stickers and felt tip. The amount of cleaning I did halved. Mainly due to parental guilt, also to do with being knackered.
When Harriet turned three we decided it was time to move into a bigger property so we could reclaim the room we had lost to plastic kiddy shite. The new house had a bigger garden, a second lounge and an
extra floor. Surely she couldn’t fill this.
After 18 months the house was full. We have a lurid pink play kitchen in the lounge. A huge craft chest stuffed next to the settee and more wicker baskets than I can shake a stick at. They are full of cuddly toys (which loom at you from all directions), dressing up clothes and board games. I’ve also found out that the general rule is – the bigger the child gets, the smaller the toys become. My Little Ponies live in their plastic castle surrounded by their minuscule accessories. Lego gets scattered around all three floors and you always miss a bit when tidying up. You find it when it jabs in the foot when you are going to the loo at 3am. Carpets are never really clean again as they have been embedded so deeply with glitter and play doh.
Then there’s Shopkins (which I refuse to buy, but there you go with presents again…) tiny plastic pieces of crap that look like shopping. How mundane – there will be toy gas bills soon! Then party bag nonsense and free gifts off the front of magazines, all designed to break, get lost and litter your once beautiful home.
The bigger garden is now dominated by an adventure playground. Harriet’s Daddy built it with love and she’ll play on it daily, but it does mean I have to avoid the slide when I’m pegging washing out and sunbathe below the monkey bars. Navigating my garden has become like a physical challenge from the Crystal maze !!
I’d already like to move in to a bigger house, but actually I know the shiny plastic crap would come with and just breed to fit it (Shopkins are randy little buggers!).