The lost toys
For Cecilia’s first Christmas, I bought her a wooden, ring stacker. All of the rings are different colors, and there is a red ball that sits at the top. It reminds me of a Rudolph nose because it has a hole in it where it connects with the wooden base.
What I mean is – there was a red ball at the top, and it used to remind me of Rudolph’s nose. Because that ball is lost. Haven’t seen it in months.
That poor ball. I imagine it, among misplaced blocks and off-course game board pieces, sulking in the Lonely Land of Lost Toy Pieces. It’s akin to the World of the Sock Monster’s Captives. Next door neighbors, those two places.
Believe it or not, the red ball that belongs at the top of the ring stacker is one of the lost toy pieces about which I don’t feel so bad. Why? Because I bought it.
C.C. has a picnic basket shape sorter my mom bought her. It came with a blue square (blueberries), red heart (strawberries), yellow triangle (cheese), green circle (apple) and a cloth, checkered “blanket.” While each of the pieces has been lost at one point or another, the blue square is currently missing. And I carry around guilt about it. What if, when my mom comes to visit, she realizes that the blue square is gone? She will surely be upset.
Mike’s mom has bought our children many great puzzles over the years. In a blog about lost pieces, I’m not sure I really need to write much more about puzzles. Except – those poor puzzle pieces. Actually, wait. On second thought, I bet puzzle pieces are the largest populace in the Lonely Land of Lost Toy Pieces. However, maybe puzzle pieces are even more miserable there than other lostlings because they are all from different families, trying to cohabit as the majority in a land of orphans.
With the stacker and the sorter and especially puzzles, I am positive that my children notice when parts are missing. And I fear their childhoods will be marked by constantly yearning for the lost toy pieces, tainting their dreams of having perfectly neat rooms and play areas.
Then there are things like Mr. Potato Head and Play-Doh sets that have lots of pieces, so if one or two get lost, the children might not notice. BUT I DO. I notice, and the guilt chips away at me, trying to convince me that everyone notices. That the lost toys equal something more, that they say something about me, about my parenting. Maybe they do – that I’m disorganized, that my house is cluttered, that I’m raising scatterbrained, disorganized toy losers. I don’t know.
“Do you ever worry about the lost toy pieces?” I asked my husband.
“What are you talking about?” he asked back, his brow furrowed.
“See how this stacker is missing the red ball at the top? Doesn’t that BOTHER YOU?”
“No. I have never once worried about that. I’ve never even thought about it until just now. Now that you’re mentioning it.”
Shoulders slumped, I walked away, convinced that the red ball and the blue square and Mrs. Potato Head’s earring and the Transformer’s arm are assembling with all the others in the Lonely Land of Lost Toy Pieces, plotting the day when they will band together with the Sock Monster’s Captives and besiege my messy house.
And actually, that might be the best day ever because I will not have to go through this neurotic thought process ever again. All the lost toy pieces will have reunited with their families and all of the socks will have their mates again and all of us moms will stand on top of the dryer and scream, “Ha! I have finally conquered the SOCK MONSTER!”
But, no, it will probably be the worst day ever because the day before will have been the day that I conceded and threw away all the toys that were missing pieces and all the socks that were without mates. And so, the storming of the inhabitants from the Lonely Land of Lost Toy Pieces and the World of the Sock Monster’s Captives will just be another dumping into my never ending drop zone.