It’s official. We lost our family room. It was buried under toys. It looks a lot more like a toy room than a family room, where everyone used to enjoy something. There was a time when our family room was multifunctional with a big fireplace and comfy couches for reading as well as a large screen TV and a couple of video consoles. It has some beautiful photographs from an actual artist and a surround sound that makes my husband cry (with beauty when it works; childish anger when it doesn’t). Pre-babies we even had our DVD collection in there. But times have changed.
I actually can’t think of one room now that doesn’t have a toy in it. The living room has the rocking horse and the tunnels, although the tunnels are folded up for the moment. With finger paint pictures hanging from the walls, the dining room is now where we do art. (Well, we don’t have a real dining table.) The kitchen has a play kitchen and a child’s set of table and chairs. The bathrooms and office have various toys and books. The garage has a small fleet of bikes and cars, three tricycles and two cars to be exact. Even our bedroom hasn’t escaped the twin tornadoes, I have a basket where I throw all the toys they leave in our room.
But the family room took the biggest hit because that was where I wanted the bulk of toys to be. I figured if I had to give up one room it might as well be the family room, where I can keep an eye on them when I’m cooking or trying to watch The Daily Show. My boys are young, so I can’t trust them to play in their rooms up the stairs without my supervision, so I just made an area for the toys. Actually my mom made an area because I was content to give them a wall. She actually angled the love seat so the boys would have a corner to keep their toys. The amazing thing (ok, not so amazing because she’s an experienced mom) was they kept most of the toys back there, preferred to play back there. It was perfect.
Then Sean and the coffee table fought, and the coffee table won. We rethought our options. Because we had a beautiful train table given to us by our favorite neighbors, I figured it was cheaper to use that than by a comfy ottoman. So I cleaned up the table, from sitting in our garage for a year, and added a river and a road to the surface, covering it with layers of schlock. I placed it where the coffee table used to be, and the boys were drawn to it like the table was really a toy. Just look at how high you can build a tower of blocks on an even, hard, flat service. Look at how well the cars move, and look at the Lego land you can build.
As I surveyed the room, I realized it was the toy room. I could move the horse back, but the boys would probably fall and crack their heads on the brick hearth. I wouldn’t want to clean that up. Since the hearth stretches across the whole wall at seating level (yes, it looks pretty stupid and ugly), I can’t even move the kitchen into the family room. I could almost believe my husband when he says the boys have too many toys. But I snap to my senses and divide the toys by two and shrug.
Well, they’ll be old enough one day to have this all in their rooms, and I won’t have to have every toy in sight. I guess I’ll go back to daydreaming about the grown-up living room that I promised my husband we could get. A nice coach, recliners, and an ottoman for just in case. I’ll let him put the plasma he wants in there, but I won’t budge on the video consoles. One toy room is plenty.