I am fairly sure EldestGirl is going to grow up to be a hoarder. She wants to keep everything that ever passes through her sticky little hands – not just the crappy McDonald’s toy (no, of course we never go to McDonald’s) but the Happy Meal box, plus any packaging. Not only does she want to keep the knock-off My Little Pony she got in the pound shop, but she wants to keep the cardboard sleeve with dodgy spellings and grammar on as well.
This doesn’t sit well with me, a recent convert – albeit, not fully realised – Marie Kondo afficionado. When she was younger, I used to tell EldestGirl that we could only keep McDonald’s toys for a week, then they had to go back to McDonald’s to be in another child’s Happy Meal. She doesn’t fall for this any longer.
She doesn’t get cash-in-hand pocket money per se (a certain amount goes into a savings account for her each month), but I do offer her the opportunity to “earn” cash for little jobs for me. So she might get 20p for helping me to sort the laundry, or pick the toys up (if it’s not a mess she herself has made!), or wash the floor. With this money, you can see a real struggle in her for her desire to save for the bigger item she always wants, vs the immediate crap sold by Poundland. At her age of not-quite-five years old, Poundland always wins.
Every couple of weeks, when she’s out at nursery, I do a raid on the playroom and get rid of the most useless bits of plastic: the yellow tub from inside a Kinder Egg, an empty roll of stickers, a colouring book with all but two pictures coloured. She hasn’t yet noticed anything has gone, but I fear we’re not far off. She is becoming more and more organised, and it’s only a matter of time before she starts cataloguing her belongings.
Last week she was off to nursery for the day. She bounded into our room as her Gro-Clock went off. I was still drowsy, surfacing from sleep.
“I made you a to-do list!”
“Wha..?” a piece of paper was rudely shoved into my hand. I sat up. “Aren’t you off to nursery today?” I asked.
“Yes, Mummy,” EldestGirl explained patiently. “That is why I have made you a list of jobs you need to do before I get home.”
“Fix the Matilda picture on my wall,” she said. (She has a decal which was peeling off slightly) “And wash Toby.” (Toby is her much-loved bear, only allowed to be washed once in a blue moon. Clearly that day was a day of blue mooniness.)
The thing I’m most annoyed about is that it actually worked. I completed both tasks on my list. “Well done, Mummy,” said EldestGirl. “I will give you a sticker for doing good work today. If you do good work again tomorrow, I will give you another sticker.”
To be fair, it’s the most positive appraisal I’ve had for a while…