The person who conceived of Shopkins, the miniature anthropomorphic figurines in the shape of adorable food items, is a sadistic genius. (I just found out her name is Jacqui Tobias). These microscopic toys are not only expensive, but the brands' survival is built into the product. If by some grace of God your kids are able to hold onto these toys, they will clamor for the newest models when they release them seasonally. If your kids are like mine, however, they will be lost within a day and demands for replacements, so loud and insistent, will begin immediately. Next time you're at Target, they'll whine as they pass the toy aisle. They'll never let you peruse the sock aisle at your leisure without the Shopkins in their hands, so maybe you buy them more in the hopes that they'll hold onto them this time. Sadly, this is impossible. These newest Shopkins will be lost by the time you get home and the cycle will start all over again. It's by means of this infinity loop of despair and torture that Moose Toys has taken over an entire aisle at every big box store. While I hate the havoc she's brought into my life, I can appreciate Jacqui Tobias's brilliance.
Tiny toys will be my downfall as a parent. For Darla, they're just an absolute waste of money since she loses them immediately. A day after losing them, she doesn't even remember she had the miniature item in the first place, so it was as if we never bought them. Jude, on the other hand, has a mental inventory of every toy he owns. And not just the big toys he gets at Christmas. He remembers the tiny spider ring he got when he went trick or treating or the small whistle he got from a goodie back last summer. With such a large inventory to consider, Jude has a hard time keeping track of it all. Every day, he asks me to hunt down some small lego person or a micromachine he lost a month ago. His new nickname is "Needle in a Haystack" because he always wants me to achieve the impossible and hunt down these items from the middle of a tornado of toys in his room.
While I appreciate that he thoroughly enjoys his toys, this constant tracking down of missing items can wear me down. I'll be putting him to bed and he'll ask for his miniature Spiderman. He'll insist he won't fall asleep unless he has it next to him. He starts screaming when I say no. I leave the room and we have a standoff. He wails and I pretend I don't hear anything. Eventually, I go in and find the toy because his crying is like nails on the chalkboard.
This process, unfortunately, is entirely my own doing. The first time he did this, I explained to him that the little motorcycle he was looking for was so small that I wouldn't be able to find it. He insisted I could. I told him I couldn't. He asks me to try. I sigh and search to prove my point. The only problem is that I found it almost immediately, which proved to him that he was right and I am always capable of tracking down every item he requests of me. From then on, the argument that I won't be able to find the item is useless. He has complete faith in my ability to track down even a small lego sword. I wish I could go back in time and kept that motorcycle unfound so he would know how hard it was to track down small toys.
It has taken some time, but we're currently in the process of breaking him of the habit of requesting that we find all his missing toys. I tell him that if he wants to keep all his toys, he has to be responsbile for knowing where they are. If he doesn't, then the disappointment of losing items will be a good life lesson; one that I have learned over and over again (once when I accidentally threw out all my clothes, once when I threw out designer sunglasses thinking they were my broken drugstore ones, once when I lost all my shoes, etc...). It's an importnant lesson in impermanence and non-attachment to material items. Or, at least that's what I tell myself when I'm feeling too damn lazy to look for his little Lego police car.