Our living room floor is almost always covered with toys–usually some type of action figure of my four-year-old son’s as well as some random baby toys–and walking through it is like trying to step through a minefield. Sometimes there’s so much stuff scattered around that we just have to clear space, for instance, so baby G can use his walker. It’s all part of the general disarray of B’s enormous collection of toys. He will frequently ask me to help him find something–like all his Captain Americas–and I will use the opportunity to point out that if he were to put his toys up (man, I bet that’s annoying) we’d know where they were.
So far, it’s seemed to have little to no effect, but then randomly Monday evening we were sitting on the living room rug in the midst of the chaos when out of nowhere he said, “Let’s clean up,” and for the next few minutes–with me joining in–picked up all his toys, putting his action figures in the “men” bucket–“There’s an incredible investment of money in there,” I thought to myself–G’s stuff in his respective container, etc., until the living room looked almost pristine. Then it was off to bed for both of the kids. The next morning, it was amazing to come downstairs to a completely clean room. I briefly mentioned it to the old lady but then dropped the topic, not wanting to jinx whatever spirit had come over B. I just hope it returns.
Even though it was more than 30 years ago, I vividly remember the time I walked into a room to see my baby brother chewing on the head of one of my superhero action figures. I was pissed because most of the paint was gone off the head of whoever it was, Batman or Green Lantern, I don’t recall. They were the ones from the 1970s that were eight inches tall with hollow, rubber heads, perfect for a baby to chew on as it turned out. My parents tried to calm me down, but I fumed as my dad laughed.
This memory comes back to me a lot now as I watch B’s baby brother occasionally snatch one of his men–like Spider-Man or Cyclops here–off the ground and stick it in his mouth. I’ve tried to warn B–partly in an effort to get him to pick up his toys but also out of solidarity with a fellow big brother–that he better put up his action figures or they will be devoured by a little baby looking for something to gnaw on.
At the same time I take a little secret satisfaction in the Schadenfreude of it all. It happened to me so it should happen to B, too. And like my dad, I can’t help but chuckle a bit. G has no idea what he’s chewing on nor what an offense he’s committing. It is a little funny.