Stuffed Animal Overload and Other Tales - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 01-24-2003, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Question preceding my long post - How many stuffed animals should a 17 month old have? .

Though as I reflect on the post, I'm editing to add that the question may be more about what happens when baby wants you to do something and you suggest an alternative - like she do it herself.

We have a pretty spartan play area - I do a lot of continuum concept type stuff as far as making the whole house and regular activitis a playground.

Dd is working on molars. She's a little undernapped as a result, and also is a little irritable. I'm trying to recover from back pain I've had since pregnancy. Our stuffed animal collection has grown rapidly over the past 2 weeks thanks to the generosity of numerous business associates. Dd loves them all and she is often like a mother cat, carrying them two by two from place to place. The latest arrival, a large fluffy rabbit, showed up yesterday.

This morning, not quite herself, Dd stood among them unable to choose. As she sometimes does, she wanted me to pick them up for her. I have generally rewarded her ventures into communication and showed that I understand what she wants, by doing so, and it's often just one after the other and I'm practically smothered.

I decided I needed to stop doing that because of my back, and I put her on the floor and told her gently that she can pick up and carry the ones she most wants.

She would not pick up a single animal. Raised her arms to come back up. Back up, she pointed to the animals again.

I explained that Mom's back hurts and I can carry her but I cannot bend over at the same time and pick up animals. She was also much more irrtable than usual, I didn't think getting the animals was even really the issue. I think general toddler frustration was the biggest issue. And she may have been upset with me for not being as cooperative as usual. I put some herbal tincture onto her gums, talked to her about how she might be feeling (sort of an Aware Baby thing for those familiar with that - I'll put up a link to a discussion on that at the bottom) and then announced we were going for a walk outside.

After getting into the sling and getting a change of scene, she was much better.

Dd is now napping and I've picked up all but the most favorite of animals and put them in a bag hidden away. I also got rid of toys she doesn't play with anymore, as well as the rocking horse BIL handed down to us, that sits right next to the rocking snail IL's gave us, that sits right next to the rocking chair my mother gave us. The horse was the least nice of all those items.

The room is much less cluttered now. I also cleared off my desk, and several other cluttered surfaces. I'm hoping the improved Feng Shui around here decreases what I think was sensory overload.

So as far as stuffed animals, toys, puzzle pieces, blocks, etc., how many is good?

Discussion of Aware Baby - Frustrated Babies and Toddlers
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#2 of 7 Old 01-24-2003, 05:53 PM
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I don't think any one could possibly answer that question!! Being one of those children (and teenager) that had at least 100 stuffed animals, almost all piled up on my bed! Of course all were my most very favorite and "NO MOM, even though I am now in highschool(college,married) you can't not possibly put them away!!!"

Seriusly, I think too many would be running out of room to store them, overflowing the closets or having to carve a path to walk thru the room. My son has quite a few stuffed animals but has no interest in any of them except his "BB" a stuffed Blue Clues dog. He won't let go of him (her?) during waking hours. The rest just sit on his shelfs of his room. Funny what they get attached to. He never has never had a lovey or a blankey or anything else like that. Lo and behold this little blue dog shows up 3 weeks ago and it was love at first site!

I think you did the right thing by packing away the things she no longer has interest in. A couple weeks/months from now you can do the same thing and bring out a few of the "old" stuff and it will be like new to her. We have a toy basket in the family room that we keep all his cars, blocks, puzzles, etc. If suddenly there are more than the basket can hold we cull down and pack away the things he has lost interest in. This keep me sane and seem to keep him more interested than just mounds of stuff.

So to answer your question, I have NO idea how many is too many. I think only you and your child can figure that one out. I think it can also change quite often. Sounds like your child was cranky and honestly it wouldn't have mattered if there we 4 or 40. Especially, as you said, on other days she would play mama cat to all of them and be perfectly content. So my best advice is to keep doing what you are doing. Sounds like you are a great and very patient mama!

Pardon me while I puke.gif

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#3 of 7 Old 01-24-2003, 07:43 PM
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If they either play with them reasonably regularly, or leave them sitting on the shelf looking pretty, then there is no such thing as too many. It's when they take them off the shelf, throw them on the floor and walk away that there becomes too many. I have 5 large black garbage bags of stuffed toys in the crawl space. It's me that can't get rid of them - some of them are my childhood ones, but still....
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#4 of 7 Old 01-24-2003, 09:45 PM
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My name is LoveBeads and I am an anti-clutter freakazoid.

I absolutely hate, hate, hate all of the junk that DD has gotten over the years. Stuffed animals? She had dozens and dozens. Probably over a hundred.

Luckily for me, my DD seems to have inherited my anti-stuff ways. She doesn't play with stuffed animals (or dolls) and doesn't even love playing with toys. She much prefers blocks, arts and crafts things, wooden spoons on tupperware, and her beloved play kitchen.

So, suffice it to say that I am keeping the homeless shelters, children's hospital wards, and various other charities such as Make A Wish and CASA very happy with a constant inflow of stuffed animals and toys.

Frankly, I find the clutter distracting and anxiety producing.

So why, oh WHY, did I marry the self-proclaimed King of Clutter??? That's a whole other story I suppose....

Maddy Moo - almost 3
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#5 of 7 Old 01-24-2003, 10:41 PM
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Any toys I absolutely object to or are dangerous go to Goodwill. Other than that, though, we rotate. There are times when a box full of out-of-sight-out-of-mind toys is just the ticket for a toddler having an off day. Christmas redux! Sometimes not even the whole box, but a few of them. I keep a large box in the garage, and all but a few absolute favorites do the rounds.

edit: the "dangerous things go to Goodwill" thing didn't come out right. : I mean like non-age-appropriate, not, like, broken and pokey.
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#6 of 7 Old 01-24-2003, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Dd was much better after a very long, very deep nap. She slept longer than I did! I think it helped for her to come out to a de-cluttered house.

LoveBeads - I think it's a karmic thing.
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#7 of 7 Old 01-27-2003, 12:57 AM
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Her frustration may have been over having to choose from so many. I know when I put my daughter in front of her clothes chest and say "what shirt do you want?" she doesn't want any of them. But if I give her two choices (w/ all the others not in sight!) it is an easy decision.

I am anti-clutter too and I can't stand all the little stuffed animals we accumulated. On the other hand, I feel bad giving away what were gifts, so we've hung on to them...for now!
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