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#1 of 22 Old 03-26-2002, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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do your kids have?

We have finally decided to stop whining about our kids having too many toys, and took things into our own hands. My boys get terribly overwhelmed by too many toys and a lot of imes, they will just dump a bin of toys and then go on to another one, not even touching anything in the first bin.

So.....we have decluttered(we have decluttered a lot of our own things as well, this was not just sacrifice on their part!)

We are now down to:
1 wine crate of Brio trains
1 wine crate of wooden blocks
1 med sized rubbermaid tote of board games and puzzles
1 round laundry basket of baby toys
1 shelf of books(somewhere between 10 and 40 total)
1 shoebox of duplo blocks
1 large yogurt container of little legos
1 desk drawer of cars and trucks(mostly wooden some matchbox)
1 desk draw of brightly colored wooden blocks
1 misc desk drawer, mostly little tykes people and overflow cars
1 good sized erector set
1 milk crates of art supplies
1 roller coaster(thhe thing with the beads and the wires in a maze)
a few stuffed animals
1 basket of baby board books
1 really cool canal with working lock
1 good sized wooden airplane with 3 people
a few little brain building puzzles for my kinesthetic learning 3 yo
1 cozy coupe
1 wheel barrow
1 tote full of tonka trucks and shovels for outside digging
a few real tools and yard equipment
1 bike
1 trike

And that is about it. Not too bad for three little boys. I really felt guilty about the books at first. They used to have this book shelf FULL of books. But, I realized that they were not looking at half
of them bc it was so overwhelming. ANd I realized that we go to the library every week and check out 10 or 20 more books adn sometimes we would not even look at all of those. And then I remeberd that when I was a kid, I had very few of my own books, but I had a library within walking distance, and I grew up with a love of reading. So, I pared down the shelves!

They havent even asked for anything we got rid of, and they are so much calmer and more imaginative these days!

So, what's in your toy box?
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#2 of 22 Old 03-27-2002, 01:38 AM
 
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how inspiring!!! we have our Toby's first birthday coming up and the toy issue has always been a big one. I will only do wooden and cloth toys but some family members just don't understand why....the reason, of course, is because these toys usually don't overstimulate. I work at a preschool and have observed that usually children play well together until a plastic toy is introduced, and then they get into fighting over it....just an observation. Toby prefers to play with pots and pans and dirt rather than his toys anyway! I'm personally going to put a lot more energy into making my garden toddler-friendly and less energy into shopping this spring.
I also just read an awesome passage ina book called "wonder child"...I'm papaphrasing here, but it basically remarked on how we try to preoccupy our children with material possessions...even babies.....how we put bars of silly things called toys in front of their faces when they're in strollers so that we can "entertain" them and have time free to go about the all important business of aquiring more material possessions !! boy, we train them early, don't we?
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#3 of 22 Old 03-27-2002, 09:35 AM
 
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We have no space in our apartment,so I try to keep stuff to a minimum.I bag up all the stuffed animals(they don't play with them anyway) and all the stuff she doesnt play with.I'm always surprised by how few toys she actually plays with,she'd much rather do whatever I'm doing!!
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#4 of 22 Old 03-27-2002, 10:05 AM
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We had a guest from Daghestan (ex-USSR) here last month and I found that I was embarassed by the number of toys our dd has. And it's not much. There is one table in the living room with her dolls and blocks and one bag behind the couch. She has way too many dolls and stuffed animals (12), which people gave her when she was born and for her 1st birthday. The only ones I would keep are the 2 baby dolls and 2 old-fashined puppets from Lyon (the puppet capitol of the world!). But then, I hate the idea of getting rid of things people gave us on such special occasions.

My dh is very minimalist and he says she doesn't have too much. It just seems like she is just as happy playing with pots and pans. Maybe when we move to a house I'll have a good opportunity to get rid of some things.
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#5 of 22 Old 03-27-2002, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have finally gotten to the point where I do not feel bad passing on gifts. Someone else will receive pleasure from them, and my children will be happy bc they do not have them to be overwhelmed by them.
We plan to write a letter to all of our family and friends just explaining to them that our children are abundantly blessed and easily overwhelmed and so, while we really do appreciate the sentiment and love the fact that people think so much of our kids, we ask that they sened no more toys. Art supplies are welcome, as well as pictures of the sender and things that mean a lot to them(most of our family live far away, so my kids would love to see life from other perspectives) Also, stories written up, or told into a tape about that person. Otherwise, sending presents to as shelter in our kids names, or savings bonds for them
I havent gotten brave enough to do it yet, but I really need to bc I hate to have these people spending hard earned money on gifts that we do not need and end up giving away
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#6 of 22 Old 03-27-2002, 12:10 PM
 
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i agree with you about the letter, we need to do that. ds has SO MANY TOYS!!!! it drives me crazy, especially since he's only 8 months old. he can't play with most of them anyway. his gps think he's deprived if he doesn't have all these toys. they live far away so i'm guessing they think they are compensating for never seeing him. and when we said they gave him too much, mil thinks we should save them for our future kids! we don't even have the space now, how would we with more kids? we told them to save their money and come visit him so he would actually know them, or to spend the money on savings bonds or to save for college. we've started packing up all of the toys to give to a shelter. we want ds to grow up with an imagination, not just waiting for some toy to entertain him. i better go get busy then
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#7 of 22 Old 03-27-2002, 01:10 PM
 
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What an inspiring thread! I often feel (and my mom often says!)that dd has too many toys. Here's what my almost 13 month old has:

1 laundry basket full of toys
1 big tub of baby lego
1 medium tub of wooden blocks
about 10 books
1 FP "corn popper"
about 5 stuffed animals
1 pull toy
1 Little Tikes kitchen
1 FP crazy ball blaster

Can you tell it was just her birthday?

I am inspired to pay attention to what she's not playing with and start to at least rotate her toys if not to give some away outright!
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#8 of 22 Old 03-27-2002, 01:31 PM
 
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My dd (5) has alot of toys. Most of them are wood, open ended types, we don't have alot of plastic. She has TONS of books and we read alot. The thing she has the most of (that I said I would never do) are stuffed animals!! Big ones, small ones.......but that is how she plays. They are patients when she is a doctor, need rescuing by Kate the firewoman, mommy puppies bive birth to baby puppies.....they each have a name! Occasionally, I try to thin them out, but she know where they came from, and they are part of a set in her mind (a quickly expanding set as family members knows she loves them!!)
I've accepted that they are a part of her childhood and we'll reclaim our house in about 15 years!!
Heather
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#9 of 22 Old 03-27-2002, 06:55 PM
 
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Sometimes I wonder if I am the only mom in the U.S. who worries her child doesn't have enough toys. We just don't buy them and though we have two sets of doting grandparents, being 3000 miles away limits the number of gifts we receive (At least from a bulk point of view - shipping just isn't practical.)

She has one laundry basket of toys and one shelf of books. She plays with the same few things over and over, gets stuck on one or two books at at time anyway, and mostly she likes to hang out with me and do what I'm doing, so toys have never been a priority for her or us. Sometimes when we go over to friends houses and she seems the multitude of toys and gets so excited, I wonder if maybe we should buy more.

So how do you know if you have enough toys?
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#10 of 22 Old 03-28-2002, 12:34 AM
 
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We have way too many!! We are dealing with four sets of grandparents here. My parents tend to bring them some dorky little toy every time they visit and it drives me crazy. We have so many little things that I'm going to go through and pitch. We're talking about all those toys you get in every kids meal from any restaurant nowadays. Aargh!!!

You should have seen what my mom and stepdad bought my kids for Christmas. If they were the only people besides us buying them gifts it would have been one thing, but for goodness sake, Christmas is a zoo for us with presents coming from all directions. It almost takes the fun out of us buying the kids toys because I have to think of enough things that I think the kids would like so that I can tell everyone, because they only want to give them toys.: I told my mother that we were going to get a membership to the Children's Museum because the kids love it, thinking that she would get the hint and get them that for Christmas. No, instead she decided that would be what she would get my DH AND ME for Christmas. My kids got toys, and dh and I got jipped.

We do rotate them every couple of months so it isn't overwhelming. When I think realistically, we don't have anymore than most people with a preschooler and a toddler.
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#11 of 22 Old 03-28-2002, 02:09 AM
 
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When I was a college student, I spent some time studying in Nepal. I had a homestay in a village about a half-day's travel from Kathmandu. (One hour on a bus, and then four hours of walking.) There were three little boys in the family I stayed with -- the youngest was four or five, and his older brothers were seven and nine, I think.

They had almost no toys. I'd brought some odds and ends to give as gifts, and in particular I remember I brought a superball. Just one of those two-inch hard rubber balls you can buy for 50 cents out of a gumball machine in the U.S. This thing was a HIT with the little boys. They didn't own any other balls, so they played soccer with this one. (Normally for pickup soccer games, they'd make a makeshift ball from tied-together weeds -- really.) I recently reread "Little House in the Big Woods," and Laura talks about playing with a balloon made from a pig's bladder -- like Laura and Mary, these kids truly enjoyed the little superball in a way that most American children never enjoy individual toys, because they have so unbelievably MUCH.

If I went back for a homestay, I'd bring beach balls to give as gifts to the kids I was staying with. They pack in almost no space since they deflate. They'll work better as makeshift soccer balls. I think if I'd given my host family a beach ball, I could go back, ten years later, and find that it was still being played with by children in the neighborhood, who would have carefully patched it each time it developed a hole.

Anyway. How many toys does my dd have? Too many. It's as much my fault as my parents, and the reason is pretty simple -- childrens' toys are so CHEAP. What does she play with? Dishtowels and the pots in the corner cabinet : She does LOVE her books, though.
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#12 of 22 Old 03-28-2002, 06:14 PM
 
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My sister-in-law is from Thailand. She has a son who was 5 when my brother met her. She told my brother that her son would take a toy that he had been playing with that day to bed with him. My brother (thinking of the mound of stuffed animals and cars that my son chooses from to take to bed) told her that my DS did that too, and asked what kind of toys her son brought to bed. She replied, "Oh, a spoon or something like that..."

Really made me evaluate the status of DS toy collection... and wonder if I totally ruined DS by allowing this to happen. Will Motherguilt ever end?

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#13 of 22 Old 03-28-2002, 07:05 PM
 
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Well we did really well until the first Birthday/Christmas. Ds birthday is the end of Oct. In fact he only had 5 or 6 baby toys, every other gift toy I exchanged towards something we NEEDED for him. Now he is 2.5 and I sit in his room and wonder where the heck everything came from and how on earth do I get rid of it? I did go thru and declutter and organize, putting toys he has never played with, cheap (happy meal) toys, and handme down toys (generally plastic junk from cousins) in my yardsale box. I cleaned all the baby toys out of his room, cleaned them out and packed them away for the next baby. We will be moving in a year, so I think I will wait until then and do a major cleaning out and selling/donating of the toys. I was smart at Christmas and told my MIL that we just weren't going to be able to move tons of toys (we are military) every few years so, we would like it if Jacob got clothing, money for college fund, or pieces to the Target wooden train set, music, books, or puzzles. She did a good job for us, everyone who wanted to get him toys got him train pieces or puzzles. I felt like he had a good christmas, everyone got him a gift they liked and we didn't end up with a hundred new toys. Next year I will be asking for art supplies, not sure what else yet, I suppose I will have to pick a set of something for the toy buyers.
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#14 of 22 Old 03-29-2002, 01:29 AM
 
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Dd will be two next week. We did great until we found a thrift store with quality toys. Still we aren't too bad compared to a lot of families.

Dd has a box of stuffed animals and dolls, a box of other toys (cars, trains, balls, wooden blocks, musical instrument toys, connecting fish, ect), a small container of crayons with scrap paper for drawing, a FP home sweet home, and a few puzzles. Our overboard area is the bookcase of books. But she really loves the books.

We make good use of local play areas at libraries and museums. She gets to explore larger more complicated toys there. We try to stick to small, simple toys at home.
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#15 of 22 Old 03-31-2002, 11:31 AM
 
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WOW! I was wondering the same thing and was going to post about it (good thing I looked before I typed!). You all have such great ideas.
I really like the idea of the letter about how blessed your children are...I think I will try that this upcomming hoilday season.

We too had a huge purge in our house just after christmas. I ended up givin a lot of brand new toys to the womens shelter because I couldn't return them to the store (I usually end up getting rid of or taking back 75% of the stuff). No one listens to my requests for no battery operated plastic toys. I have a hyundai station wagon, and had to take the car seats out and make 2 trips to the good will! In addition to the carful to the womens shelter! This was just toys and crap! Our stuff we got rid of was only one carful.
We just came back from my ILs. Ds got (for his belated 4th) some very nice things! Much to my surprise....he was given a 6 ft bi plane kite, (more for DH I suspect ), a all terrain skate board thing w/ a helmet, and a computer game. Thats it! How wonderful! Maybe DH told them about our purge.....
We have kept~
all the out side toys (trike, car, front end loader, play cube, 6 playground balls, sand box and sand toys)
A dozen stuffed animals...my Ds plays with these everyday
about 2 dozen books
a crate of brio train
a box of legos
a box of wooden blocks
the big ugly plastic monstrosity of a kitchen and it's ikea pots & pans, and all the wooden food and utensils
One basket of baby toys
All of the musical instruments the kids have
A cubboard full of arts and crafts
kids yard tools and garden stuff
about 20 wooden puzzels and shape sorters
the sit n spin
the doll house people and furniture (the house got broken)
and a basket of assorted little people w/ the farm (the old one that doesnt light up or make obnoxious animal sounds) and their trappings.
WOW i guess it looks like they still have a lot! But, compared to other kids we know they are deprived.
Thanks for sharing what you really have !!! I feel so much better now.
~Laura
ed~ Oh yeah, and the ball popper DH and I gave DD for her first b.day! Such a cool toy, it looks like a gumball machine, you pull the lever and the balls pop out. Then you put them back in the top. She plays with this and the wooden shape sorter everyday.

The Tabbie Family; DH , DS , DD , a few :, a couple : and me.
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#16 of 22 Old 03-31-2002, 11:45 AM
 
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PS mamaleah~
it sound to me like you child has just the right amount of toys!
~laura

The Tabbie Family; DH , DS , DD , a few :, a couple : and me.
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#17 of 22 Old 04-01-2002, 12:38 AM
 
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We really have too much too, but compared to a lot of people I know, it is not that much.

One thing that is a pet peeve of mine is all that junky stuff (i.e. Oriental Trading Company) that kids get in birthday party goody bags and other occasions--for instance they just got a heap of stuff at Easter Brunch. I mean like those erasers that don't even erase anything?! Please! Now when I do have birthday parties (only every other year) I just give sugarless gum, a few pieces of candy and some money. I also won't get the kids meals from fast food places anymore. Only if it is really nice--like once it was legos.


I'm constantly trying to pare down, but my oldest daughter is a real pack rat and hates to part with anything. I try to put stuff out of the way, and if no one asks for it for several months, I give it away. Now, that my oldest is almost 10 though, I have to be more respectful of her things, even if in my mind it's just a pile of junk.
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#18 of 22 Old 04-01-2002, 11:34 AM
 
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We have tons of toys it seems considering they never get any except for Xmas and birthdays. I don;t buy them any and let them get their from relatives. We have TONS of Legos which doens;t bother me because I think they're very creative. We have a container of Brio train stuff which only the youngest plays with anymore. We have the Rescue Heros, Max Steel and Action Man assorted. Lots and lots of matchbox cars. About ten really big trucks. We also have 2 bins of dress up stuff - leftover clothing from dh and Halloween. Those are the big things. We also lots of other smaller things floating around.

The toys don't really bother me but electronic games (Gameboy, Playstation, computer games...) really do. DH got them Gameboys for xmas this year and it is huge problem. They have to limited to 1/2 hr per day. Toys are at least creative and you have to use your imagination, the electronic stuff is just like tv.

3girls 1boy is right about the little worthless stuff. That's the first stuff I throw away.

Some people wrote about natural toys. My feeling about that is that it works until they are old enough to make their own friends. At your kid's birthday party, you'll be terrified by what other people give them. When my oldest was for 4 yrs, someone gave him a Tornado gun, it "shoots" rubber band instead of bullets! We threw it away that night.
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#19 of 22 Old 04-02-2002, 02:12 AM
 
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3girls1boy - I know what you mean about grab bag junk! I hate it! I hate happy meal toys, though I let ds get them, I hate cheap toys that my inlaws buy because they feel they need to get him something. Mostly I hate dollar store type junk! I hate it so much that at his own birthdays (1st and 2nd) we have picked out board books for each guest and put a little note in it for the adults. Goes something like this, "Reading is so important for my development. I hope you enjoy this book that I picked out for you. Please read it to me or to another child in your life. Thank you for coming to my party. " So far we haven't had parties with kids, mostly family and a few other babies. Next year when he turns 3 I think the party favors will be books, bubbles, crayons, we'll see if it ends up being other 3 year olds or just family. I know I make my sis in law nuts, her kids are 5 and 6, and I only give them toys that require adult interaction (mostly because I think it would be good for them to sit down and play together, the parents and the kids) I send lots of craft kits and the like, with lots of beads, paints etc. I think she takes them and puts them away because she pulled out one kit I had sent for birthdays in the fall, the following spring when I was visiting and said to me, "here, you do this with them" : well, at least we had fun together.
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#20 of 22 Old 04-04-2002, 12:16 AM
 
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Ditto on the grab bag toys and the "happy meal" toys! Yucko! As for the erasers, she uses them as "food" in her kitchen, LOL!

We have:

-wooden stove/sink and refrigerator
-assorted pots/pans/dishes/kitchen acessories
-child sized broom/mop/dustpan set that fits between the kitchen set
-wooden dollhouse with furniture/dolls/accessories
-trunk of stuff for pretending (doctor's kit/costumes/jewelry, etc.)
-dresser drawer with child-sized diaper bag/doll accessories
-dresser drawer with art supplies
-dresder drawer with games and puzzles
-laundry basket of dolls and stuffed animals
-child sized tea table and stools/tea set and silverware
-one small tin pail of musical instruments and a guitar
-two shelves of books (!)
-child sized art table and easel
-one bag of wooden blocks
-hippity hop and tricycle
-one crate of sand toys/balls/outdoor toys
-swingset
-gardening tools/gloves/kneepad

SMC to Sophia, age 15, and Eleanor, age 9, and mother hen to too many nursing students to count!

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#21 of 22 Old 04-04-2002, 04:18 AM
 
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I struggle with the too many toys thing, too. Grandparents are out of my control! I finally got across to them (for the most part) the concept of wooden, natural, open ended toys but now I have a ton of really nice wooden toys that are too expensive & nice to throw out. They are nice toys but there are just so many!

I got rid of a ton of plastic stuff when we moved but it's time to purge again! It gets more complicated when your babies get older! My oldest ds is 6 now & he would miss things & look for certain toys if I got rid of them. I feel really guilty/strange about getting totally rid of something that doesn't really belong to me (belongs to ds), even though it's in his best interest. I usually just sort of phase things out quietly & then pack them up in boxes in the garage or storage (unless it's something really aweful like those kid's meal toys...they tend to just...disappear soon after they arrive).
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#22 of 22 Old 04-04-2002, 09:37 AM
 
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I've really been de-cluttering since ds #2 was born in January. I think ds #1 (nearly 4) is getting paranoid bc yesterday I went into his room to put a stray sock away and I had a plastic bag of rubbish in my hand from another room. He came rushing up from the living room and asked me what was in the bag and what was I doing in his room! Poor guy. Every time he turns around another toy disappears. Today I saw him looking over the bags of stuff waiting to go to the charity bins to see if I'd taken anything of his without asking.

Then again, a couple of weeks ago he came up and said brightly "let's get rid of some toys today" and picked out 3 bags worth of stuff he didn't want anymore. Then when he was done he asked to go to the toy store, so there goes my excuse for not buying anything (ie you have too many toys) I've subtley slipped into the "it's not your birthday" excuse since it's coming up next month.
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