My 3 Year Old Minimalist

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“Nooooooooo…” My three year old sat there, starting to get frustrated as I stalled. “All done with lion!” Now he was starting to act desperate as he held out the plastic Madagascar toy expectantly. “Nooooooooooooooooo!”

My son hates Happy Meal toys.

Don’t get me wrong. He LOVES Happy Meals! The last time we pulled into McDonalds he reacted cheering, “We’re going to McDonalds today! Thank you, Mama! Thank you very much!” But after he eats his food (usually every bite!), he carefully examines the toy for a moment and says, “Nooooooooooo… All done…” Then waits for me to throw it out with his empty juice box.

I think my son is a minimalist. But that’s just one example.

A few weeks ago, I came across a really neat, really high quality Lightning McQueen plush toy. It was the right size to be nearly perfectly scaled next to the Tow Mater Pillow Pet he’s slept with every night. All this, AND he was on closeout for only FIVE dollars! I was so excited to gift the new toy to my son so he could unite these two “best friends.”

When I pulled out Lightning McQueen, he was OVERJOYED! (My son is obsessed with the Cars franchise.) But when we went to nap time, rather than uniting what I thought was a perfect set, he said, “Noooooooo Tow Mater!!!!” handing me his Pillow Pet.

I tried to reason to him, “But don’t you want Lightning McQueen AND Tow Mater? They go together, Sammy!”

“NOOOOOOO Tow Mater!!!” He started getting visibly upset. For a few nights, I did my best to reason with him, but Tow Mater lay exiled in the toy box and Lightning McQueen became his new pillow. Keeping two plush toys in his bed was simply unacceptable to my son.

See what I mean? Hard core minimalist.

Those of you that follow me on Facebook and Twitter, know that for the past couple weeks, I’ve been making huge strides toward streamlining our home and removing the excess. I’ve said I’m making our home minimalist, but that word is wide open to interpretation!

I gave myself 15 days, using my Chaos Control Cycle as a guide. Three days on my dishes and kitchen, three days on our laundry, three days on my bathroom, three days on our bedrooms, and three days in our living/dining room. With my time limits set, I devoted myself to evaluating every last item in our home… down to the last bobby pin! Last night, we dropped our last bag off at the Goodwill–leaving our home with probably less than half its original contents. Now I’m living with the aftermath, and frankly, I’m not sure what to do with myself.

I remember feeling like it took hours to clean and minutes to get it all dirty again. Now, cleaning house is a 20 minute venture, and I don’t know what to do with the rest of my day! My husband and I have always had trouble remembering to put our things away, but as each room has become minimized, the remaining items seem to naturally land in their appointed homes.

This is weird. It’s a whole new reality to settle into. My husband is thrilled. My 8 month old has been showing me an uncharacteristically zen-like calm. And my three year old…?

I was working in his room last week. “VRRRRRRRMMMMMM, VRRRMMMMM….” He shifted gears has he raced a big yellow Tonka truck through our apartment, stopping where I was throwing away all the stuff in his room. He paused. He stood up from the truck and looked around the room, hands on his hips.

“There you go!” He paused. “Much better!” And with that, he returned to his truck and zoomed away.

I guess that means he approves.

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