toddlers in toyland: that’s one to grow on

I am all over the place–not just my clothes pulled from a suitcase, littering my closet floors, or the weave of words in this post, or even my travel schedule, or hair. I’m a blur of thoughts and to-do lists, and even as I type this, I know it won’t come out right. There will be too much to say, that it will be more precise, cleaner, if it’s all split into neat little sections, drip-fed throughout the week in a series of digestible little posts. So that’s exactly what I’ll do. I’ll be palatable, and throughout the week there will be posts about interior design solutions (when I find them), friendship, travel, work schedule, the guilt of being a mother, insomnia, activities for two-year-olds, Moose paperback design, TV projects, and martinis… all packed in. But for now, it’s a list. There’s only one way to properly procrastinate, and I find it begins with a list designed to keep you from procrastinating. A "That’s One To Grow On" list because when I feel craptastic I look for order and then make shipping orders. Which is what I’ve done here. I’ve done this before.

Because wouldn’t you rather the magic markers be magically where they belong instead of between your sofa cushions? Organization, toys, and other necessities of a magical home life with toddlers. Now if only I knew where to put it all. How exactly does one go about dividing the space of a playroom into "spaces" for different activities? I know there’s a science behind it. That a playground, for example, needs to be mindful of different heights, of including a water feature. There is a rhyme to all the design reasons and it has nothing to do with Little Boy Blue or a cow jumping over a moon. Where does one go about painting on an easel amid wall-to-wall cream-colored carpeting? Come kids, let’s go hang out in the garage.


See more of my toddlers in toyland list >>



  1. When I was little, my mom frequently made use of spare vinyl shower curtains – laid them out underneath my little brother's highchair at dinner time, spread them on the floor to make LEGO cleanup easier, etc. The no-fuss, infinitely washable drop cloth. Classy? Not so much. Functional? You bet. And play-dough was only allowed on the patio. I have to say, I don't envy you trying to maintain cream-colored carpet in a playroom. To be honest, if it were me, I'd just tear it up now and save myself the inevitable heartache. Go with pre-finished wood floors and throw down some area rugs to minimize the bumps and bruises. As for organizers – nobody does it like IKEA.

  2. Who would have thunk it -that "to do" list many of us write up is actually something that is the root cause of procrastination! Now that I ponder that revelation, I can definitely see the truth in that! Now, the next step is to get that message across to my daughter -who is a list maker big-time, even more so than I was. (I kind of gave it up other than occasionally doing a "To bake" list maybe before Christmas or my shopping lists I do write every now and again.
    And, with small children -or larger kids -or even adults -if you ever do figure out an easy-peasy way to get things organized, please, please, please be sure to share it with me first! I've been trying to figure that out for more years than you've even been on the planet and all to no avail, it seems!

  3. When my son was small, we had a large basement room that was his playroom. I used shelves in different areas of the room to hold the items that were to be used in that part of the room. It worked pretty well. I didn't even invest in pretty shelves, just bought the utilitarian metal ones like you'd find in most folk's garages. We also had the wonderful easel and paint. I searched the Lakeshore catalog for paint pots that are almost spillproof. They really worked well.I also bought a few painters plastic drop cloths…they are HUGE and CHEAP. You can cut them in half, put under the easel and then throw the mess away when they are done. They work well under water and sand tables, too. I tried to stress that we only got one thing out at a time, and to my great surprise, it usually worked! We also had a Brio train set and a set of huge cardboard bricks that he could use to build castles and forts. Trust me, you'll cherish these big toys when your son becomes the action figure fanatic that all little boys seem to become at some point. Those little plastic pieces are murder on your bare feet!

  4. All right Miss Thang, what we'd really like to see is how you and Phil are going to get some help. No lists.

    Seriously, you lose your credibility as a writer to post topics like the major dramz you wrote about last week, disappear, then come back as if nothing ever happened.

    Is this a pattern?

    FROM SK: Are you kidding me? I put a piece of it out there, then head back to LA for work (as documented in my twitter feed), then change the subject because I can in fact deal with more than just my relationship at one time, and I get a "you lose your credibility as a writer" comment? Come now. I'd hope people get that my life and the airing of it cannot be full-throttle all the time. There's a lot to digest and deal with, whether it's baby steps or baby furniture.

  5. You just made me laugh until a little something came out of my nose. I love the captions you wrote. For the puppet theater…"Things to do while kneeling." Oh, behave. And I'll never look at a developmental block the same way again: "'Cause it's really never too early to learn how to tie a corset or unhook a bra." Ha! Thank you for being you.

  6. The garage decoration is a grand idea. The key bit is that you or Phil as a parent will be with them. My theory is give them your undivided attention daily and the bells and whistles are just extra fluff.

  7. Have to agree with bestmansgrl. What happened after your blog post spew? Seeing as we are who you vent to thinking we deserve to hear the dirt!

  8. While looking at your toddlers-in-toyland-list I`ve just found out that your qualification is "being a hot mama to girl/boy twins". It isn`t that you are not, but how can you describe yourself this way? I´m looking forward to get on your level of self-esteem one day…

  9. Simone that was a c$nty thing to say. You look forward to having self esteem? Nice way to soften the insult. If you had esteem you wouldn't feel so threatened/bothered when someone toots their own horn. Snaps!

  10. My my some of you have a little too much time on your hands to be moaning groaning and complaining about whether or not Stephanie gives an update on her previous posts. She can post about her marriage and life as she likes – it's her blog. It's her story and she can tell it in her time. And yes she is a "Hot Mama."

  11. i didn't see simones comment as mean at all. the reactions to it yes. maybe i missed a tone or something, but it just struck me as a regular comment.

    some folks would never call themselves hot or beautiful publically, and for them stephine's confidence would be worthy of remark.

  12. Simplify your life. You have too much stuff, too much house, too much money and it's driving you crazy trying to manage it all. Your stuff owns you, instead of the other way around. Donate a bunch of clothes, toys, cooking utensils, and scrapbook stuff to a foundation that provides things for the less fortunate. Unclutter you life, Stephanie Klein.

  13. This may be late as I was on holiday, but I have to put in a comment as I saw a picture of the Ikea kids' chairs: don't get them, they fall apart easily! For all other kids stuff I love Ikea, their organizers, stuffed toys and their awesome colouring paper rolls & desks.

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