get organized (before it all turns to excrement)


For now, a photo will be my thousand words. Shown here: Sofas for snuggles, a basket of stuffed you-name-it’s, a puzzle table doubling as storage for baby doll toilets and bottles. Apparently they do shit where they eat. What lives beneath puzzle land: aside from babies, there are proto-feminist icons, including Ariel of Little Mermaid fame. Yes, the very one who literally gave up her voice for a man. Then there are the more practical items: the pink feather boa and fluffy sequin-studded phone, for instance.

Next, we have the Arts & Crafts “center,” as Luke likes to call it. I dared, for now, to leave crayons and kid-friendly scissors within reach. If they try to cut their own hair, it will be an improvement on their most recent butcher jobs. There’s a chalk board, a roll of paper, bins of construction paper, then Mama’s got the real goods like rubber cement, googly eyes, pompoms, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, contact paper, glitters, glues, cotton balls, and a loaded flask all within my reach. The paint? Downstairs, away from our stained carpeting, and near our new sofas. I’ll say it. I’m brilliant.

play room organization
Our playroom. Luke has taken to calling it “The Hive of Activity Room.” He’s fancy like that.

If we still lived in New York, the “Train Center” would be the subway, and costuming would be done in my closet. I’ve asked my New York girls turned hot mamas how they manage, just with all the stuff that comes with kids, and their solutions are all the same. They’ve gone ahead and kept their apartments, deciding to expand them… by buying houses in the Hamptons. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy space!

Our Austin “Game Room,” as deemed by real estate brokers, consists of a Train Center, Baby Doll Center, Music Box. Kitchenette, complete with roaring grill that won’t SHUT IT. The puzzle table also includes actual, ya know, puzzles, and lacing beads, and a corset (never too early). For the puzzles, I keep all the pieces for each in their own zip-locks. As to nurture all of our inner construction workers + future architects, the wooden blocks, plastic comb shapes, and Legos each have their own bins beside the tools. And balls. After all, men with balls always want to fix things. When all we want to do is feel heard. Any more stereotypes? I’m here for you.

I’m most fond of our little Book Nook—with its individual club chairs and plush area rug, for when you’ve had a hard day and need a proper shagging. Speaking of which, a full length mirror is next, added to a beam near the “Costume Center,” which, may I remind you, is indeed a drawer. Need to work on getting Luke some good dress up clothes. As for the sensory toys for sifting + sorting, for all water play, sand, and such, we brave the elements, even here, where, so far, in our yard, we’ve discovered: a skunk, a coyote (and a neighbor with a shotgun), two tarantulas, new baby birds in their nest, scorpion (plural), a Bud Light Big Ass Bullfrog, many cottontail bunnies, roadrunners, hummingbirds, and many Bambi orphans.


  1. Two of my babies moved to out to attend college a this week, and now I’m standing in the detritus of years of such careful mothering. The once-essential purple chalkboard easel complete with buckets of fat chalk have been moved along to the church rummage sale. The stuffed animals, who once each had their own personality, name and even preferred menu, are in big plastic bags waiting to go to the YWCA. The endless barbie dolls (in various states of having retained or lost their body parts), and the zillion legos that have caused great pain in the middle of the night when I was sneaking in to make sure the babies were breathing – on their way to other homes. Seasons change. Enjoy each one.

  2. Maria Montessori, born in 1870, was the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree. She worked in the fields of psychiatry, education and anthropology. She believed that each child is born with a unique potential to be revealed, rather than as a "blank slate" waiting to be written upon. Her main contributions were in these areas:

    Preparing the most natural and life-supporting environments for the child.
    Observing the child living freely in this environment.
    Continually adapting the environment in order that the chid may fulfill his or her greatest potential, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

    Her theories are most often used in pre-K and K classes. These ideas work best for disadvantaged and for relatively low functioning children.

    My grandson attended a Montessori Kindergarten. I visited to observe. I was appalled at how little direction and instruction the children were given. They tended to just do the things they liked to do with very little teacher involvement. Personally I would not recommend such a classroom environment.

  3. *Puts on wildlife expert hat*

    “Abandoned” fawns are often not abandoned at all. Their moms hide them while they forage in the same general area. Due to sprawl, those hiding and foraging place are often residential areas. If you spot a fawn, just keep away from it. Chances are excellent that if you check back in an hour, it will be gone. If you see a fawn in the same area for a full day with no sign of mom, then check for wildlife rehabilitators in your area and follow his/her instructions.

    *Removes hat, fluffs curls & returns to real life*

  4. I’m inspired to create a playroom for my son. He’s eight weeks old. He’ll grow into it, right?!

  5. I finally got around to cleaning out my grad school daughter’s childhood closet last weekend. I laughed and cried at some of the things that were packed away in the endless stacks and mounds of once cherished belongings. I sent cell phone pics of some of the more sentimental and hilarious items as we commented back and forth. It was hard work, fun, sad, and exhilarating to get it sorted/stored/thrown out/given away.

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