Monday, May 10, 2010

The Frustrating Part

I have a lot of dreams about the toy library. They often involve decapitated toys strewn around the room. I don't know why... The other dreams involve children heartily dumping out bags after bags of toys. That one is more of a nightmare to me than the first one.

One of the big rules in here is to clean up after yourself. It is also the rule that is most broken. I am trying to figure out a way to fix it... Especially since school is ending soon and thus begins our super busy season. Apparently me telling kids "only one bag/toy at a time" or "clean up!" doesn't work. There are two reasons why this is officially a problem.

Problem number one: the boss lady has actually commented on the "mess" twice. I am slightly ashamed of that. I am a pretty good about keeping on top of the things she comments on so she doesn't have to mention it again. Problem number two: it is a never-ending-revolving cycle of mess. I clean it up, put the bags happily back onto the shelf and the next day, or an hour later they are back on the floor all sorts of mixed up.

I want children to come in here and have fun... and the fact that I worry about them playing with more than one toy at a time shouldn't stress me out. But all I can think about every time I see a child dump out a bag full of toys is not being able to find matching hamburger roll pieces when I have to put the toy back together in the bag. I spent 10 minutes looking for a matching set or forks, knives and spoons.... don't even get me started on trying to separate puzzle pieces.

 I have a wacky work schedule here, two days of week I am here for seven hours. and two days I am here for three. On the long days I usually get about two hours of quiet project/clean-up time. The morning is busy with groups + families and once the kids get out of school (around 2 pm-3 pm) I can't get a whole lot more accomplished. I have to pay attention to what they're doing and saying.

So during my discussion with boss lady about "the mess" for the second time in over 4 years I couldn't come up with an immediate solution. Because not letting children come in here to play to their heart's content isn't an option. It's what this place is meant for...


  1. We have a tiny fraction of the toys you have (I'm at Webster PL), but we have some of the same frustrations with them. It seems like we're constantly picking up, like they're always everywhere. It's hard to be patient--no different than having a kid at home, really. They need to play and be messy, but we adults need some order so we can take care of business. Sometimes I enlist the help of older kids to help me pick things up, most especially the puzzles. It's a nice way to connect, and the kids usually seem kind of proud and pleased that I asked for their help.

  2. You could always use our new 3 strike rule for running...1st warning walk back and start over, 2nd warning...READ for 15 minutes! Looking forward to Wednesday.

  3. @Adrienne, I have tried the whole connecting/ cleaning up with the kids thing. I usually get an endless string of "I didn't do that" or "she played with that after me". I let them play and be messy and I have a wonderful page who cleans up the general "mess" on the play room floor. I realized problem is mostly I let my job get in the way of my job. I have to make this place looks pretty, so I can't play with the kids.

    @Pat, see you later today!!!