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Old 04-01-2013, 10:00 AM   #1
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Mini vent/ question about staying with family

We live out of town so we visit my parents a few times a year. We stay with them. My mom has a bunch of grandkids so she kept a lot of toys, plenty for all ages and for them to play together. Problem is, most of the kids aren't here that often, or they're so old they don't really play much, and there are SO MANY toys. My kids are the youngest. There are so many toys that my kids can't figure out how to put them away because they only fit one way. The duplos, only fit in the Xerox paper box if you stack them in towers and fit them in perfectly. My kids trash the toys over and over because there are so many and then they can't put them away without help. I really don't want to spend my vacation at my parents by stacking up the duplos and putting them away. Every toy they have is loud, plastic, obnoxious. I'm constantly telling at them to shut up and play with something quieter. I don't want to spend my vacation listening to loud toys and yelling at my mom to be heard. I know lots of you recommend leaving the loud Christmas/birthday toys at grandma's house, but the problem is, I'm here too!

Anything I can do? Can I ask my mom to get rid of the obnoxious toys? Put then away while we're here? My kids are the youngest and no one else really needs to be playing with them here either. My SIL has young kids too, and is totally on board with minimalism, simple wooden toys, so its not like she'd miss them either.

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Old 04-01-2013, 10:15 AM   #2
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Re: Mini vent/ question about staying with family

It is your children's vacation too. Let them have fun. Perhaps even you & their grandma can play with them instead of talking in your own corner while shouting at them to shut up.
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:44 AM   #3
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I totally get stressful family visits. My mom doesn't have toy overload, but she's a hoarder. I love her SO MUCH, but it is so hard to stay in her house.

A few ideas. If no-one will miss the toys, how about quietly boxing them up, and putting them in an out the way location. Does she have a garage, basement, or attic? Also, since your kids are the youngest, are there any toys you could suggest donating since they have been outgrown? Perhaps even offering to donate them for her. Frame it in terms of there are so many lovely toys, and you want your children to be able to best enjoy the toys that are appropriate for their age without the other toys getting in the way.

Also, I don't know how long your visits are, buy perhaps limiting their length to 3-4 days. Long enough to get your fill, but short enough you can handle whatever happens

Finally, look into staying at a hotel. It can be hard to spend money when you can stay with family for "free", but when it is that stressful, it may be worth the cost. I don't know about you, but I'm definitely an introvert, and I do really love connecting with my family, but I also really like having my own area to retreat to and being able to decompress at night. You could also frame this in terms of your children if you like, and the need to maintain bedtime consistency. This really is true for us, and life is he#$ if we mess with bedtime.

And finally, are your older girls old enough for a weekend at Grandma's by themselves. They would probably all love it (assuming they're old enough), and you wouldn't have to worry about the toys.

Good luck! It can be hard trying to figure out family. We love them, but living in such close proximity can be a little hard in everyone.
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:50 AM   #4
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Re: Mini vent/ question about staying with family

Let grandma clean them up. If she is able, of course.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:01 PM   #5
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Re: Mini vent/ question about staying with family

Ugh we keep intentionally leaving things at mils when we visit (& I TELL her to donate them if she doesn't want them there) & of course on the weekend we were skyping and she pointed out to dd that she cleaned the bedroom and found ______ _______ ______ ______ in the closet and said she was going to bring them when she comes to visit in 3 weeks. Dude, now I'm going to be the bad guy and have to get rid of junk instead of mil just tossing it when she forgot it ever existed. I just don't get it. When she started to bring it up I said to stop and that we don't want it.

We usually spend 1-3 weeks when we visit. We have the only grandkids.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:57 PM   #6
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Re: Mini vent/ question about staying with family

I would just talk to your mom about the toys and see if y'all can come up with some solutions together. Maybe you could help her go through the toys and get rid of some or find a better way to store things. Perhaps you could suggest some different things that she could get that the kids would enjoy, but that wouldn't be noisy and annoying.
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by badmisterkitty View Post
Let grandma clean them up. If she is able, of course.
This is what I've been doing. I try to frame it innocently like ,'there's just so much that we don't know where to put it and I'd hate to put it back wrong...' I'm constantly telling her about how well the kids play with fewer toys at home and she totally acts like she gets it but then in practice it's like she doesn't care. It's not terribly stressful, just like 'why are you doing this?' I've learned not to let smaller things like that really get to me, but I just wish things would go smoother when we're here. We may start staying in hotels, for different reasons.
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:30 PM   #8
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Could you just box up some of the toys for the time you're visiting and say "this is more than my kids are used to", and just mention the loud toys bothering you. Let your mom know you'll put the toys back in their place before you guys leave.
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:06 AM   #9
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Re: Mini vent/ question about staying with family

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Originally Posted by RainandRedemption View Post
Could you just box up some of the toys for the time you're visiting and say "this is more than my kids are used to", and just mention the loud toys bothering you. Let your mom know you'll put the toys back in their place before you guys leave.
I'd probably go with this suggestion. Or tell her they get sensory overload (probably true!) and you don't want them to be overloaded and cranky while visiting her so you're going to put some away...

My parents have probably 10x as many toys in their house as we do... It drives me bonkers just to visit for a couple hours, if we stayed there I'd go crazy!
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:16 PM   #10
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Re: Mini vent/ question about staying with family

What I did at my mom's was straight up tell her "Mom, John has WAY too many toys here. Got a trash bag, filled it and drove immediately to The Salvation Army." When she got sad, as I was walking out the door, I said "Look at how many toys he has left, some child who has nothing is going to really love this stuff." She knows I'm a minialist. (I purge her crap when she's not looking) And he's my son. I want simplicity for his playroom at Grandma's or we're not going to play there.

Another option is the direct route doesn't work: "OMG! This is the coolest thing eve and (insert kid's name) LOVES it! Do you mind if we take it with us?" I doubt she'll say no. Then you can toss it when you get home Bring a new toy to live at Grandma's house next time you come. It would be slower this way, but overtime you can transform it. Also, unless the kids use every single lego when playing with them, donating a few would help hem be able to put the toys away more easily.
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