When our twins were infants, I read somewhere that the average American toddler has around 150 toys, only a fraction of which she actually plays with. I scoffed self-righteously, sure that our children would never be so pointlessly over-indulged. After all, when I was a kid, all my toys fit in one little trunk. There were probably dozens of them, at most. Certainly not hundreds. My wife claims to have had even fewer toys than me. And most of them were sticks and rocks.
But as our girls approach their second birthday, this is what their playroom looks like:
Then there’s the nursery, which I won’t post a picture of out of fear that someone will call in a hoarder intervention on our household. There’s a dresser and a wardrobe that are chock-full of baby clothes in there, as well as several plastic tubs of clothes that are either too big or to small for the girls.
And shoes! Good Lord, these kids are twenty months old and they already have more pairs of shoes than most grown women. Shoes are a big part of their lives. In fact, the younger twin’s first word was “shoe,” and now both of them can say “shoes” in three languages.
It would be easy to blame this acquisition of stuff on our consumerist society and the ubiquity of advertisements that cajole us into running out to buy the latest gadget or outfit for our little darlings. But it’s more complicated than that, and maybe less nefarious.