My children have a serious mental illness. I feel that it is time to bring this out in to the light – as to look at my children you wouldn’t guess of the disturbing problems lurking just below the surface.
First, some history:
My children love toys. All kinds of toys – mostly of the doll and accessory persuasion. This includes Polly Pockets, Little Ponies, Board Games, Puzzles, Dress Up Clothes, Play Jewelry, any form of small plastiform figurine that enables fanciful play. How they play with these things is a bit different.
DD1 will play with Littlest Pet Shop, or Polly Pockets, or Barbies. While sometimes the Barbie’s take the Littlest Pets out for walks, usually the doll-like toys keep to themselves. Board games are her weakness. She CANNOT leave the pieces to a board game alone. Especially the figures one might use to move around the board. She’s drawn to pieces of board games like a magpie to anything shiny.
DD2? Hers is a mix-and-match world, a theme that permeates from her wardrobe to her diversions. She is a veritable blender. A few of the Polly’s might invite two or three kids from Little Einstein to an outside chalk drawing festival… and bring some Littlest Pets, tangled plastic jewelry, and stickers along to add to the fun! She is a girl that needs a little variety for her imagination to kick in. She not only likes pieces and cards from board games, but loves to carry around 3 stray puzzle pieces at any given time.
The thing my children do have in common regarding the toys? I’m sad to say but they both have Compulsive Dissociative Relocation Disorder. (CDRD) I know. It’s shocking. Their constant obsessive need to relocate pieces of toy groupings, board games, and puzzles pieces to different areas of the house is difficult to live with. On top of that, they also suffer from a subset complication of this disorder known as Depository Impulse Control Difficulty. (So that we’re clear: now we’re up to CDRD w/ Inclusionary DICD) Here is how the illness manifests itself. Not only do they relocate small and various pieces of every single toy set, board game, or puzzle to different parts of the house… they then unconsciously stuff these pieces in whatever backpacks, fuzzy play purses, pockets, boxes, drawers, etc. that might be available. And then relocate them again so that there is now stuff hidden everywhere.
I have lost my temper on more than one occasion. When sitting down to play a game of Mystery Date / High School Musical Version we might open the box and only find SharPei in there. No Gabriella or the other two girls from the cast they threw in so that a family of 4 could play. This causes my blood to boil. Everyone knows that I am ALWAYS Gabriella during Mystery Date! Where in the world is she? (Oh, right! She’s by the computer so DD2 didn’t get lonely during Phonics. Silly me!)
What brings me to this shocking revelation (about my daughters, not my love of Mystery Date) is that, after not paying attention to the household chores for a few months, I was finding Polly shoes, Pony accessories, Barbie shawls, bracelets, rings, key chains, etc. everywhere I went. Open my nightstand drawer and find the cat belonging to the American Girl, go to the bathroom cabinet for a roll of toilet paper and find Austin of the Backyardigans hanging with Woody the Disney cowboy. (I make no judgments, btw.) While folding the laundry, that has already been washed and dried, having ONE plastic clip-on earring fall out of the pocket of someone’s jeans. (I stop for a moment of prayer that the other one isn’t melted to the back of the pair of khakis which Husband is presently wearing at work.) It was ruining our lives, as mental illness often does.
I had to take control. With the help of the children (well, DD1 helped. DD2 sang songs and got in the way), we took every single toy in this house to the Grand Ballroom. (I don’t really have a ballroom – but I insist on calling it that because the lack of living room and dining room furniture could make a girl feel inferior if she’s not careful.) We FILLED the Ballroom. Then? We started to sort. We set up bins, and as we emptied out anything that could be used to store any small item, we tossed them in to bins.
Can I tell you that my greatest victory was that I found EVERY LAST TINY CHERRY to the HiHoCherryOh game? (All 40 Cherries are in their re-discovered small plastic buckets.) That is a feeling I won’t soon forget! I can’t guarantee all the Polly’s shoes have a match, but I wasn’t willing to empty the vacuum bag to find them, and really? DD2 prefers mix and match. Barbie’s stuff is all together in one carrier. Polly’s world is all contained in one big blue bin. All the plastic pretend cell phones are in one box. All the Littlest Ponies are corralled. The Kelly Dolls and their thousands of tiny accessories are sleeping under the same roof tonight in their dollhouse thanks to our hard work. And? I can play Mystery Date with my children with a smile on my face because we located every single piece and card to that game. Even Candy Land is complete – and I wasn’t sure we’d EVER find that Queen Frostine card again. (It is one of DD2’s favorites.)
DD2 decided that she has outgrown all things Dora – and that in itself had to be over 500 pieces of hard plastic that I no longer have to step on as I walk through the house. The Care Bears are also retired – but not the stuffed ones. Don't even suggest we give up a stuffed animal. (However, stuffies don’t relocate quite so easily, so I’m actually all right with that decision. Baby Steps.) I’m glad that I won’t ever again look over at the roll of TP and see two-inch tall plastic Funshine Bear waving at me and wishing me well in my endeavors.
Bad news is, until they hold a telethon and find a cure for “Dodi’s Kids”, I’m stuck with two children who have CDRD w/ Inclusionary DICD. A Plastipsychosocially unacceptable disability that carries much stigma and discrimination.
So when you visit? Be kind. Living with mental illness is a curse… and every day I don’t find stickers stuck to my clean laundry and hair ribbons stuffed in toothpaste tubes is a small victory. God forbid it ever get as bad as it did in Spring 2008: The Spring of our Vanishing Sanity here on Lisbon Court. (Our sanity was found, however, in a pink faux-croc handbag in the dress up clothes box.)