Daughter finds room for stuffed animals

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

No endangered species inhabit Bailey's bedroom. All of her stuffed animals are doing just fine. It's the bed that I worry about.

It's hard to find her bed beneath a mountain of stuffed animals. It's her own cuddly animal preserve.

As a child, my wife, Joni, practiced the same turn-the-bed-into-a-zoo approach.

But I had hoped Bailey, who is approaching age 9, would have outgrown her stuffed-animal menagerie by now. That hasn't happened.

Bailey insists that she has no problem getting a good night's sleep even though stuffed bears and other assorted critters leave her little room to stretch out.

I have trouble sometimes even telling if she is in the bed, buried beneath all those cuddly animals.

Bailey's bedroom is crammed with more than stuffed animals. Various dolls and doll clothes are routinely found piled on the bedroom floor.

Trying to organize her room is a parenting nightmare.

Parents are forever trying to figure out why their children's bedrooms seem more like disaster zones than human shelters.

It doesn't bother Bailey. She seems to thrive just as long as she can find her Buddy Bear before she climbs into bed for the night.

Of course, that isn't always easy. It can get lost in the shuffle when your entire bedroom is full of assorted stuffed animals that seem to be grazing all over the place. They can't be relegated to a single shelf.

At least Bailey's hermit crabs don't get lost in the crowd. Unlike the monkeys and bears, the crabs are real. Fortunately, they're in a plastic tank so they can't get lost or stepped on.

While Bailey's room won't pass muster with the neatness police, things could be worse. Her room could be in outer space.

It seems there's no space in the international space station. Astronauts recently tossed out some useless junk.

With no garbage pickup by space shuttles for nearly two years, the space station is looking more cluttered all the time.

It might help if NASA had a garage sale. Maybe aliens would want some of the stuff.

If Bailey were on the space station, they would have to enlarge it just for all her stuffed animals and dolls that would be floating around up there.

Even then, there might not be enough room for the astronauts.

It's a serious point to consider if NASA ever decides to send a family into space. If there are young children involved, things could get crowded.

Thankfully, stuff doesn't float in Bailey's gravity-restricted room on Earth.

If it did we would never get a handle on all her toys, stuffed animals and clothes. As to the clothes, some are her clothes and some are her doll's clothes. Either way, getting them packed into a drawer can be a challenge.

We would all be better off if our children's belongings could be scooped up on the end of a giant magnet.

Absent that, we have to depend on good, old-fashioned manual labor.

That leaves our dog, Cassie, out of the equation. She's good at chewing on toys, but she's not the least bit interested in tidying up a room.

But then she's not worried about being in the doghouse. That's because we don't have a doghouse.

If we did, it would be full of stuffed animals.

Mark Bliss is a staff writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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