Jenn asked me, How many toys are too many? And my answer/advice to that is: one. That's right, one toy is one too many. I remember back when I was a kid my mother used to hand me a length of string and a hanger and I'd play with it for hours. Eventually I invented the first rough antenna for television sets. (What's that? Sorry, my husband is screaming from the background telling me that didn't really happen. Now, where was I. Right my inventing years) Sometimes she would just tell me to run outside and play. I didn't need fancy "toys" or new fangled "video gaming systems" (Sorry, my husband is now trying to tell me that I was the queen of tetris and super mario brothers growing up. I have no idea what he's talking about.)
So, Jenn, my advice to you is throw away all your kids' toys and stock up on wire hangers and balls of string. It will stoke their creativity. Just be careful that they don't poke their eyes out or anything.
Perhaps this isn't exactly true advice. But, according to my daughter, I grew up in a generation where things such as "playing with toys" and "learning" hadn't been invented yet. A few weeks ago as we were sitting around the dinner table after the kids' first day of school my husband asked her what she learned. "Oh, you wouldn't understand," she said, "we learn much harder things in school than you did growing up." Without missing a beat my husband said, "But I aced hole digging one oh one, what could you possibly be learning that's harder than that?" Then, of course, we both went on to name all the classes we'd done very well in. "Gardening", "sharpening pencils", "Breathing". By the time we were done, my daughter was rolling her eyes, apparently convinced we were even stupider than she gave us credit for. It's fun to annoy your children isn't it?
(Anyway, I better go hide the millions of toys in my house in case Jenn comes to visit.)