One of my jobs this weekend was to go through the girls' closets and toy boxes and box up toys they don't use, or can be put "on hold" to be brought out for future use ("Look Mom! New toys!"). This is, as you can imagine, a job that has to be done when the girls aren't around because the moment I start putting toys away is the exact same moment those toys become just what they always wanted to play with.
I've always tried to rotate toys in and out of use, but now that we are boxing them up--only to be unboxed when the new house is finished (whenever that is)--I'm being a little more selective. Sydney may not daily play with her Leapfrog book, but it definitely shouldn't be hidden away for the next 12 months. As for Jules? Well, give her a couple of spoons, some wooden blocks, and a marker and she's set. Unless it's a toy Sydney's playing with it; then she has to have whatever that is.
As I rummaged and tossed, organized and collected, I found what used to be quite the revered object in our house: a Yogos container. If you aren't familiar with Yogos, well, you aren't missing much. The Yogos container, is, in short, a pocket-sized container that you can dump a package of Yogos into and then press a button to have them dispensed into your palm, one at a time. Look...here's one up for sale on eBay at a ridiculously exorbitant price.
While I personally am not a big fan of Yogos, the girls like them, and I can't find it in myself to object too strongly against them. I have a feeling they're a lot like candy, except that yogurt covering suggests otherwise.
But this is not a story about Yogos. This is a story about the Yogos container. Because that container was a big stepping point in my life as a parent. Who knew such a small thing could end up representing such a defining act.
The first Yogos container to enter our house was a couple years ago. Sydney had received one from her grandma, who had found it in a box of Yogos. Yes. It use to be that Kellogg's just gave them away. In a box. Had I known this, I would have bought approximately 2 dozen boxes. But, alas, I did not know.
Sydney loved that Yogos container. She took it with her everywhere, so that if at any moment she developed a craving for Yogos she could dispense one into her tiny upturned hand. My job was to keep the container full of Yogos. My job also became keeping track of the container because 2-year-olds aren't known for their ability to remember where they set their things down, especially when we're walking out the door, and in order for us to leave the house without any tears, such-an-such an item must be in hand.
Sydney and her container were the best of friends for many weeks. And we all thought it was quite cute how much joy that little toy brought her. She got such a big kick out of seeing Yogos come out of the little hole, and we got a big kick out of watching her.
As is sometimes the case, though, free toys aren't built to last forever. It was then no huge surprise when the Yogos container's mechanism for dispensing Yogos stopped working. It was also not surprising that Sydney was deeply saddened by her toy's demise. What was surprising, however, was my internal reaction to seeing Sydney so sad about her broken toy. I had loved watching her smile over this little gadget, and I instinctively wanted to replace it. The added drama to the story is that I was probably 7 months pregnant at the time, and feeling more than a little traumatized that Sydney and I would have to share each other. Or rather, Sydney was going to have to share me.
So I set off with a determination to find a new Yogos container for Sydney. We went to grocery stores all over the city, trying to find a specially marked Yogos box that might say it had a container inside. I emailed Kellogg's, begging them to send me a new container. I even looked on eBay, but the sale of one had already expired. I didn't know what else to do, and as silly as it sounds, I was really upset over it.
Every couple days, Sydney would see her Yogos container (because I couldn't bring myself to throw it away) and ask in her sweet little voice, "Fix it, Mamma?" That container wasn't just a Yogos container. It was everything I wanted to be able to provide for Sydney. It was every wrong I couldn't right. It was me trying to make up for Sydney's loss as an only child (and, yes, I realize getting a sibling isn't a loss, but track with me here). She and I both wanted a new Yogos container for reasons a world apart from each other.
I was pretty much at a standstill for what I could do about the broken container. I couldn't fix it. I couldn't buy one. I couldn't stand in line, sleep out overnight outside a store, or feverishly call a radio station in order to win one. I think I would have. Maybe. Who knows. I was delusional with pregnancy guilt and hormones. Either way, it seemed that the dispenser had disappeared into the abyss of cereal and boxed toys.
One day, earlier this year, we were at the grocery store and saw a little something different on the Yogos box. I sent Sydney down the aisle to check it out, and low and behold! The Yogos containers were back! Syd and I probably looked ridiculous and we screeched and danced in the aisle, rejoicing about our found Yogos container.
Our celebration might have been a bit premature since it turned out we had to send in 3 UPC symbols and an order form to Kellogg's to get the Yogos container, but we did all that. It didn't cost us anything except the stamp on the envelope and a few weeks worth of waiting. It arrived one blessed day in our mailbox and I don't know who was happier: me or Syd. She had her Yogos container back, and I had fulfilled what I had set out to do. I wasn't a failure.
I wasn't placing any bets on how long that new container would last, so I sent off for a couple more Yogos containers, which wait in our kitchen drawers, ready to be called into action whenever they are needed.
My search for the Yogos container gave me a little bit of perspective on why parents do crazy things to get something their child wants. Sometimes the reasons aren't great--we want our child to be the coolest or want to be the parent who is the coolest. But many times are motives are as basic as wanting to do something that makes our kid happy.
I don't suspect I'll ever be the parent who waits in line, or pays top dollar, or physically strains myself to get the year's hottest toy--I'm just not cut out for that kind of job. But my search for the Yogos container made me realize that there are some things I'll always want to fix for my kids. I realize I won't be able to fix all the broken things in my children's lives, but this one thing--this Yogos container--well that, my sweet child, I can fix.