If you haven't yet had kids or have very small ones, it's not too late! Here's a big tip for you: DON'T BUY THEM STUFFED ANIMALS. Especially if they are girls. The damn things are nearly impossible to get rid of. They're so CUUUUUUUUUUUUTE. I should know. I still have several of my own, though in my defense I have managed to divest myself of MANY over the years and now I am down to 1 very large teddy bear, 1 Steiff pig, 1 Steiff cat (which lives with my mom), 1 knitted alligator, 1 Eeyore, 1 Wild Thing, and a very beat-up bright orange lion whose stuffing is coming out, that I won at Liseberg during my first trip to Sweden with Anders many years ago. Oh, and a dozen moose, give or take a few, that camp out permanently in the moose bathroom. But that's all, I swear! (I'm pretty sure that the few I had left from childhood that were in a box in my mom's basement are now disposed of...)
The kids recently told me what amounted to a horror story: their best friends, the twins Sandra & Maritza, got back from vacation with their dad this past week to find out that their mom had gotten rid of ALL their stuffed animals in their absence except ONE EACH. Whoa! They gave me very accusing looks as they related this nightmare and of course I held it over their heads all week, telling them they HAD to help reduce the zoo or face the same thing. Muahahahahaha!
So, today, amid some mild protests, we threw the entire pile of animals out into the middle of the playroom floor, and I proceeded to lift, demand judgement, and pitch them as quickly as possible. The key: don't look into their eyes! They can SMELL FEAR.
The kids were really good about it, actually, and the pile quickly diminished. The basket is, I'm resigned to report, still full to the brim, BUT it's not packed down and it's not STUFFED full and I think overall, we did a pretty darn good job of purging. Turns out we had TWO Findus dolls. Findus is the cat that you see up there in my header and in the icon I used for this post; he's been my mascot since I started this journal, and if you haven't already discovered them for yourself, I can highly recommend the Pettson & Findus books by Sven Nordqvist. Even for adults, they are a treasure, and especially for adults who love children's books and wonderful whimsical artwork.
AND he's going free to a good home! If you guess how many large full paper grocery bags of plush animals are going to the annual Flyinge Flea Market, he's yours! Standing, he's nearly a foot tall; a jointed/movable cotton cat with a green beanie cap and removable suspender shorts. The contest closes Friday evening at 6 p.m. Central European Summer Time.
Also, my seester is disqualified on account of how she knows the answer.
Tiebreakers: Muckles are small creatures that inhabit the world of the Pettson & Findus books, which only Findus can see. How many plush mucklor did we a) keep and how many did we b) discard?
Put your best guess and your tiebreaker answers in the comments! Good luck!