On toys

Someone asked about toys. If our kids have lots of them, if they’re strewn everywhere, and if Moldovan kids typically have lots of toys. That last question is a tough one, so we’ll get that in a minute. But to start with, yes my kids have toys.

In fact, we came with a very small selection of their most favorite (and packable) toys. When we arrived my sister-in-law came over with baskets of toys for each of the kids, and a missionary friend of ours handed down a very nice selection of toys and books. And then Bean had a birthday and got more scantily-clad Barbie-type dolls than any family needs. We’re in the process of choosing some things to pull out and pass on to one of Bean’s good friends from school. Several of Bean’s classmates are from a Christian-run ‘compound’ of foster homes. We’ll pass on some of our toys to them, and we’ll pull out a few more for Sunday school – Sunday School doesn’t have anything for kids to play with, and we’d like to help remedy that.

Their toys aren’t typically strewn over the house because we have to keep the house tidy. Culturally speaking, friends visit each other at home more often than they do in the US. And they do so without much advance notice. Someone might call, make sure I’m not busy, and say “oh, good, because I’m already on my way over.” So, we have to have the apartment reasonably clean most all the time. Their rooms, however, are a different story. We spend time picking up at the end of the day each day, but I don’t think their rooms are ever really “clean.” It’s a constant battle, but I’ll give up clean kids’ rooms for a while if it means the rest of the house will be clean and toy-free.

Now, how many toys do Moldovan kids have? That’s almost a topic for an entire post. There’s no such thing as ‘the typical Moldovan kid.’ Just as there are the privileged and the underprivileged in the US, so there are here. There are families here with a single child in a luxury apartment with a car and tons of toys. There are other families with multiple children, a very small living space and handful of toys very well loved and shared by all. I’d say that the difference is that in the US the majority are weighted toward privileged with many toys, and here the majority are weighted in the other direction.

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