I ask my three-year old if he would like to accompany me to the dentist and get a quick ‘yes, they have the toy box’. By toy box he means the treasure chest from which he’ll get to pick one or two free tiny toys. Dollar store toys designed to last a day.
While my dentist is lovely and so great with kids, I know its the draw of the treasure chest that in part creates the positive association. Ditto for the hair dresser.
The minimalist in me wants to stop things at the door, but I also know that at this point I can still easily make toys disappear later if they don’t captivate my kids.
But most purged free ‘treasure chest’ type toys are not even fit for the donation bag. The quickly end up having the same fate as kinder egg toys and loot bag fillers…the landfill.
Knowing the devastating impacts of climate change it feels irresponsible to accept cheap toys with a one-day life span.
“We’re facing an immediate unprecedented crisis that has never been treated as a crisis…We need to wake up and change everything” Greta Thunberg
But I’m torn. I don’t want to deprive my kids of the same experiences I had. I loved the treasure chest as a kid. I continued to eat happy meals despite my grandma insisting I was old enough for a Big Mac.
These small delights made ordinary things like dinner and dentists fun. I would feel like an extremist scrooge says ‘no’ to these things.
To avoid loot bags I’d basically have to turn down birthday party invitations or risk a melt down and offending another well-meaning mom by refusing the gesture.
I’ve been thinking of discreetly bringing in my own durable or waste free substitute for the dentist to offer. Perhaps a book that we fell in love when we loaned it from the library or a gift certificate to the local ice cream shop (if that doesn’t violate a dentist code of ethics).
My son won’t get same the thrill of choosing his very own toy from a mountain of toys but I think its still fun and definitely things that he likes.
I’m not striving to be a zero waster but this just might be one small change I can make for now.