This, of course, leads to the next part of the trial: cleaning up. I am sure the sheer volume of toys makes the idea of cleaning up quite daunting. That is why they resist it so vehemtly. And that is why I go crazy every time they do this.
Enter toy jail. Sometimes we get our best ideas from our moments of greatest desperation. (Allright, I know that sounds a little dramatic, but really, after a day of having this battle with them over and over, I had had enough.) I stepped into their room, surveyed the mess and declared, "if you guys do not clean this up, you are losing every toy that is out." I don't think they believed me. They sort of started to clean up, but quickly got distracted by some toy or another and began to play again. I quietly cleaned up all the toys and piled them into one corner of the room.
"Look at this guys," I told them, in my calm voice. "All these toys are going into toy jail." I stacked all the toys in the crib, making the visual of jail that much better with the rails and all. The boys stood looking at them quietly.
"When you play with toys and don't pick them up, they go to toy jail. If you take toys out and put them away like you are supposed to you may pick out a toy and rescue it from toy jail."
Still quiet, they stood looking at the massive pile of toys in the crib. I am a genius!
Then James says, "It's OK mommy, we still have lots of other toys to play with."
I can't win. I guess the real lesson here is that my kids have WAY too many toys.