Life Before Dora

Dueling with Dora

Life before Dora…Yes, I remember it well.

It was such a simple time.

A time where going across the road for a run around in the park was a straight forward five minute walk…tops. And, as for being in the park itself, well that time was spent frolicking between swing sets, slides, climbing and rocking toys. All with hardly a care in the world.

How easy it all was then. How naïve of me to think it would actually last.

Today, thanks to every three year old’s favorite immigrant, Miss Dora the Explorer, (someone check her papers, please!), it seems a simple outing to the park is a thing of the past.

I must admit, the sight of Kaia dwarfed by her own pink ‘Doraesque’ pack as she trudged around the house was cute at first. But in less time then it took to cinch her oversized shoulder straps down to a more mana size, something strange quickly occurred. Almost overnight, it seemed, our daughter had become a pack rat.

On the surface, it wouldn’t seem a two and a half year old would NEED too much to get through their day. At first, I even put my foot down stating something to that effect. “Your stuff will be here when you get back,” I vaguely remember trying to reason with Kaia.

But it was futile. I’d have had better luck trying to ween a Kardashian off their cell phone. Like Imelda Marcos took to shoes, Kaia apparently has taken to her pack and the ‘stuff’ within.

Stuff such as bright orange sunglasses, water bottle, dummy (pacifier), purse shaped writing pad, favorite snacks du jour, flip open, plastic cell phone, hair brush, ball and, more times than not, some sort of hat that meets her ever changing fashion requirements. And all this—without fail–for any excursion past the confines of the front yard.

Now, no walk anywhere is complete without a confounding multitude of stops en route for checking, packing and repacking purposes, ‘phone calls’ to mommy, sips of water, sunglass readjustments and the occasional game of catch. And it hardly gets any better once we finally make it to the park with every activity interrupted with an almost manic need to keep tabs on her pink pack and its dizzying array of contents.

From personal experience, I know full well the slippery slope Kaia and her pack are perched upon.

From living out of a backpack to the point that the most pressing concern I had each move was not forgetting my toiletries in the bathroom, to today’s garage so full of ‘stuff’ there’s barely room for the family car, pack ratting is an affliction that creeps up on the best of us.

Regarding Kaia, time will tell with the inevitable addition of her first purse sure to give more insight just how far gone the girl may really be. Hopefully, like so much at this age, it’s just a passing phase. And preferably one that passes sooner than later.

For mom and dad, the solution is more immediate: a yard sale is needed and needed badly. A little something to trim the fat and, more importantly, get back to a streamlined, less is more state that allows for a bit more room to spread out. To spread out and hopefully have our car feel more like a part of the family.

It’s a lofty goal but one that’s attainable. Some stuff just has to go.

And I think I know what’s at the top of that list.


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