The Spiderman lay sprawled on the ground staring at the ceiling. Hansel and Gretel like pebbles made from colourful play dough marked the way from the toy shelf to the rug in the centre of the room, sticking to the bottom of my slippers as I set about cleaning the mess. Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater stood frozen, face-to-face near one of the legs of the dining table, just about to collide. One of the dart bullets was stuck to the glass sliding door high up, a second one affixed to the raised pattern on its ivory-coloured curtain, the third one untraceable. The gun itself was peeking out from under the three-seat sofa; its bullet holders now empty. The Hot Wheels track on the rug improvised and joined together as a structure beyond the imaginations of the makers. Dozens of four-year old palm-sized Hot Wheels cars stationed at the parking lots, in the first storey car wash, on the flyover --- stuck in a traffic jam. Scattered buildings all over the floor --- blocks of red, yellow, blue and green joined together in a random pattern, which only a child-like creativity can conceive. Two spinning tops tilted on the centre table, resting motionless in the same posture since the time their owner lost interest in them. One red “medium-sized” Mercedes Benz stopped just across a make-believe finish line ahead of a similar sized black Lamborghini in a make-believe racetrack around the rug, their remote controls touching shoulder-to-shoulder on the same track. Colour pencils and crayons sprinkled on the dining table, along with three partially coloured A4 sheets, one in front of the chair where the slower child would have sat; two in front of the one on its left. A Ben10 Omnitrix flung over Angry Birds projector watch, their tummies on top of each other on the ground. A rotating single-seat sofa still pirouetting with Jungle Book open on page numbers 4 and 5; even though both spinner and spun have moved on to their next attraction.
This scene with its many variations, depending on the toys, gadgets, colours, books chosen, and the number of friends (ranging from 0 to 4) visiting my son, is enacted day after day during play hour. The session (on holidays more than one session in a day) will end with a familiar “I am too tired, Mama please help me to tidy up”. Sometimes at the end of a long day, I get irritated with this tidying up business. But then I remind myself: it is better to enjoy the mess while it lasts --- and before I know, it may time for the architect of the mess to leave my nest, taking all his mess with him!