Way way back, before you were born, from working with kids of all ages on kibbutz, I learnt that stuff like wrapping paper, tins, pots, pans and pieces of old fabric often make the best toys ever for peeps your age.
moms I forget the basics and buy lots of stuff to stimulate your development/ease the guilt that all mothers come with/make you happy.
Take for instance the wooden pull-along toy that I thought you’d spend hours playing with. The reason I thought you’d spend hours playing with it, and subsequently get even more intelligent, is because you played with it in the shop for about two minutes, and I thought you hearted it enough to have it. I certainly loved it. So I paid R300 for pretty much a wooden stick with wheels, which I’ve subsequently seen you play with twice, but which Rex loves, and I swear one of these days he’s going to bite a wheel off, which makes me a little sad.
I generally have a barometer when getting you toys: if you don’t look at in in a shop after I’ve placed it in front of you, I dismiss it immediately. If you look at it, touch it and then move on, I realise it’s a miss. And if you show interest and look like you’re going to cry when I put it back in its place, then I’ll probably buy it.
If you’re not with me and I’m shopping, I’ll go with what I think I would have liked at age 16 months, though I mostly come up with Hello Kitty bath toys and bubble sets, so I opt with what I think you dig – stuff with wheels, sounds. lights and phones. But as with the wooden stick with wheels, things don’t go to plan, and you’ll choose my keys over the expensive car dashboard with lights, hooter, key and music. Or the fact that you can spend ages examining Rex’s water bowl, while you reject the plastic cellphone with buttons, lights and sounds that now lives in the toybox.
I’m not saying pricey toys with bells, whistles or wheels are bad or unnecessary – there are loads you love, play with and laugh with, but your regular preference of tins of baked beans, and my bottles of coloured nailpolishes, I am reminded once again that nothing is predictable, and that often I really am stumbling along, guessing, and trying.
Truth is, you’re probably a whole lot smarter than me on some level, and are seeing beauty, value and use in things that I don’t often see. I won’t stop buying you stuff I think is cool, but I won’t be disappointed either when the wooden spoons trump the battery-operated car, on any given day.
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