The month of September is scattered with our family’s birthday’s pretty heavy, allowing for some interesting experiments in the inner workings of a child. Having many hours in a day to observe, play with, and clean up toys in our house I have the chance to see the interesting dynamic in adding a few new toys to the batch. Course our present was a complete bust considering it came in the mail broken and missing pieces. Although quite the bummer all he really wanted was birthday cake anyways.
Overall, he (and let’s be honest, Lee) was thrilled with the prospects and possibilities of new adventures he could think up in that little mind of his.
He opened his gifts, relished in the glory only a birthday boy can, then declared, “Birthdays are too much pressure and too much cake.” A more true statement has never been said my friend.
But then there were two toys that arrived a touch late. Just after the sugar high of some cake ran out, just a few days after the party, enough time to let the dust settle after all the excitement, just perfect timing for a mama to see something very real occur.
Ready for it? I will be critiquing these two toys in three categories. Initial interest, length of attention, and longevity and construction. You see, this might seem… intense (to say the least) when discussing something so insignificant and trivial as a little birthday gift, but as those who know me would agree, I am slightly obsessive in these things. There is no denying this.
Besides, let us be real, the use of most toys is so short-lived in a child’s life and then they spend the rest of their days (not) rotting in a landfill or worse, floating in the ginormous trash island in the sea.
In addition, the majority of toys contain actual toxic materials that could honest to goodness affect your child in the future. Lots of studies have gone into the effects of plastic and fertility issues and of course the ever looming issue of cancer. Finally, I can’t help but factor in the capability to captivate a child’s imagination. This is the goal of a toy, no? I would go so far as to sum that up as the definition of a toy; something that sparks the imagination. Yes, I like that just fine.
So here it is.
Toy A– Plastic airplane that comes with a (working) drill. Battery operated.
Toy B– Box of dress up clothes.
I should add that both of these toys came from the same loving person. These were very thoughtful and generous and I am in no way judging her (or anyone elses) choice to purchase whatever they would like. Although, my family will probably be nodding their head with a slight smirk on their lips thinking in their head “minus the parameters you ask in giving to your family missy”. Well truth be told, I do try and remind my loved ones of these issues and they do respect our wishes 99% of the time, and quite frankly I appreciate that so very much.
Ok, enough with walking on eggshells. Onto the experiment!
Toy A- Intense amounts of interest. Fights over the drill were extreme. Clambering up onto the kitchen table in order to get closest to said object. insistence on hurrying, put the damn batteries in on the double! Then he proceeded to stand there holding the drill staring at it while pressing the button for no lie, 5 minutes straight. Then little brother grabbed it and put it in his mouth while pressing said button down which of course disturbed him like no other but he couldn’t figure out how to stop pressing the button or even how to get it out of his mouth he was so overwhelmed! Ensue chaos.
I know. It’s rough huh?
Toy B- Gasps. Lots of pausing and pondering at each item removed from the box. Sharing. Freely sharing. Joy at seeing a safari hat or a fire fighter hat on each of us before moving on. Curiosity over magicians wand, binoculars, telescope. Reference to a stethoscope was made and interest in the similarity of the words.
Length of attention
Toy A– I am going to be honest. It is I that has to interrupt the time limited to playing with this one. I can only take so much. I break up a fight just in time for another to begin. So, I will estimate when the two of them are together it can last maybe up to 10 minutes.
Toy B– I cooked an entire supper tonight without any fighting, crying, or whining. My boys played happily with the different dress up clothes the entire time. We even finished up and took the fun outside where I got to do this for quite some time.
It was a straight up miracle.
Built to last?
Toy A– I am sure that this toy is difficult to break. There is no question about that. But factor in the batteries and keeping track of all the pieces (painstaking) I would have to say no. This one will not be in the rotation in a matter of weeks.
Toy B– While the hat may be made of straw or felt, materials that will break down eventually, I can honestly say this one will probably be in our house for years to come. It is no secret that we will one day add another child to our family and this is of quite a bit of importance.
You see? Imagination wins every time.
What do you think? Come on. Tell me. Am I being outright rude? Am I paranoid? Do you agree?
I really want to know.
3 thoughts on “imagination wins again”
You sound like you have the same sort of desires in toy-purchasing that I have. My son’s last birthday, the in-laws gave him two obnoxious toy trucks with push-button lights and sirens. Each of my big kids would just sit on the couch holding one truck and pushing the buttons over and over again. Insane. The wooden train set we got, on the other hand, they play with–productively, with intelligence and imagination–for hours.
Isn’t that crazy how they are just complete zombies with those toys?