I started a list of the toys that Liam’s father and I bought for him. I found what we chose to purchase for him to be rather interesting. Silicone pinch cups and mini cooking utensils, three or four wooden rattle type toys, a square of yellow silk, and books. I feel a measure of satisfaction that for the most part these are toys that have kept his interest over the months. And the other items we’ve gotten for him, art supplies like sidewalk chalk, egg-shaped crayons, an easel, and finger paints, and the metal buckets and watering can for sand, mud, and water play will likely gain more use as he ages.
I’m hoping that my writing down what we buy for him will curb any spontaneous or frivolous purchases. I want that list to reflect my values; I want to practice what I preach, so to speak. If I want him to be frugal with his money, to value craftsmanship and natural materials, to enjoy a good story, to be involved in growing our garden and creating our meals, to appreciate the outdoors and develop a love for nature, to be creative and make things he finds beautiful, interesting, or intriguing, I must provide for him the means, and not inundate him with stuff.
We’ve inherited quite a few toys from my nephew (thankfully, almost all are not plastic), and the grandparents have done their fair share contributing to our collection, but we are lucky in that they are all on board with our goal of Simplicity Parenting, so most of the toys we have are made of natural materials, allow for creative play, and don’t require batteries (There’s more to it than just this, but the book by Kim John Payne explains it better than I can). In addition to the types of toys we give our son, we are also trying hard to limit the number of toys that Liam has to play with at any given time, lest he be overwhelmed by choice and then underwhelmed because he lacks attachment to any particular toys. It is a challenge. As I look across our living room floor, I realize it is time to cull again, and maybe rotate a few toys into and out of storage.
Some specific toys we won’t be able to discard or put away right now are Liam’s wooden cars. I am repeatedly surprised by how engrossed he can become playing with his “car, car.” He likes to zoom it around on our hardwood floors making engine noises. He enjoys careening all three of his hand-me-down cars off the edge of a dining room chair. He will also stretch up onto his tippy toes to push one along the windowsill and has learned to sign for help when it’s rolled to a place out of reach behind the table. Cars are his favorite toys now, at fifteen months of age. I wonder what will be next. I hope that, sometimes, it will be a toy that is written on my list, that on occasion, his dad and I will choose something for him that he truly relishes.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Toy Story.”