June 27, 2010

The "Stuff" of Childhood

Six years ago, when D was a newborn, our house was over-run with baby gear. You know, all the usual suspects: a swing, a bouncy seat, an Exersaucer, a high chair, a second swing for upstairs, etc. There is so much STUFF that a newborn seems to require. We didn't have that many toys, save for a few rattles, but the equipment over took the house.

Within a few months, the baby gear started phasing out (the bouncy seat and swing only holds up to a certain weight) and the toys started to come. Soon, it seemed that our little house was overrun by crap toys. Our house was filled to the brim with big, brightly colored plastic toys, mostly from Fisher-Price. We had the zoo, Noah's ark, the farm....so many sets, and so many pieces! Add to that the various balls, toddler tool sets, stuffed animals, train sets...heck, our house looked like Toys R Us!

Every day D would play with the toys and make chaos; every night I would put the toys away. I was very obsessive-compulsive back then, and would have to make sure that each set had all of it's components. If one animal was missing from Noah's ark, for example, I couldn't rest until I found it. I sometimes grew resentful of having so many baby items take over my house, but I told myself that this wasn't forever. That one day, sooner than I thought, there would be no more big, brightly colored plastic toys around the house. One day, the only toys that D would play with would be board games and electronics, all of which would be stored in his own bedroom. I told myself to cherish this time, that the chaos of all the toys was a phase I would one day miss.

A was born two years later. The baby equipment came out of storage, the toys that D had outgrown once again was moved to the living room. Clutter ruled.

Now, another two years later, D is 6 and A turns 4 in a few days. We have long since sold or donated the baby gear; we have no need for Exersaucers, bouncy seats, or high chairs in this house. And I just realized that we no longer have big, brightly colored plastic toys laying around the house. The days of the Fisher-Price Little People are long behind us. My living room, while still filled with toys, is looking less like Toys R Us. What I told myself long ago has come to pass (and continues to be every passing year): the older the kids get, the less big toys there are.

Don't get me wrong; we still have lots of "big" stuff around. A has her play kitchen, dollhouse, and dozens of accoutrements for her beloved baby dolls. And D has a mini drum set, several Lego sets, and enough Star Wars figures and vehicles to launch an all-out war on the Dark Side. But as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, there will be a day, maybe not tomorrow but certainly in the next few years, when the play kitchen, dollhouse, and Legos will also go. And in their place will be smaller and more compact games and toys for school-age kids, then tweens, then teens.

In a way it makes me sad. J and I are DONE having kids (factory is officially closed there!) and while I don't have any regrets about that---two kids are perfect for me and in no way do I want another baby--it makes me wistful that the baby stage of both my kids is behind me. I've written about this before, how their childhoods are going so fast and that I need to cherish the magic of each and every day. One day, before I know it, both kids will be gone, off to college and beyond, and I will cry over the loss of those freaking big, brightly colored plastic toys that overtook my house, and was the hallmark of a baby/toddler-filled home.

1 comment:

  1. If you see Toy Story 3, be sure to take a hanky. Or 3.



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