Friday, November 18, 2016

Toy Story

One of the stories my mom often related was the tale of Adenoids, her favorite doll (yes, that was her name). Little Joanie adored Adenoids and took her everywhere. At some point, Mom decided that Adenoids was hungry, so she started feeding her bits of food through the doll’s small, open mouth. Needless to say, that quickly became one stinky dolly; one night Grandpa took matters into his own hands and threw Adenoids in the trash after his daughter was asleep. Next morning, Mom was so inconsolable that her dad ended up going down and rooting through piles of garbage until he found the toy and returned A. to her owner. I can only imagine how fragrant Adenoids became before, I’m sure, Joanie tired of her and this time opted to pitch her herself. The tale was held up to us as an example of love, loyalty and the crazy things we do for our kids.

As a tot, I had two favorite “friends”: a Shirley Temple doll and a stuffed skunk I had named Stinky (should’ve introduced him to Adenoids). I recall many a playtime marriage ceremony, uniting two different species in holy wedlock. Quite the imagination even then!

When my children came along, they each favored different kinds of toys. Sheridan was the Lego King, to the point that he refused to dismantle any of his complex creations (necessitating our buying MORE Legos for him (see above: crazy things we do for our kids). Evan was our Superhero guy, with “action figures” of every kind of “man”: Spider, Bat, etc. Rose, my first girl, was gifted with loads of dolls but was really lukewarm about them all. She did enjoy having an American Girl doll that looked like her, right down to the eyeglasses, but didn’t play much with her. PJ was all about all things Pokemon, for years. Little Jules adored her floppy Molly doll (from the Canadian TV series “Big Comfy Couch.”) 

Julie Meets Molly

 I kept the Beanie Babies for quite some time, with dollar signs in my eyes, back when they were rumored to be worth a fortune. That was the sum total of my brilliant college savings plan: The Princess Diana Beanie Baby. There finally came a day when I got real, and most of them ended up at the dump (no organization will take used stuffed animals due to sanitary concerns, I learned).

After a long toy-less interval, here we are again in Babyland, and I love it. While there are certainly lots of newfangled playthings (Aiden loves his “Picasso” magnetic blocks), the old reliables are still around to charm and comfort my grandsons (including a real survivor, Sheridan’s first teddy bear, the cleverly named “Ted”).

Two Month Old Sher "singing" to Paddington

 In a world where children are growing up way too fast, I pray they can all slow down and play awhile. There will be so many years ahead of them for working. Let’s let our kids enjoy being little as long as possible, telling their own delightful toy stories.

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