Monday, August 07, 2006

It's a dessert topping! No wait, it's a floor polish!

First, a disclaimer - I realize the title of this entry may be obscure, but if you are a fan of vintage SNL, you will get it. Snark.

I am constantly amazed at the workings of the toddler mind, and the light-speed at which they change gears from one idea to the next. My grandson Sam is over this morning. He found a cardboard wrapping paper roll in my bedroom, and within about 10 minutes, it magically became a baseball bat, sword, guitar, horn, and telescope. When in the telescope mode, he announced matter-of-factly, "I'm looking for my mom with my telescope." Well of course. Makes perfect sense in toddler-land.

He has been making baseball bats out of things since he was about 18 months old. He also makes drum sticks (not the chicken, the musical instrument) out of silverware, straws, chopsticks, and anything else even remotely in the same shape. This sounds very cute until he hits the TV screen with the makeshift bat, or is loudly playing the drums on the table at the nice restaurant and the patrons are giving you that "look" . . . you know the look, the one that says "why must you bring your ill-mannered cave-child into public places? You need to be on Supernanny." Hmmmpf. People have forgotten what it's like to be a kid, if you ask me.

We spend so much money on high-tech toys and toys that feature favorite cartoon or movie characters, trying to entertain our children. But then we find it's the box they want to play with, or the popcorn packing, or the bubble wrap. Maybe we should start shopping at the local Mailbox Etc. store.

Kids can make a toy out of almost any object around the house if left to their own imaginations. Every little boy knows how to make a gun or a sword out of many household objects, including breadsticks, silverware, napkins, straws, hairbrushes, flip flops, toothbrushes . . . I don't care how much you say you don't want to allow your little boy to play with toy weapons, if you don't give him some, he'll find his own.

My 15-year-old son still has a large metal can full of swords, guns, etc., lovingly saved from childhood. He guards them carefully, and does not like Sam to play with them, lest they get broken (Sam is our little Tazmanian Devil - Andy was very careful with his toys). The can also includes several sticks carefully collected from the yard. I can't tell you how many sticks I threw out over the years, but a few were just too perfectly shaped to destroy.

He is not a violent or aggressive boy, but he did have an extremely active imagination as a child, and had quite a penchant for any movie that involved fight scenes, with swordplay being the battle of choice. He discovered "The Princess Bride" at about age 3 or so, and for many months we watched it at least twice a week. The watching also involved putting one of my scarves on his head, though he was quite upset that I was not willing to cut eyeholes in it for a more authentic look. He also donned my black scrunchy boots (remember those?), and had a sword tucked in yet another scarf tied around his waist. In fact, most of his favorite movies involved getting into the appropriate costume so that he could become one of the characters and act out the movie as he watched it. We had interactive video long before it was on the market . . .

He later moved on to other movies, but we always knew that if a movie came out that was set anywhere in the past, we'd be there. Three Musketeers, Man in the Iron Mask, Count of Monte Cristo, Highlander, Conan the Barbarian, Excalibur, First Knight, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, and many others which I'm sure I'm forgetting, including Braveheart later on when he was older (he understood once he finally saw it why we would not let him see it as a little boy). Nowadays, we have Troy, King Arthur, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, and many others.

I miss those days of childhood "pretend." We watched and grinned and tried not to embarrass him. He still hates it when I tell a story about his movie dress up days, though I keep telling him that someday when he has his own kids, he will enjoy sharing it with them. But now we have a new generation of pretender, and I plan to watch and grin and giggle, and try not to embarrass, all over again.

1 comment:

mytriparoundthesunshine said...

I've always said I'll give my kids wooden blocks, an old pot or pan, and a wooden spoon or two. They'll be happy as clams. And if we must have plastic toys that involve batteries, the grandparents can give those gifts.

I do love to stop by the toddler toy aisle at Target and play, though, so I may just have to buy something for myself...like, now. Yeah, I know I have a real, adult cell phone, but the plastic, kiddie ones are enticing, too.