Being: Conscious, mortal existence; life.
Every month we welcome two families, two people, two voices to share their stories in whatever way they chose. We hope that you find joy in their daily lives, and their simple habit of just being.
Having just survived both the holidays and, at least, the opening salvo of my kiddo’s first birthday, I’ve had toys on the brain this month. Specifically, what kind of toys do we want in our house? And how many rules of etiquette broken and feelings hurt are we willing to endure to enforce our values? I’ll admit, I’ve been looking for a bright line rule. Something to tell me, “These toys go back to the store automatically, but these toys get to stay.”
While I am the first to admit that I tend to over think things, the prolific amount of blog traffic on this issue lets me know I’m not alone in my concern. It’s a bit of a battlefield, really, and our house is but the latest casualty.
In a perfect world, my kiddo would have all open-ended toys, made of natural materials. Lots of room for imagination, no batteries, minimal plastic. Oh, and handmade would be cool too.
In reality, my kiddo doesn’t just belong to me. He’s also someone’s cousin. He’s someone’s grandson. He’s someone’s favorite little guy. I’m so glad that he has all those people who love him, and–as someone who loves giving gifts myself–I hate the idea of robbing anyone of the opportunity to delight him.
Which is why I would love to sit everyone down and show them the difference–the difference between the way he plays with simple toys and the way he plays with the light-up, battery-powered gizmos. Because it really is incredible.
Give my kiddo a stick, for example, and he touches it, runs his fingers over the texture, carries it around, chews on it, bangs on everything in sight. Add in a little dirt, and he can be off in his own world for half an hour. (That’s a long time for a little guy!)
The gizmos? He sits and watches them. Does enough to keep them beeping and lighting up. And gets bored with them so much more quickly.
It’s the difference between actively playing and being passively entertained. Between engaging all the capacities of his amazing little brain or…not.
But until I get the chance to have that sit-down, I don’t think we can set a hard and fast rule for our house. Saying “no plastic” or “no batteries” unilaterally, without taking others’ feelings into account, is just not a hill I’m prepared to die on.
Until then, I have the harder task of wading through on a case-by-case basis and doing my best, wherever and whenever we can, to choose simple toys. For our family, they’re just better.