George Bernard Shaw, 1931
As an adult, you look at your children and think how easy they have it. If only you realized when you were a kid that having limits, boundaries and rules placed on you by giant humans twice your size who feed you really wasn’t so bad.
I remember when my children were preschoolers, and I took them to the store to try on new shoes. Sit them down, lace and tie them up tight, push down on their toes to see if they fit and then back away to watch them run full speed from one side of the store to the other. Somehow new shoes were always synonymous with speed. As awareness of others in the store and perceived judgment from strangers surfaces, the desire to demonstrate the athletic prowess of your 20” legs slowly fades away. I can’t recall the last time I ran full speed in a shoe store to test out new kicks, but I miss that sense of reckless abandon.
Measuring a great day came with much lower standards than it does now. Back then when they were potty training and came home from day care in the same extra padded underwear you sent them in, that was a gold star day! Or getting through the whole day without biting your best friend over a green crayon you had to have resulted in a happy face on your summary sheet.
Am I the only one who would like to get back to the days when not biting anyone and keeping my drawers clean all day is the barometer for winning? When life is simple and the bar is low, you can only succeed, amiright?
When shorties filled my house, toys were loud, plastic (or wooden if you were fancy) and colorful, but with the purpose of learning through play. They were interactive and modeled adult tools like lawn mowers and play kitchens. It was messy, chaotic and glorious. There's just something magical about the accelerated brain function in tiny brains and the newness of the world around them.
In a nostalgic effort to encourage interaction and a renewed awareness of simple play, I enjoy filling my boys’ stockings with toys, mind benders and unique items that are unexpected. Even though they’re almost adults, I still fill Easter baskets with candy and unexpected goodies. Don’t get me wrong, like most kids their ages they are in their phones and video games 75% of their waking hours, but occasionally I’ll pique their interest with a simple something that doesn’t require batteries or a power source.
Bubbles, sidewalk chalk, small lego sets, whoopie cushions and fidget spinners were winners in grade school. As they got older, they grew less likely to give mom credit for unexpected “fun”, but I know the fresh Uno cards, brand new markers, Mad Libs and reindeer that pooped chocolate excited them more than they led on. This year’s stocking goodies required a little more leg work to uncover the unexpected. With so much time in 2020 spent at home and with the family, we went analog more often than we normally do.
In case you're scrambling for some last minute stocking stuffers like I am, give a heavy, beautiful, tiny-but-mighty spinning top a try. The Schulte Spinning Top is an affordable, surprisingly fun and small toy that makes for some pretty intense coffee table competitions!
Your kids may not TELL you they love it, but you'll be able to tell!
Boy Mom of 3 Secret Spinning Top Competitors