Being Dad

Being a father is fraught with danger…

Don’t Toy With Toys April 8, 2013

Filed under: Dad Blog,Parenting — Tim @ 10:54 am
Tags: ,

A child’s toy – specifically their favourite cuddly ones – must be treated with both care and respect.

On many occasions, I have received a stern warning for mistreatment of little, but inanimate, friends. Apparently, when dolly needs to be put away, it is unacceptable to go for the long shot, pro-basketball style, and hurl dolly the length of the room. I also note there is no kudos given for making the shot and slotting Missy’s floppy friend, bang into the toy box.

“Three points!”

“Bad Daddy!”

Children, well Missy at least, can get particularly attached to a toy. It becomes their friend, and they can get quite irate or even mournful if it isn’t in sight at all times.

That in itself creates issues.  Missy has a bunny, “Monsieur Lapin”.  Mr. Bunny is by far her favourite thing in the world. Sure, she had the standard dozen fluffy toys that get rotated in and out of her bed on some secret schedule only she understands, but Mr. Bunny is always there. He goes to School with her, he comes on picnics, he has meals with us, and he travels in the car. Mr. Bunny must also be the most well journeyed rabbit on the planet; I should get him a frequent flyer card.

But all this travelling and playing makes Mr. Bunny quite dirty. So here it is. Missy barely lets him out of her sight, and villainously flinging him in into the washing machine would cause a riot at our house.

Of course, Mum had the answer and came swiftly to the rescue. Mr. Bunny is a popular make of toy, and so with a simple visit to the shops, Mr Bunny had a stunt double. When washing was needed, in an operation so swift and decisive you would need a super slow motion camera to properly see it, Mr. Rabbit was replaced by…Mr. Rabbit.

Well, it did work like that for quite a while until an unforeseen event occurred: ie I got involved. Missy was unexpectedly and scandalously exposed to both Monsieur Lapin and his stunt double, at the same time. Stunt double is now known as Madame Lapine.

I must say, it was quite the shock for her at first, but she soon coped with the discovery Mr. Bunny was secretly married quite well. The funny thing is she can tell these fluffy toys apart, despite the fact they are mass-produced. I was putting her to bed one night, when she announced that Madame Lapine was in attendance, when she wanted Monsieur Lapin. I, of course, tried to convince her that it was Mr Bunny, and no way was it Mrs. Bunny.

”No, silly Daddy, Mr. Bunny has a mark in his head.”

I found the other bunny, thankfully washed and dried, and on close inspection, there it was. There was a slight, almost imperceptible, stitching anomaly on the head.

She can tell them apart – oh dear.

 

Control/alt/delete playtime October 1, 2012

Filed under: Dad Blog,Parenting — Tim @ 9:48 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

i-pad, i-phone, remote control car/helicopter/boat, electronic toy that goes wirrrr, wirrr, zipity, wiz-bang, a doll that can actually poo…

How do you entertain children? These days, toyshops seem to want you to believe your little one doesn’t just want the latest toy; they NEED it. Without Zorgog, warrior from the planet Yolenta-5, your boy may not develop properly. Deny my daughter little miss princess play set; complete with car, boat, plane and Chad, the personal groomer doll, and she may just end up standing in a soup kitchen line.

Let me say firstly, I want my daughter to be technology aware. She will be living in a world where connection is not only necessary, it’s unavoidable. School age kids can now enter their assignments online. Some schools have i-pads or laptops in classes. Withholding technology from my daughter may, in fact, be detrimental to her development. If every other kid has been able to upload, download, back-up and reboot since they were 2 – and she doesn’t know this stuff, it will come back and ‘byte’ her in a nanosecond.

But – it’s not the only thing I want Missy to be savvy in. Good old-fashioned ‘fun’ also has an important place in her development. Playing with Mum and Dad, with little friends or playing without toys that require batteries or megabytes, surely must help little brains develop.

What’s my expertise for that statement? What degree do I have, or studies have I done, to make such an outrageous statement?

None

The University of common sense.  For me, it’s all about moderation. A bit of everything just stands to reason. Missy LOVES the i-pad, and she gets to play with it. Not all day, but enough to give her a working knowledge of it. But my wife and I also want Missy to have an inquiring mind. We want her to be able to create fun – without needing an App.

So what’s one of her favourite thing to do?  She loves to play in her little cubby house, and serve tea in her cardboard shop. And where did these toys come from? Mum.

Mum made them, out of refrigerator boxes, toilet roll holders, masking tape, paint and love. Not everyone has the talent to make these kinds of things (especially me), but it’s not about that. For us, it’s about getting something in our house where we can interact with Missy; she can play ‘off-line’ and have some fun making pretend pizza for dad, and invisible tea for mum.

Missy had tears the other day. She was in her shop, and I was busy ‘buying’ plastic fruit and veg. I needed a break, so I asked her for a coffee. Missy was quite understanding, and so got out the impossibly small tea set and set about “making” me a cup. She knocked over the pretend milk jug, and the tears flowed. Where was the pretend ‘fridge to get more? “Over there my darling”, I said, pointing to an empty corner.

Happy again, she went over, ‘filled up’ her milk and duly made me my coffee.

The amazing world of a child’s imagination – you can’t download that.

 

 
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