“I can resist anything except temptation.” – Oscar Wilde. (As a previous student of literature and a Wilde fan, I felt obliged to rectify the somewhat crude ending to my last post.)
Wise man though, Wilde. And he wasn’t even a Mother. Because MY GOD, as soon as that little addition to your tribe arrives, temptation is thrust upon you in just about every shop you walk into.
Grace has too many clothes. Fact. And too many toys. I’ll give you an example: The big hit at the moment in the Waterbirthplease house hold is the popular children’s cartoon “Ben and Holly’s little Kingdom.” We have an hours telly time before bath (shock/horror/BAD mummy) and we watch with glee as the little fairies and elves get up to all kinds of adventures.
Before Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, it was Peppa Pig. Before Peppa Pig it was Mr Tumble. Before Mr Tumble it was Baby Jake: you get the idea. Ben and Holly I have no doubt will soon be yesterday’s news. It’ll be, like SOOOOOO last season in toddler world. It will be resigned to the “What’s Not” list and a new televisual wonder will no doubt take its place. The thing is though – it’s not just a case of watching the episodes is it? I went to the supermarket for baby wipes and carrots the other day. I came home with a Little Kingdom play Castle, Little Kingdom Magazine and Little Kingdom’s Little library. I happily load the car up already inventing a sale price in my head to tell my very patient husband, and thinking how nice it’ll look next to the Peppa Pig Play House and Peppa Pig talking soft toy that’s no longer played with, and I pootle off home. Forgot the carrots though . . . Bugger.
Now I honestly don’t want to give the impression she’s spoilt. I don’t buy her things on demand, such is my bizarre psychology. If she’d been with me on that supermarket trip and wittered for me to buy those things – I know damn well I wouldn’t have got them for her as I’m only too aware of the problems this will cause me further down the line. I don’t even get her new toys all that often really, but now and then, the thought of her little face in reaction to a bit if spontaneous gift-giving is just too tempting.
Am I alone in this?
Now yes, the toys and books went down extremely well – of course they did. But do you know what went down even better? The Magic Wand just like Princess Holly’s I made her from card, glitter and paint.
This little activity was not only loads of fun to do together but the wand has now been played with more than all the other paraphernalia put together. And it’s really made me think.
I do consider myself to be quite “arty” and “Crafty” and I’m a big fan of the many blogs andwebsites that are bursting with fun things to make and colour etc. We regularly have painting and sticking sessions and I have spent so much on glitter and other resources that it probably would have been cheaper to go to a shop and buy a whole heap of pre-made entertainment. This isn’t about money though per se. This is more about values. About finding time to spend with your child and about imagination and creativity. About printing out and colouring favourite characters and sticking them lolly pop sticks to play with, not rushing out and buying the plastic figures. It’s about making your own stories up, and trying to spot Fairies when you’re out and about on a walk together instead of watching them on a DVD.
Telly time will continue – sorry if that upsets some of the anti-electric-babysitter brigade, but I think TV if fine – as long as it’s appropriate and in moderation.
But she’s at an age at the moment when it doesn’t HAVE to be the official merchandise. I’ve no doubt that time will come soon enough, so I should be revelling in how easy she is to please at this age while I can. (All this puts me in mind of the HOME KNITTED CARE BEARS my barmy aunty thought were an acceptable present when I was little. I was gutted they weren’t the real thing. I know I should have appreciated the time and effort, and the fact they were home made, but the skinny legged monstrosity with a picture of a misshapen rabbit on his tummy was nothing short of nightmare material. I mean honestly, at least do your research – these were completely the wrong shape and no care bear had a rabbit on its tummy, it doesn’t even MEAN anything.)
So be gone, masses of e-mails from the catalogue I bought one thing from 2 years ago. Be gone, little devil on my shoulder that coaxes me cunningly down the toy isle, and be gone endless channel 5 commercials!
I hear ye not!
Ooooooh – Toy sale at Tesco though!