In Lake Tahoe, the toys are few and remnants of our childhoods. A jumpy Etch-a-Sketch, an original spirograph, Stay Alive, and old Apple IIe that doesn’t turn on. That’s fine, because the boys would rather play like German kindergarteners. Sticks become weapons (naturally) and the forest is one part intergalactic battlefield, one part nature observatory. A trickle of water is retold as a roaring river teaming with life. Rocks, pine cones, and feathers weigh their pockets down on the walk home.
Now we are back, and I drag them out on walks. The house is full of toys but they have nothing to do–aside from begging me to play Wii. The library books are boring. Swimming they love. Thank God for small miracles.
This is more Mikey than Nico, although I know Nico’s time is coming. It’s an attitude shift that happens once they pass six years of age, or so has been the experience among my friends. At age 7, they are jaded.
I don’t know how much of this has to do with the quantity and quality toys we give our children, the amount of “tube time” they have, or the way parenting has changed in the last few decades, but it’s something I find myself thinking about often. The wheres, the whys, and the hows it can be different. Here is an interesting article on parenting in The Atlantic I found via Liz Stanley of Say Yes to Hoboken. More food for thought.
And, finally, I can’t think about toys without going back to this article in the New York Social Dairy about Lisa Mahar of Kid O. (via Oh Happy Day.) I read the article nearly three years old and still think about it often. I don’t agree with everything Mahar espouses, and laughed outright at her choice in bedtime reading material, but I respect her passionate convictions and find her childrens’ well edited and organized collection of toys inspiring.
(photos by the Mister)