Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Its a snow plow. See?

I'm a 'stay at home Mum' this year. And before I go any further I need to add a qualifier or two.

1. We very rarely stay at home

2. I
COMPLETELY hate that title, but am at a loss to come up with anything better. Its loaded, its misleading, its patronizing, and devalues what actually happens during my day.

So... that said, due to my..um...current status I spend a fair amount of time with toys.
When J was born we were zealously committed to the developmental superiority of non-plastic, non noise making, imagination feeding toys. As you can imagine, 5 years, and an additional boy later we have let things slide a little. We steer clear of violent toys (guns in particular), computer game machines, and still noisy toys (for may sanity as much as theirs) and well, plastic junk. We feel like the boys have LOTS of toys, but in comparison to many we seem to be lacking.

At a recent play date a little boys asked Jamie '
is this all the toys you have?' and went on to wander around looking bored, despite poor J's best efforts to entertain.
This is a new thing for us (well, for me really) - the judgment of other children. It seems to happen on a fairy regular basis in the world of Kindergarten, where I can't go and protect (insert angst here). Why are you wearing that thing that's pink? I have better Lego's than you. I know more about x than you. My bike is faster. I've seen this, done this, have this, and its all better than you.

Its hard, you know? Hard to hear it, hard not to intervene all the time, to jump and protect, hard not to fall into competition, and hard to find the line between our values of less stuff, less consumption, outdoor natural play, and well, giving the kids some funky stuff, and some social capital. Somehow we manage it in a way that feels OK to us, and for the most part OK for the boys. We thrift things, in and out. We do say no. Big gifts are for birthdays and Christmas, and Jamie saves his own money for other things. And
sometimes they get a treat.

So.. all of this because here at Shutter Sisters they are asking for pictures of toys. To lighten the day. And I like to play.

So, here are some pics. I'd love to hear what you do about any of the above!


MaggieGem said...

Great toy shots! I love photographing toys, they can always make me smile!

georgia b. said...

super cute.
love the last shot!

oh, my... i love the photos of you in the sidebar of your blog. i've seen pics of you on flickr, but all sort of hidden. but these show so much of your face. you are very beautiful! glad i stopped by... {saw your s.s. comment}

: )

hope you are well.

Louise said...

Oh I hear you! My kids have far too many toys and I ruthlessly go through them every couple of months getting rid of the plastic crud that seems to breed at the bottom of the toy boxes. They also have a lot of soft toys that were given as gifts that I can't bear to remove, despite them slowly taking over the house! My kids get new stuff for birthday and Christmas and occasional extras when Nana and Poppa take them out, or Omi finds some cute thing over in the UK and sends it to us. But my kids spend most of their time outside in our 3.5 acres, digging in their home-made sandpit with shells from Daddy's last scollop-hunt.
Kids will compare and be mean, it's part of finding your place in the world, but you're raising great imaginative boys who will gather friends due to their beautiful minds, rather than to their sparkly toys.

andrea from the fishbowl said...

You need to come up with some great lines to explain/defend and put it in terms J understands and makes him feel like his toys are better.

When the girls were small they always nagged me about buying candy in line at the grocery store checkout. (There's a reason why its displayed at kiddie-level!) I always just told them it was Bad Quality Candy. That you spend your Hard Earned Dollar and that it loses its flavour and tastes yucky. ("We don't buy that kind.")

I did often buy them sugarfree gum ... gum wasn't the issue, it was all the other stuff. And I told them that if they wanted chocolate I'd buy them The Good Stuff. Which I did - somewhere else.

There came a point they stopped asking.

You need to find a way to explain to J's that his toys are better - more fun and more valuable - and that they're worth 10 of that other kid's crappy plastic toys. And if the other kid can't find a way to play with the wooden train (or whatever) well, that's too bad. I guess he's just doesn't know how to use his imagination as well as J does. :)

jill said...

Hi! found you via a shutter sister's comment. Anyway my boys are ten (twins) and I alternate between cringing and sometimes jumping into the conversation when I hear those sorts of comments from my kids friends. I have to remember though, not to let my issues, become their issues. It seems that usually my kids don't mind or they think the other kids is bragging. And I must remember that I am not ten and that little kids are rude to one another.

daydreamymama said...

I read your post nodding my head. Yup... yup... exactly. Charlie has fewer toys and watches much less T.V. and eats less candy than a lot of his peers, and he's become very conscious of it. And he goes back and forth between little flurries of envy, and a kind of bemused curiosity. It's an interesting exercise for me and also for him. Hard sometimes, but sometimes instructive, leading to great conversations.
Your photos are wonderful!