Before I was a parent, I was obsessed with beautiful wooden toys. I was convinced that I would be one of these mums that never bought cheap plastic trash for my children to play with.
Only educationally stimulating, ergonomically designed, wooden or cloth playthings for us. No trashy Polly Pockets, mechanical hamsters, plastic superheroes, guns, swords, video games, or other such nonsense.
Want to know what my house is filled with? Plastic crap. Lots of it. Of course, we also have plenty of gorgeous wooden toys, knitted toys, metal toys and any other kind of toy that you can possibly think of. We have so many toys that most people who enter my house inevitably assume I run a small preschool.
It’s probably a form of insanity. If there were a twelve-step program for parents who can’t stop buying their children too many toys, my husband would forcibly enrol me. The truth is, for me and probably many other parents who suffer from toy addiction—toys symbolize hope. The hope that one day our children will play peacefully for hours on end without the constant badgering, bickering, whining, crying and fighting that fills the many of our days.
I know it’s a sickness because it really doesn’t work. In fact, when there are too many toys, the toys become invisible. They become part of the landscape of our home and the kids don’t even see them anymore. Not to mention, my children have always enjoyed random objects more than toys anyway. Why is it they will play for hours with a used toilet paper roll and three minutes with the expensive set of Waldorf wooden blocks I had shipped all the way from Germany?
I should probably just get rid of all our toys and let my kids be creative with whatever they find around the house. That would be green, organic and deeply stimulating all at once. Except that there is this new Star Wars Lego set that I am sure my boys are going to love. It only costs $100 and I’m sure it’s definitely going to keep them quite busy for at least five or six minutes all on their own.