Saturday, January 08, 2011

One hat that rules them all

Christmas just passed. And it was stressful. One reason why it was stressful was the presents.

Not really the presents for me but the presents for the kids. I love presents though. And I loved Christmas as a kid because of all the loot I would get. From the Christmases I remember, gifts were Barbie Dolls, Barbie Doll accessories and books. And I love the joy of watching the kids rip, tear and shred. Well, the older two anyway. Muffin has zero clue and would be happy given a box.

What stresses me is what to do with the presents after. When people ask us what the kids want for gifts, I usually tell them to get books, blocks or items that help them create play rather than be toys that have a set and limited way of being played with. Or, contribute to their savings fund. This blanket list reduces the number of toys the kids get that are of the 'play a while and chuck in the corner' variety.

The way the twins play is slightly different from other children of their age. By virtue of there being two of them, their play is highly interactive. It also means however that they don't play with toys as much. When shown, Evan will play with train sets and Lego for a while. I bought Jordan a set of wooden dolls that you could dress up with magnetic clothes. They like their toys but they far prefer weaving up stories and playing together, using what they can find round the house as props.

I have no issue with that. I love how they play because often, it's wild and out of this world, it's hilarious and most importantly, it's something they came up with for themselves. But it also means that a lot of the toys they get at Christmas and their birthday gets chucked by the wayside. This then leads to me having to find space to store the stuff. We constantly seem to adding to the mountain of toys they get and sometimes, I feel the need to chuck them.

Then I feel guilty. I am contributing to waste. I am possibly burning plastic. And I am doing the environment a huge disfavour. So I try not to chuck. We end up giving away a lot to the Salvos. At least they get a second lease of life. We also decided that every Christmas and every birthday for the kids, they will choose to give up some of their toys and give them away, to those who do not have access to the amount of toys they do. We hope that teaches them not to take things for granted, to be aware of the plight of others and also not to just play, chuck and forget about it. At the same time, we don't buy a lot for them. We take hand me downs and pay it forward and if there's something that I think they'll like a lot, I try and look for it second hand first.

Our hope is that we don't breed Toys' R US kids, who want everything in the store. While in the US, we were told of a pre-school where, as a rule, children could bring books and toys to school as long as they weren't 'branded' as in they were inspired by cartoon characters or television shows/ movies.

Here they are. All 3 of them playing with a foam hat that Packrat brought home from work. Muffin played Peekaboo with it. Evan was a policeman or Papa (although I have never seen Papa wear a hat) and Jordan was off to slay dragons. All with one hat and one sword (until Muffin bit a chunk out of the sword and I took it away much to his great anger!)

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