Monday, December 22, 2014

What You Think You're Giving Isn't Always What You're Giving

Gifts are slowly pilling up under our Christmas tree and, while there are a few for Mrs. Blackwell and myself, the majority of them are for the boy — as they should be.

Mrs. Blackwell’s folks rolled into town this weekend, their all-wheel drive sleigh packed to the roof with gifts. I don’t know what they’ve got for Master Blackwell just yet but, no doubt it’ll be more than he needs.

Big Hugs Emo! He's the latest! He's the greatest!
And, in my house, he's incredibly lonely.
And when we see my folks it’ll be more of the same. More toys. More candy. More. More. More.

Such is the privilege of every grandparent on the planet. They put up with us so now they’re allowed to spoil our kids rotten.

So, the boy’s collection of toys will soon be expanding; as it grows, it’ll be interesting to see which of them draw the boy’s interest the most.

Experience has taught me that there really is no rhyme, nor reason for what toddlers will like.

The boy has been gifted some very nice toys and yet the one that’s received far and away the most attention, is an old imitation Palm Pilot.

It’s big, it’s orange, it’s noisy, Mrs. Blackwell bought it second-hand for $4 and the boy has used the ever-living hell out of it.

It has an old 4 x 6 inch screen that produces crude pixilated images and it screams out “KITTEN” seemingly every 20 seconds it’s in use.  At this point I can recite each sentence this machine spouts off, including:

"I have an important message: yesterday, I went to the park."

Not exactly the equivalent of alien dispatches from from the edges of the Solar System, but pressing news for any toddler, I'm sure.  

Meanwhile, the “Big Hugs Elmo” doll and his far “nicer” animated compatriots sit in the boy’s toy chest, having not seen the light of day for months.  

Pictured: toddler bed canopy.
Sure, some of these nicer toys get occasional interest, but the boy always comes back to the big, orange Palm Pilot.

So we know there's no way of knowing what kids will like.  Just as true is that you have even less of an idea as to how toys might actually be used.

As surely as a Bic pen can be used as a drum stick, other toys have unforeseen utility.

For example, I bought the boy a kid-sized hockey net and accompanying hockey sticks last year. The net has been used plenty but, the imagination of a toddler being what it is, it’s never been used to aim foam pucks or tennis balls at.

Instead the boy prefers to flip the net face down and climb under the open end. Once inside the net, he’ll invite his mother and myself to wedge ourselves in. When we're all under the mesh together, he'll say, “Night, night,” and then pretend to be asleep.

Your guess is as good as mine as to how the net came to serve this purpose. But, as Elmo and the gang could tell me, I should be glad it serves any purpose at all.

In a couple days the boy will unwrap the super cool Light Saber his uncle is getting him and who knows how it'll be used? 

Maybe he'll swing it like Luke Skywalker. Then again, maybe he'll use it to score goals on his hockey net. 

No comments: