Prison House of No Toys
OK, so here’s the deal. I know the answer is “we’re totally NOT doing it wrong,” but it can’t help but FEEL like we’re doing it wrong some days. Doing WHAT? Raising up a kid, that’s what.
My wife wrote about RR’s recently play date. What she failed to mention, though, is where the play date took place made our house look like prison. We dropped RR off at Jane’s house, where, as soon as we walked in, there was an entire room gated off and covered in primary colored cushiony alphabet letter flooring, with wall-to-wall toys and bookcases full of FUN. A tent, a tunnel, a battery-powered thing that played songs and used air to pop up little plastic balls. Behold, the play room.
I’m sure these reasonable (and VERY nice folks) were actually very proud that their playroom wasn’t the entire basement floor. Seriously – Google “playroom” images.
And honestly, if you look at any new construction for sale, the basement is always either staged as a Man Cave or a Play Room. And yes, we have a hybrid of things in our basement, but it is most certainly not a Play Room. Unless you’re a spider. Then it’s TOTALLY a Play Room.
Anyhow – we dropped RR off, got in the car, and kind of moaned to ourselves. OMG. What on earth must they have thought when they dropped Jane off at our Prison House of No Toys. But that’s not totally true. She has toys. (SHG can confirm.) They’re just… not a LOT. They are, actually, more than my wife is comfortable having, truth be known. There’s a small toddler table with RR’s “things” on it: a school bus, some figurines, a tiny blanket that Granny knitted FOR the figurines, and maybe a stuffed animal or two. There is no Play Room. There ARE a lot of African masks and a pretty nifty fetish.
She doesn’t really play with toys. Well, she plays with a toy, singular, for a very long time. But nothing lights up. Or takes up more than two square feet. Or is even primary colored. She has a bookcase of puzzles in her room that she never plays with.
But then there are other things. Like the fact that she doesn’t know any princesses, really. That, at her playdate, Jane’s mother said, “I gave her a Go-Gurt, and it seemed like she had never had one before? She kept asking me to open it. But it was open…” And that, on weekends, she prefers to wear her Scratchy Shirts. The red and gold one – the “Redskins” she says. The “Bears” one, which is actually an Official NFL Jay Cutler jersey that her fake rich uncle sent her. She likes to watch the “men running” with me on Sundays after her nap.
And speaking of naps. That she still takes three-hour long ones on the weekends. IN HER CRIB. That, the other day after her nap, she wanted to be left alone, in the dark of her room, sitting in her recliner with milk and goldfish crackers.
I know we’re doing it right. I do. I very much do. That’s not to say that everyone else is doing it “wrong” as much as doing it differently. But a lot of them are doing it differently, the same way. There’s princesses and Play Rooms and Go-Gurt and wanting to wear something specific (that isn’t a football jersey) and peeing in the potty. Instead, we have Mr. and Mrs. Spoon at the dinner table and sitting along in the dark in her room and diapers.
Not wrong, but different. Right?