“Should we get some toys for the baby?” I asked my husband, as I anxiously awaited the development of our little one’s gross motor skills. The hubs was an old pro at being daddy, having three older sons, so he was my live-in expert on everything baby.
“We don’t need many toys, he has big brothers,” he said. So we gave him a few soft balls and were greatly entertained as those patient brothers taught him to throw them, each time with an adorably determined grunt like a Russian weight-lifter. Soon though, he learned to crawl and with his newfound mobility, his obsession shifted to pushing empty cereal boxes and my tupperware collection around the kitchen floor while making motor sounds. Right before his first birthday, I began to feel guilty. Most almost-one-year-olds probably have at least one actual toy car to push around, don’t they? I mean, he was all about the tupperware “cars,” but I was THRILLED when he got a tiny four-wheeler, two dump trucks, a little people farm set, a puzzle, lots of bubbles, and an awesome baby basketball hoop on birthday party day. He finally had real toys!
Well, it turns out my guilty mom feelings of toy inadequacy were unnecessary, as even with the sudden abundance of real toys, he continued to improvise. Here are his current (and ever-so-kid-appropriate) Top Ten Toys of Choice:
- The toilet scrubby. The first place spot, hands-down, without-a-doubt, goes to the almighty toilet scrub brush that can be found conveniently stashed next to every throne in our house. I have always been a firm believer that one should never have to carry a nasty, drippy toilet scrubby through a house on cleaning day (God forbid, across carpet!) So, much to my son’s delight, there are FOUR of these jewels in our house, and he loves them all equally.
- The jar of Mexican Hot Chili Powder. (And almost every other bottle in the pull-out spice rack I so badly wanted built into my custom cabinets.) These are so fun to roll around the kitchen, that they often end up IN the dishwasher, in other cabinets, in his dresser drawers in his nursery, and I even found a bottle of Lawry’s in the washing machine one time. Go figure.
- The door-stop spring thingy. There are MANY of these wonderful enigmas in our house, and their main function seems to be delighting my son. Not only does he love to make the THAA-WAAAAAANG-AAANG-AANG-ANG sound repeatedly; he also loves detaching them from the wall and carrying them around in his mouth. Or my personal favorite: Using them for a hammer to bang on random other non-toy toys in the house. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD-can we not engineer these mandatory marvels to somehow remain permanently attached to the wall?
- The aim-n-flame. We, being Montana folk who are surrounded by trees, burn wood all winter to help heat our house. Therefore, a big wood-burning fireplace is the heart of our living room, which doubles as baby’s playroom. A strategically-placed clothes hamper system keeps the wood pile and fireplace tools out of reach, but anytime the aim-n-flame gets left on the hearth, the baby WILL get his hands on it. It is his personal mission.
- The vacuum. Especially the power cord, but only when it is plugged in and running, or conveniently pointed in the perfect direction to fall on him with the slightest tug.
- The diaper genie. If I were asked to improve the design of a diaper genie, I would change two things. 1) Make it air-tight so it actually holds that lovely aroma in (is that even possible?) and 2) make it a rectangular prism that cannot be rolled around a room. Which leads me to number 7.
- Burritos. Which in our house, is the code word for dirty diapers. If a burrito gets placed anywhere within reach of the sitting/laying/crawling baby, it will end up in his freshly washed little hands.
- Mama’s hoosier. This prized family heirloom is filled with all of my heavy, breakable kitchen things, since it has the “latch” that baby is not supposed to be able to open. Running the dining room chairs into the hoosier to pop the cabinet door open is a new favorite pastime of our little learning-to-walker. I am sure glad I put those nice slippery felt pads on the feet of all the chairs, we wouldn’t want to put a mark in the vinyl, now would we?
- Daddy’s recently peeled-off, dirty socks. Daddy just loves to kick those socks off, usually in a different place every evening. This creates a wonderfully stinky Easter egg hunt for the baby, who loves to locate these little prizes and then fling them all around whichever room we happen to be in.
- The “smart” satellite tv remote control. Even though he has his very own remote that his cunning daddy gave him, sans batteries of course; the baby much prefers to operate the real remote when he gets his tech-savvy little hands on it. You know, the one that actually makes the tv DO something when you point it at it and push the buttons? Change channels, record series, delete important recordings-the fun that remote provides is almost endless! So many buttons!
Anyway, I can’t wait to see what new favorites pop up in the next few months when my little explorer figures out the whole walking-on-his-own thing. Until then, I will still be following him around, watching him knowingly shake his head “no-no” as he heads for any of these ten irresistible toys.