Saturday, January 12, 2013

Things to play with.

You know those Melissa and Doug toys? The ones that my mom described as "beautiful and boring. Parents love them and kids hate them?"
Yeah, those. I love them. My kids hate them.

They're beautiful wooden, brightly painted, simple, battery-free, old-fashioned toys. I want them all. I want to spend excessive amounts of money on them.
Every time I see them on sale I snatch them up. I bring home puzzles, stacking games, and blocks from garage sales and thrift stores - feeling so proud of myself. So delighted. And so, so sure that my kids will love these new toys.
Guess what. They never do. Ever. Nor do they love and cherish the many books that I buy and read to them. Or the cardigans and collared shirts that I want them to wear. (Although they are thankfully really into their hightops.)

The toys that my kids want to play with? The iPad. The iPhone. Tigger that's dressed as a devil and plays music while squirming. That creepy dog that sings "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" and occasionally yells out, "Hug Me!" "I love you!" and "I SEE YOU."
NOOOOO! Demon Dog! I hate you!

Until this week, the boys didn't know how to open the bottom of those toys and turn them on. Now they do. So that's fun.

They know how to unlock the iPad and iPhone, open up their own games and tv shows and play them. They know how to put in a DVD, turn on the tv, and press play when it gets to the menu screen. They require absolutely zero help.

When I put stuffed animals, baby dolls, or anything besides their pillow, blanket, and a book or two into their beds, they get mad. They throw it all out and yell at me.
Unless we're counting devil-Tigger or demon-Dog. They do want to sleep with those.

The toys that we actually play with at our house?
The shape sorter. Their trucks. The basketball hoop. Their Legos. Sometimes their trains. Their bikes.
The problem with these toys is that they all apparently require my constant attention.

I need to twist the shape sorter and help them find the star (Or as the boys say, "Sta-RAWR!")
I need to watch them play with their trucks and let them drive them on my body.
I need to chase the ball for them and cheer myself hoarse every time they make a basket.
I need to help build things, and protect the boys towers from each other.
I need to constantly rebuild the train tracks, since they kneel on them every few seconds and break them up.
And I need to push them on their balance bikes, because their toes don't quite touch the ground.

Sometimes I think to myself, "I'll let you entertain yourselves for 15 minutes, you don't need my constant attention."
At which point, eggs get smashed on the floor, pajamas get pooped in, walls get colored on with Sharpies, flour gets sprinkled across the floor, cookies are reached and devoured despite their height and hiding places, books are ripped to shreds, brothers are covered in lotion, milk is poured on the floor (they know how to get the milk out and they think they know how to pour), and in general - my house and my children are slowly quickly destroyed.

Winter is kicking my butt. I need to get these boys to a park so we can drain some of their excessive energy. We've gone to a few indoor playgrounds, in malls and things. Guess what my kids don't love?
Indoor parks.
Guess what they do love? Running through stores and pulling things off of shelves and hangers, throwing tantrums in the Baby Gap, assaulting strangers, and weaving in and out of people whilst going opposite directions. Oh, and refusing -at all costs- to be put in a stroller or cart at any time.

This post is off topic. I was mostly going to post pictures of my kids playing with their trains, but obviously I had a rant just begging to get out.

Oh, here's something else.
I've decided that the boys are too old for bottles. They're almost two, after all.

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Kristen said...

Ah! Your new blog header! I'm in love!

Krystle said...

Eek! We're in the same boat here...

Also- I'm a fan of cold turkey- get the bottles out of the house, offer sippy cups and be prepared for a few rough days. Then they get over it.
But that's just how I roll

Unknown said...

Well, I heart you! Seriously, your blog makes me laugh all the time. I want to know, though: do you need like, no sleep? I'm so envious of all your projects like the quilts and quiet books. I can't fathom undertaking things like that though my Pinterest is loaded with them. I admire you!

Yolo Momma said...

I wanted to kick the bottle habit right at the same time as the breast feeding wean went on. If I might as well have to put up with a fuss, why not get a better bang for my misery!

I guess my only suggestion would be to put the electronics out of reach and only the other toys while you keep yourself busy. Toys in room with baby gate up in door. Might be rough but I am sure they will find new ways to play.

Alissa Moghtaderi said...

75% of our toys come from the following companies: Melissa & Doug, Plan Toys, Green Toys, Little Sapling, Brio, and Kid O.

0% of our toys take batteries.

It was hard to establish with all our friends and family that the boys are not allowed to play with things that light up and make noise or have screens, but it has really paid off. They love their trucks and blocks and books.

But we have the luxury of a day divided between different caregivers--in the morning and evening, we are just so happy to be together that we don't need distractions, and during the day Lindsey has the energy to keep them entertained because she goes home to a quiet apartment at night to recharge. I don't think I could be a stay-at-home mom and cook and sew while maintaining a strict no-batteries policy. You buy yourself opportunity to make dinner when you let them watch a video.

So my point is hang in there. Enjoy your Melissa & Doug and congratulate yourself on your beautiful quilts and delicious dinners.

Molly S said...

We're the same way with Melissa and Doug. My son is like ... halfway entertained. What he DOES love is play food. I hope that's not too girly ... Anyway, the only reason I think he DOES enjoy his toys (since he has no light up, noise-making, battery-taking ones) is that we also kept cell phones, iPads, computers, etc out of reach. Maybe try taking those away. I think it'll be very rough in the beginning, but just be diligent about it for about a week. Maybe they'll start loving whatever they have available.

Even though my son has all those toys, he still prefers pots and pans and spatulas and the felt food I made him (especially the bread - it's french toast in his eyes) and I NEVER have a clean pan to actually cook with. Occupational hazard, I suppose.

Party of Three Heads said...

Cold turkey is the way.. 24 hours or so of toe curling screaming ,and then you'll be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Waldram Family said...

My boys (twins-25 months) love the Melissa and Doug play food that they can pretend cut! They are so much fun! They also love M and D ice cream set because they have magnets in them and they can make ice cream cones. I have found M and D at TJ Maxx and Homegoods for great prices! My boys also love the same train track that your boys have from Ikea. Oh, and magnadoodles. We do have toys that light up and make lots of noise but that is okay, they love them! I try to get light up toys that are at least educational (Leapfrog toys are great).

Unknown said...

Also, just thought of this, have you checked out Ikea? If there is one nearby or delivers, their toy selection is that same style--wooden, old-fashionedy yet Euro hip. And affordable!

MARCIE said...

Hmmm, is that Demon Dog the one I bought them?

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