Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Changing Face of Childrens Toys


It’s very easy to overlook those slow changes that occur throughout your life. Then suddenly something happens to throw them into stark relief.

A classic example of this was the TV drama “Life on Mars”, which brought back to life those decades that you had somehow managed to muddle through without constant access to a mobile phone. The days when you left your home and, once out of ear shot, became ‘uncontactable’. And yet we still managed to function. We even managed to meet people! How did we do it? I seriously can't remember and I certainly don't know how I'd manage today.

Another example of this phenomenon was this Christmas and birthday with Marty. 

He’s now two and even though he’d be just as happy with an empty cardboard box we felt obliged to fill said boxes with gifts. When I was two this would have meant a cowboy hat, a little holster, possibly a loud checked top with leather tassels and definitely a very shiny handgun. The kid down the street would then acquire an American Indian outfit and we would happily spend the summer months acting out those genocidal events of yesteryear.

Now I must admit that the idea of giving Marty a fake gun doesn’t sit very well with me these days but I had absolutely no problems with it whatsoever when I was a kid. All the TV shows seemed to be Westerns and it made perfect sense to a kid of my age that you should spend the day pretending to ride around on a horse shooting the indigenous folk - who would then wholly overreact by shooting back.

So I was not expecting Leanne to arrive back from the shops with a six-shooter. However, what I also wasn’t expecting was the tiny shopping trolley, the baby ‘Henry’ vacuum cleaner and the little plastic cooker, complete with pans, and polyethylene fried egg and bacon set!

Seriously! This is what we bought him... Actually, no, this is what my wife bought him! AND no one else blinked an eye! I was standing there a gasp, as everyone else crooned over how cute he looked dragging his little vacuum cleaner around the house, shouting “Oover! Oover! Did it”

I attempted to explain to my wife that these all seemed to be slightly effeminate toys and that maybe a Scaletrics would be a good idea, or failing that a train set , which I could no doubt look after for him until he had ‘come-of-age’. From the look she gave me I might as well have been talking to her in Swahili.

Apparently he loved playing with the house Hoover so – ergo - a toy Hoover was the perfect present. I pointed out to her that he also loved playing with his willy, so how come she hadn’t bought him a plastic one of them? But it was all to no avail.

That said, yes he does seem to enjoy dragging a plastic Hoover around the house and, yes, he loves playing with his plastic ‘Eggy’, he even enjoys pushing his little trolly around the house. I’m just hoping he’ll grow out of it, but apparently that’s a sign of my age.



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