Toddler Talk Metroplus

Toy story

Toys are an essential part of childhood. Thinking back, you remember your toys with the same deep affection you felt for them as a child. That favourite teddy you took everywhere, that dollhouse you wanted so, so badly and were over the moon with happiness to own… They’re linked to cherished memories of hours spent in contented play. They’re linked back to happier, simpler times.



Divya Kumar is a freelance journalist and stay-at-home mom. When she’s not hanging out with her three-yearold daughter, she can usually be found writing and posting about her online.


However, as the parent of a toddler, you develop decidedly ambivalent feelings towards toys. Your children’s toys, in particular, but also toys in general. Toys, in a sense, become the enemy. They entice your toddler as you pass the toy store in the mall, and cause meltdowns mid-corridor; they make leaving school every day a stressful affair, because of opportunistic toy peddlers who strategically place themselves outside the gate and tempt your already cranky three-year-old with garish Rs. 20-ware. They’re the reason your house will never look pristine again, the reason why you’ve given up on the notion of ‘décor’ altogether since the birth of your child.

Don’t get me wrong. You do derive a lot of pleasure by watching your child enjoy her toys in that way only little kids can. You indulge in nostalgia, remembering how much fun you had playing pretend with your first doctor set. You get that gooey good feeling in your chest when your child hugs you and thanks you for the toy. These toys are as special to your kids as yours were to you. You know that.

It’s just that toys, especially during the toddler phase, have a way of taking over your life. It’s not just that they coat every available surface of the house, stabbing you in the bottom when you sit on the sofa and impaling your feet in the dark. It’s also the amount of time and effort they take. If your child has a favourite stuffed animal/doll, you’re at that darned toy’s mercy. You’re dispatched to ‘bring Teddy Biddy’ (my daughter’s current favourite) to bed in the middle of the night, and then asked to tuck him in till he’s quite comfortable. You’re frantically asked to ‘find Teddy Biddy’ at least 15 times a day. You’re on call 24/7 to a.) seat Teddy Biddy upright (“Amma! He won’t sit!”), b.) dress/undress him in the outfit of the day, c.) pick him up (also at least 15 times a day) off the ground/floor of the car. Drama of the sort seen on the season finale of a mega serial erupts if you leave for grandma’s house without Teddy Biddy. As this is usually discovered only after you’ve left the gates, you have no choice but to turn around and then stomp upstairs again to get it. And god help you if Teddy Biddy is ever lost outside somewhere (Please god, let it not be so).

If you’re not fetching and carrying them, or looking for them, then favourite toys need to be fixed. When a toddler adores a toy, there’s going to be considerable wear and tear. Even if you’ve never thought of yourself as the fix-it type in your pre-parenting life, you’ll soon find yourself wielding glue-sticks and even needle and thread with flair (my high school needlework teacher would pass out with shock) because the alternative is a heartbroken flood of tears from your toddler.

If you’re not sewing or gluing them back together, you’re putting them away. Over and over again. If there’s a more thankless job than clearing toys up, I’m yet to find it. You put them away, turn your back, and everything is out on the floor again in precisely five seconds. Still, in spite of it all, you find yourself weakening when you see a new toy that you know your toddler will love. You’ve given your entire family strict instructions not to buy the kid any more stuff, and yet, you slink home sheepishly in the evening having bought her something yourself. You tell yourself it’s educational, but that’s just an excuse. The truth is, sometimes, the parent in you gives in to the child within.

(I’m still not buying you that fluorescent pink trumpet from outside school, kid).

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2020 1:44:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/toy-story/article7367076.ece

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