My hopes for this blog is to provide other mothers with support, information, new insights, and hopefully a few laughs as we learn together what is really means to be "Mom."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Keeping it Simple...What toys are best

My oldest son, Austin, just turn one. Having a birthday so close to the holidays has meant one overload of toys. He received gifts of all shapes and sizes. Even after trying to politely suggest options other than toys, family and friends seemed unable to resist all of the bright colors and lights that seem to emanate from the toy isle. For those of you who haven't yet had to fight your way through the jungle of unused toys that is left after the packages have been open, I wish you luck and offer you a bit of advice when dealing with gift givers. I think that the biggest problem I had, was not knowing what to suggest instead of toys. As usual, my son has offered me an education in this area. Now all I can say is that I am ready for round two.

Here is what I have learned: Keep it simple. Money doesn't matter. Beware of "recommended ages."

Yes, the ball popping,music playing, light flashing seal that speaks three languages really is amazing. Unless you are scared of flying objects, can be easily over stimulated and only know how to utter single syllables. After venturing into the toy store myself it seems that most of the toys aren't even geared towards the children. They are marketed for the parents (yes admit it, you are drawn to shiny things) Everyone seems to tell you that their toys has the most gadgets or will make your baby the smartest. But the truth is, even if their claims are true your child has to want to play with them first.

To help guide me through this maze, I decided to let Austin pick out his own toys. So we went forth armed with his last remaining gift card to find the perfect gift. We walked slowly up and down the isle. A few things seems to catch his interest, so we would play with them in the box but they just didn't hold his attention. Then as we turned a corner, he squealed and starting laughing. I had never seen him react like this to anything. He has spotted a huge display of vinyl balls. I held him up and he quickly grabbed his perfect gift, a 10 inch green bouncy ball. Total cost $1.99. Needless to say I still had a lot of money left to spend and I didn't really want ten balls roaming around my house, so after a game of catch I placed the ball back in the cart and went to find what I thought the perfect toy would be. When we reached the check out and he caught his second glimpse of his treasure, he squealed again. The cashier and everyone in line behind us started laughing.

After weeks of being the proud owner of a rather large green ball, my son still gets overly excited every time he sees it. As for the gift that I bought with the rest of the hasn't made it out of the box yet. I hope Austin can help teach us all a thing or two about what babies really like (and maybe ourselves as well!) Feel free to pass this on to any gift givers who may still need the message too!

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