I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and very Happy New Year. Our family Christmas was quiet, well, as quiet as it can be with 3 young children and all the excitement and promise that Christmas brings for them.
My eldest, who usually is a bit of a sleepy head, came and announced to me at 5am that Santa had been. She had a little wait for the others to emerge (We have been blessed with “sleepers” , two children who slept through the night from 2.5 months old, one who HAD to learn the art of sleeping or I was going to go insane.) and after a very quick breakfast, unwrapping began.
Christmas through the eyes of our children is a wondrous thing. As our children only asked for a couple of DVD’s, everything was a surprise and wonderful … at first. Leo, 2 years, soon realised that one of his presents, the Truck Maintenance Centre, was not very interactive. Actually, it did everything by itself. I watch him trying to play and was getting annoyed that the truck went around the ramp and was hoisted up again, by itself. He wanted to be involved in the play (luckily he has now realised that all the bolts can be undone and done up with the tools included, so he is happy to “fix” and “make” things, but the truck included is usually pushed around the floor, not used on the ramp.) Santa bought each of the children one of these plastic little gimmicky toys each, I am so glad that their main presents were strong shovels and metal wheel barrows for use when gardening, and that have been used often since Christmas.
I think it’s interesting that the very thing that Santa (aka me) thought was fantastic about this toy (the self- hoisting bit) was the very thing that my 2 year old found frustrating. If it had been a wind up mechanism, I think he would have been much happier (particularly if it had been visible gears with moving parts.) He wanted to interact and make things happen…not just be a spectator!
On Boxing Day, I was reminded again of how children truly see the world and how they naturally interact and create from the simplest of things around them. With all the toys and gifts they had received from relatives, friends and Santa, laying around begging to be played with, Leo walked up to me with 3 pegs in his hands and said “Make a plane”. So we made 2 peg-planes together and he happily flew these over the top of the other presents in his amazing imaginary world of flight. It made me question whether he really needed any of his toy gifts!
A friend recently commented that she thought she could wrap up some of the toys that her girls already had and “re-gift” them to her kids for Christmas and they would enjoy them all over again. I thought that I could definitely have done this with some of the hand-me-downs the kids had been given and not have spent a cent on Christmas! My kids would have never known. Then again, I could have possibly given Leo a bucket of pegs and he would have been happy!
Through the eyes of a child, the world is already a wonderful place, full of interesting things to see, make and do, if we allow them a little of our time to help. Instead of the toy I thought would entertain him for hours while I got some other “MORE IMPORTANT” things done, he preferred to make peg planes and spend time with mum…but then is that really surprising? Do children really need or want all the things designed to entertain them or are our lives so busy that we want the kids “kept quiet” and occupied by things? Does time with the kids always have to be outings or “play-dates”? Is the extensive gift giving something to do with the desire to give them all we can give, but all they really want is our time and simple items to create with from around the house?
I have made a couple of resolutions this year…some of the standards (with dubious success in the past), but one that I will definitely be keeping is “This year I will make the time to make more “peg-planes” with my son”. I think we all could use a bit more “peg-plane” making time, don’t you? Until next time…