A kind neighbour, whose two boys are a few years older than mine, was getting rid of a bunch of toys and wondered if I’d like to take some. That is why there’s now a big reusable grocery bag full of amazing toys, hidden down in the basement. Every now and then, mostly on days when we’re really needing a distraction, I take a new toy out and present it to my overjoyed toddler. It never ceases to amaze me how excited he gets over seemingly small things. I also continue to be surprised at how quickly he loses interest in those same things. Before I know it, he’s moping around the house, struggling to occupy himself or refusing to act on any of the ideas I come up with. (On days like those, I feel ever so slightly jealous of moms with TVs.)
The novelty has not yet worn off of one toy in particular, thank goodness, and we’re going on nearly a week since he got it. It’s a little Playmobil set with a garage and dump truck, a helicopter, and a race car, all complete with individual drivers. I’m not sure what the connection is between all three vehicles, not usually seen in cooperation with each other, but he doesn’t care one bit. He sits for a good chunk of the day, driving and parking and dumping and flying and racing all over the house. Ever since his dad showed him how to make helicopter noises, that’s the most commonly-heard noise in the house, characterized by its very wet, slobbery sound.
It brings back memories of my own obsession with Playmobil. Every birthday and Christmas my sister and I received a set of furniture, which never ceased to thrill us. Kitchen, living room, bedroom, play room, bathroom with an old-fashioned cord-pull toilet – you name it, I had it. This was not just any old dollhouse. Ours had tiny electric lights that my dad had installed, so we could light it up at night and watch it till we fell asleep.
Mom made us miniature food out of Fimo clay, so we had baskets full of veggies, fried eggs, hot dogs in buns, loaves of bread, and fruit. We had little plates and sets of cutlery, and often set up very civilized dinner parties for our people to enjoy. My ‘man’ was Charles, named after Charles Ingalls, of course. Being the normal, curious little girls we were, we often made them have awkward Playmobil sex under the molded plastic bed covers. It was never too successful, since they kept falling out of bed, which even then I knew isn’t conducive to a particularly good time…
I’m delighted to see my own son developing an interest in Playmobil. We’re encouraging it with our latest potty-training tactic, too. The 2012 Playmobil catalogue resides on a high shelf in the bathroom, available for perusing only when he’s sitting on the toilet. So far, no luck, but it’s kept him there longer than anything else to date, so my fingers are crossed.