While in Boulder last month, I picked up a few little gifts for Archer: little plastic animals that expand and grow into HUGE plastic animals when you put them under water. Because I knew he would really appreciate them. I knew he would freak the fuck out because they were just so cool. Except that while digging through my wallet for my credit card, I realized that really I was buying them for me. That Archer wouldn't care about such objects. But I did. I couldn't wait to get home so I could put the plastic tiger in a bowl and watch it expand up to 600 times its original size.
I was embarassed to admit it so I told no one. I paid the man in the Rob Zombie t-shirt, put the toys in my pocket and went on my way.
This has happened more than I care to admit. Something catches my eye. A plastic Dragon or a little toy train. Something charming and quirky. Something I would have loved as a child. And time after time, I bring home treasures that go untouched, unloved, unnoticed.
And a part of me takes it personally. The little girl in me, perhaps, who misses playing with toys. Barbies and Lincoln Logs and little plastic animals my mother bought me at the Zoo. Madame Alexander dolls and toy soldiers.
I am convinced that half if not all of the toys and gifts and items we bring home to our children are just things we wish we could have had when we were little. I would have loved this! I find myself saying. Maybe Archer will too!
I'm pretty sure that consumer holidays are a success because shoppers end up buying all of the stuff they always wanted. I don't think I'm the only parent who brings toys home to her child, only to play with them in secret while he's napping. I've spent hours working on a single Lego-house, only to fight back tears when Archer knocks it down with one roundhouse kick. NoooOOOO! That was MY house! Eh!
Sometimes I go overboard and I have to stop myself. Because ant farms and sea-monkeys and pet rats are MY FAVORITE. But they will have to wait for when Archer's older. Even though, I beg myself for them. Please can I buy a butterfly habitat? Pretty please?
Sure, adult toys are fun-- electronics and all of the wonderful gidgets and gadgets. But there is nothing like ripping the plastic off of a brand new set of matchbox cars. There is nothing like a red wagon with a big bow tied around the handle. Or a set of plastic jungle animals that expand up to 600 times their original size under water.