Today, my husband took Shep and Rory on a walk. They strolled down our street, a full mile to the river's edge. Once they arrived at the playground, my husband encouraged Shep to go run his little heart out. If you've raised a toddler before, you can guess what's coming next. Shep decided that the playground was boring. He wanted nothing to do with it. Picking up errant cigarette butts seemed far more interesting.
Earlier, I shared with you that my husband and I don't buy toys for our son. This isn't because we're anti-fun, or because we don't want Shep to have nice things. It's because he barely ever plays with toys anyway. Things that are specifically designed to grab and hold the attention of children? Yeah, they don't. Not for my kid, at least. He'd much rather squirt the water spray bottle I use for diaper changes. Or dump out a buttload of cashews onto the floor. Or melt a Popsicle and then pour it all over the coffee table.
It's infuriating, if I'm being honest. Here's the problem - Shep thinks everything is a toy unless I explicitly tell him it's not a toy. Even then, he forgets too often to be trusted in a room alone. I kind of love this curiosity, in a way. It's mesmerizing - and often comical - to see how he repurposes everyday objects. If it's unfamiliar to him, or he hasn't seen us use it, he invents his own creative way of interacting with it. So, mixing bowls become hats and chopsticks become drumsticks. Empty baskets become an monster truck arena with his Hot Wheels and Millenium Falcon figurines. "They", whoever they are, weren't lying when they said that seeing your child discover the world for the first time is the most magical part of parenting.
Like 'most everything in life, this is a double-edge sword. A part of me is glad that Shep nurtures his innate curiosity. But the part of me that isn't pure mom - the grown woman who appreciates cleanliness and order isn't about it. Sometimes I just want my son to be enthralled by toys instead of by the toilet. It would make car trips so much easier - I could leave a bag of Shep-friendly toys in the trunk and we'd be set. Instead of feeling a sense of dread around holidays and birthdays, I'd look forward to finding a spot for all the love.
For now, I am relenting. If Shep wants to play with measuring spoons and plastic straws, then I'll go buy them in bulk. It feels like I'm stretching my brain - how could this innocuous home decor piece become a unicorn horn? Sort of like impromptu? But this isn't "Whose Line Is It Anyway?". This is my real life, knee-deep in the messiness of toddler exuberance. Instead of focusing on how cute that candle holder would look on my coffee table, I check the durability. Can this withstand being thrown across a room? Will it break the TV? Do I need to keep this on a tall shelf? But most importantly, the first question that comes to mind: What will this mundane object become in the magical hands of my two-year-old?
Does your toddler play with toys? Or are they only interested in aluminum foil? What's the weirdest thing you've caught them playing with? Tell me more @pi3sugarpi3