Waiting for Little Hands – Again

Posted on March 15, 2012

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Old toys can be the best toys

When I first became a grandma a little over a year ago, my daydreams frequently were filled with sweet scenarios of playing with our grand-baby, hauling out and enriching her with a few treasured keepsake toys and books from her mother’s infancy. Back then I figured it was my motherly right to squirrel away a few favourite toys and items for the next generation. After all, I do come from a family of pack-rats when it comes to heritage records and milestone mementos. After suffering the protests from my Hubby decades earlier of “Why do you want to keep all this baby stuff?!”, I’m finally able to retort with “She’ll love these!” Those couple of boxes that had been sitting patiently in the basement are finally being unpacked a little at a time, ready for some new attention.

Naturally, the first little playthings to resurface were the baby rattles, squeakies, and baby-sized plushies. They proved to be helpful distractions as much as anything really, objects that triggered memories of those early months of new motherhood. When our grand-daughter’s wriggling progressed into crawling, I was able to bring out a couple more interesting toys and stuffies to entertain the little munchkin. As the babe began trying out her legs and the balance improved, her curiosity and motor skills ramped up as well. She was definitely becoming a unique little person.

Now just as I figured it was well and good to have packed away the old baby items for a resurrection decades later, I also felt it was it appropriate to pass along the tradition of gifting a noisy plaything or two. (It’s a custom that aunties and uncles have taken advantage of for as long as I know.) Interestingly, with technology creeping into every part of our lives, several toy companies are cashing in on the electronic baby gadgets that guarantee teeth-gnashing and exasperation from the annoyed and sleep-deprived parents with their incessant chimes, rhymes, and high-pitched giggles. (And to think a few bells and whistles made me crazy back in the old days!) An old plastic train with moveable beads and a shiny little bell, as well as an old xylophone resurfaced.

But do not think of me as an evil-spirited, it’s-pay-back-time kind of granny – no! In fact, I am trying to encourage the wee one’s sense of imagination and fun with the low-tech, beloved toys of years ago. One particular item, a collapsible tunnel made of a sturdy metal spring and fabric, was a hit with both my daughter and son when they were little. Unfortunately, because they simply loved that ol’ tunnel to the point of disrepair, I found myself searching for a similar toy as our little darling became more and more active.

It's the perfect size

I rejoiced when a found a fantastic nylon-covered version on a shopping trip. Our little grand-baby is now having a tremendous amount of fun squirming through it, playing hide-and-seek with it, and even having “reflective pauses” in her special place. Truth is, her mommy and uncle had the best time reliving their youth when we first brought the new tunnel home, wriggling inside it and playing “earth worm time”. It was a hoot to see them enjoying that experience again as adults.

Every so often, I find myself going back in the basement to have a snoop back in those boxes of vintage childhood treasures, remembering the good times that our children had with them and thinking about the stages ahead when they’ll be able to come out for another day with our wee dumpling. I’m glad I kept a few favourite items from the past; our daughter seems genuinely pleased with having that connection to her past too. It proves that sometimes you can actually go back and be a kid again – hooray!

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