Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Boys' Toys

OB's birthday is at the end of next month, and less than a month after, it's Christmas. Now, I know his birthday isn't all that close to Christmas in the grand scheme of things (I have friends with a little one's birthday on Dec 23rd, my Grandma's birthday was Boxing Day, and another friend shares her Christmas Day birthday with her Dad!) but it's close enough to have caught me out somewhat last year.

I got very excited about OB's 2nd birthday, planning the Rock Star themed party well in advance, stocking up on present ideas and generally really putting my back into it. Consequence? Once the party things were cleared away I realised that I had got him absolutely everything I wanted to get him for his birthday and had absolutely no ideas for Christmas at all! Not only that but, with concentrating on the birthday, I had given no thought to Christmas presents for anyone else either, leading to a pretty frantic December.

So this year, I'm being more circumspect. I have a few ideas for presents and I'm determined to save some of them for Christmas (despite my excitement!). He'll have a bit of a split birthday anyway as my parents are over next week and they'll be bringing birthday presents for him - we'll definitely get into them while they're here as they'll be on holiday and possibly out of skype contact when it's his actual birthday.

Of course, OB will be three this time, which means he's getting a bit beyond the toddler and baby toys and is ready for some slightly older-aged playthings.

And herein lies my problem. I just don't understand boys' toys!

At baby and toddler level, I'm pretty familiar with the kinds of things on offer - nice wooden jigsaws, various noisy plastic things, wooden trains, duplo - stuff like that.  These things are pretty universal for girls and boys at that age.  But once they hit three years old, it seems we enter some kind of toy-related alternative universe.

The 'Girl-Toy Universe' - slightly nauseating!
For a start, everything, and I mean everything, seems to be themed or linked to some TV programme, and consequently way more expensive than I think it needs to be. OB isn't all that into Thomas or Fireman Sam or whatever. I'm really reluctant to pay a tenner for 3 plastic Thomas toys. It's not as though he wouldn't recognise Thomas (although not the other ones) but he'd be just as happy with any blue train - he'd probably still call it Thomas!

Secondly, a massive schism between what are obviously boys' toys and what are obviously girls' toys seems to have suddenly opened up. All the girls toys are violently pink, princessy, fairy-related or beauty-related or keeping-home-related.

All the boys toys are horrible.

And black.

And I have no idea what they are or how you play with them.

I don't really want to wade into the debate about how healthy it is for kids to have their toys segregated by gender in such a specific way (although I have issues with that) but really, I have a fear of a future looming in front of us where OB plays with fiddly, ugly, character figures that I don't know anything about, and is continually expecting me to join in with his, to me, quite incomprehensible play scenarios. I already struggle with the concept of moving toy cars around on the floor - what is he doing when he does that?!  So how am I going to cope when all his toys look like this?



I really struggle to buy for my nephews and have done ever since they finished the toddler age.  Thankfully the older one is way past toys now, but for the younger one . . . well, I shop around and do my best, but basically I have no idea whether the thing I'm buying is going to be the coolest toy ever, or will have to be resigned to the back of the wardrobe immediately due to its embarrassment factor. And kids' toys aren't particularly cheap, so if you inadvertently buy the latter, then it's a fair bit of money you're wasting.

It may be that this birthday and Christmas will be the last one when the kinds of toys I like will match up with the kinds of toys OB likes! So I'm making the most of it - lego, guitar, mini drum kit (thanks to my parents - but I did give permission!), arts and crafts, accessories for his brio-style train track . . . what I call 'nice' toys! Can't wait.

3 comments:

  1. We have much the same problem with age and timings and we are going for similar toys... Scooter, ukulele, harmonica, books, brio all likely to feature. Sounds like you are on the right track for age 3.

    Anyway, next year he will probably present you with a shopping list! Our nephew certainly did at that age

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