I remember when I was a little boy I had “toys” like empty spools of thread, a Bolo Bouncer (wood paddle with the little ball on a long rubber band), and a Hula Hoop. Later I upgraded to high tech gizmos like the Slinkie, and clamp-on sidewalk roller skates that made me feel like I was levitating when I removed them.
Goodness how things have changed. My son’s children have so many toys it looks like he and his wife found a toy store advertising a liquidation sale and made an offer on the entire inventory.
Every damn one of them makes a noise of some kind. Talking—singing—talking and singing—car noises—animal noises—talking, singing, car, and animal noises.
Not only when you’re actually playing with them. Just touch one and it’ll start mooing or singing a nursery rhyme. I discovered that when you repeatedly press the stomach of one doll it sounds like it’s singing a college alma mater song.
I’m convinced some of them are sight or even thought activated. You’ll be sitting there quietly reading, glance up, and suddenly a random doll will try to start a conversation with you.
I attempted to straighten up the playroom one night after the kids went to bed. By the time I finished it sounded like New Year’s Eve at Times Square. Try shushing a roomful of toys—they completely ignore you.
IPads. I admit it---I’m clueless. When we were taking care of the grandkids Cynthia asked me if I knew how to pull up one of Addison’s (the 2 year old) cartoon videos. I said, “Give it to her. She probably knows how to do it.” That’s because she called us on Skype by herself 6 months ago.
Sure enough, we handed it to her, she swiped her finger here and there, then sat down on the sofa to watch Winnie the Pooh. What can you say but, “Wow---.”
Thankfully I discovered that kids are still kids. Addison enjoyed sitting and drawing with me, or going outside to catch and kick a ball. Aaron, the little eight month old. laughed at my funny faces and played Paddy Cake with me.
I’m sure all these fancy newfangled toys and gadgets serve a great purpose teaching children and keeping them entertained. I’ll stick with making sure my grandchildren know how to play hop scotch and jacks.
And hopefully they’ll teach me how to use an IPad.