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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Anything is better than Nothing

     I recently read an article about toys for children, gender specific or gender neutral. The father who wrote the article was basically saying you should just let your child pick what toys interest them the most. For the most part I agree with him. Kids, like adults, have different interests and they can change over time.
     Babies need things to simulate their senses. They should involve colors, shapes, sounds and textures.

The seat swiveled so Miranda (2007) could enjoy those experiences

     As a baby grows and matures their world expands. They become more mobile, making it easier to explore that world. Everything is of interest to a toddler. They don't really need toys. They can be happy with pots and pans to bang, magazines to tear up, the outdoors with it's grass, leaves and dirt.  

What's black and white and read all over? (Rex 2008)

     At some point most parents will note their child becoming fixated on one or two things. For awhile Rex loved vacuums and garbage trucks. Now if you want to stereotype you could say the vacuum was female and the garbage truck was male. Rex didn't care about any of that, they were just some things that interested him.

Rex helping Daddy vacuum

     More important than toys are experiences. Just going for a walk can be a learning experience for a child. But play is an important part of childhood. Play is a child's work, it's important for their development. So a child should be exposed to many different types of toys. They probably will show a preference at some point. And if a girl likes dolls and a boy likes trucks or vice versa, so be it.
     My grandmother, "Canny", was ahead of her time. In 1955 when my brother Vince turned 5, children received very gender specific toys. Vince wanted a toy eighteen wheeler for his birthday, which he did receive. Canny thought he needed to develop his nurturing side, she gave him a doll. It was a boy doll in red footy pajamas. My brother was very offended by this gift. He got angry and started crying and saying he didn't want any ole doll, basically having a little fit. At the mature age of 8 I was appalled at his behavior, you didn't act that way when given a gift. On the other hand his behavior didn't phase my grandmother. She just smiled and asked him what he'd like to name the doll. With a scowl on his face Vince crossed his arms and angrily said, "anything".

Vince  1956

     Of course he meant nothing, he wasn't going to name it at all. Still unphased my grandmother said, "Anything, that's a lovely name for your doll." So that is how the doll "Anything" got his name. I don't remember how long it took but eventually Vince decided he rather liked "Anything". He wouldn't go to bed with out him. If he couldn't find him he would run around the house in a panic, "where's Anything, where's Anything?" My grandmother knew what she was about, boys and girls need to be exposed to all kinds of toys even the so called opposite gender ones.

My son Vincent 1973, receiving his doll. He named him Sammy.

A thought to ponder: We've begun to raise daughters more like sons, but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.     Gloria Steinem

Participating in:No Rules Weekend


  1. I completely agree. Wise grandma, as are you.
    My grown son spends more time in the bathroom then any woman I know.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and making a comment, greatly appreciated.

  3. Great post, Jackie, couldn't agree more. I love the photo of Rex helping his daddy vacuum - men like that are keepers! :-)

    It was fun to see you guys out on your nature walk with Rex the other day (back before it was winter!) I remember all the creative fun there was to be had with things like mud and rocks and sticks. :-)

  4. Thanks, glad you liked the post.

    Our walks with Rex are slower paced because of all the stopping. He might see a bug that needs closer investigation or a stick that would make a good sword. His favorite things to look at are rocks. That day you saw us he had spotted a sparkly one that he was sure had to be gold. But then he couldn't find it again, so alas we had to leave without our fortune. We always have an enjoyable time discussing the different things we see on our walks.

    1. Kid after my own heart, I've always had a soft spot for rocks too (lugging home several pounds of them on hikes when we lived on Red Grade!) Has Rex ever gotten the opportunity to go beach-combing somewhere? Bet he'd love that!

      If I see his "mother lode" on the trail, I'll leave it there for him to find next time. ;-)

    2. Yes, Rex has had the opportunity to go to the beach, which he loved. He really had a grand time at Flathead lake with all those wonderful lake rocks.