Friday, November 30, 2007

Imagination

The Christmas television commercials are hitting the air, and my favourite ones are for toys. I love watching them with Matt. I don't care about consumerism and all of that right now because for a month I let him watch the stations with all the ads and see what's out there.
I love watching his face when a really cool new toy is advertised.
He rarely asks for one. I'm not quite sure he understands that the ads are telling him to buy it - he's just pretty enamoured watching what these things can do.
We already know what we're asking Santa for, and I have a pretty good idea what Santa, and assorted relatives, will be getting for Matthew. He loves Christmas morning, but doesn't seem to think of it only as about gifts.
He still appreciates the magic.
But, what these commercials have got me thinking about is imagination.
I'll be the first to admit that I am swayed by advertising - especially when I read about and see toys that are educational.
When Matthew was really little, I was quite obsessed with toys that encouraged imagination. I wasn't sure if I would have another baby, and I didn't want him to be lonely. I wanted him to find the same joy in imagination as I did.
I can still remember the hours and hours we spent playing with the Fisher Price Little People. My sister and I had names for them all (she got to be "green girl" - the girl in the green dress, and I got to be "blue girl" - you got it, the girl in the blue dress). As we got older we moved on to dolls where I would play school for hours on end (our favourites were Sarah and Mandy and Jenny) . And, eventually it was on to Barbies. (we had tons, and I can still tell you all their names).
What was unique about these toys is that they didn't make sounds. They didn't have speech that told us what they were saying, rather we had to make it up. This wasn't a hardship for us. We loved playing with our dolls.
We did eventually get Nintendo, but I have to admit that Super Mario Brothers were boring compared to the sordid love lives of our Barbies who swapped boyfriends, traded cars and exchanged children. For kids not allowed to watch Soap Operas, we were very creative.
But, when it comes to Matthew, I never knew what to do with gifts.
Did I accept that it was 25 years later and toys are "more advanced" or did I get non-noisy toys.
In the end, I got a mix. Truthfully, I got swayed by the amazing things the toys did. I don't know that it's called giving in so much as going with the flow.
But, last night I started thinking about this when I was watching Matthew play.
Our big chair was turned into a boat, and a bunch of cars were gathered on it. He had different noises for each car or truck, and sang as he played. Every so often he'd stop to dictate what was going on. At one point he needed more toys from downstairs and told us to "keep an eye on the trucks".
And it struck me that his imagination is just fine.
In fact, it's more than fine. He comes up with crazy and zany ideas. He loves to talk about the "monster baby" that is growing in his tummy. He makes up stories about all sorts of things and is constantly telling us made up jokes.
And, I realize that his imagination is vivid and growing.
So, bring on the toys. I'm beginning to realize that no matter what we give him he will add it to his own fantasy world anyway.
It's amazing to watch him learn and grow.

And .... today is the last day of NaBloPoMo! Yay! I'm so glad I did it and managed to write every day, but it will also be nice to take a little break from daily writing.

5 comments:

Kerry J. said...

Congrats on posting every day!! I've enjoyed reading all your posts! Too funny though - Becky and I were talking the other day and somehow dolls came up and we discovered that we both had Mandy dolls. Although I heard about you - poor Mandy!!

LoriD said...

My mom saved all of our Fisher Price toys - the barn, the house, the airplane. None of them make sounds and yet the kids still love them! All three of my kids love the Thomas wooden railway... I think it's one of the best things for their imaginations. Not that noisy toys are bad, just noisy!

Kristen said...

Good for you on nablopomo!
Isn't amazing to listen and catch a glipse of what goes on in their little heads? I found for my kids, it didn't matter what toys they had, they used them in their own way, their imaginations stretching the uses of their toys to the farthest reaches.

Anonymous said...

My parents probably said the same thing about TV!
I'll miss the little daily insights, but CONGRATS on keeping it up even through your "sick and tired" days!

FENICLE said...

My 5 year old has really gotten into the consumerism this year!!! He thinks he's getting EVERYTHING he sees advertise on tv!!!