Saturday, December 5, 2009

No Batteries Required

What was your favorite toy growing up? Did it require batteries? I'm guessing not.

My favorite "toy" growing up was reading a book. I always had a book in my hand. Whether we were at church, at the beach, or standing in line at the grocery store, I always was reading.

Or coloring. I still get giddy over a fresh box of crayons. The smell. The sharp tips of new crayons. And if you were rich, you had the box of 64 crayons with a sharpener on the back. A sharpener! I didn't have the sharpener, but I guess my crayons just sharpened themselves with use. To be honest, my absolute favorite crayon was a short, stubby brown crayon with no wrapper. I loved that crayon. I wonder if I psychoanalyzed that what it would mean....

I have a firm belief that the best toys are "no battery required". Long gone are the days when I played with toys. I do still read, but it's usually on the computer now (which is always with me). And I do still color (i.e., paint the house), but my favorite color now is a sandy green. It's my boys who do most of the "toy" playing now.

I have discovered the secret to a peaceful meal out or doctor visit. Coloring. I have this nifty clipboard stashed in my mom-van for just such occasions. It is well stocked with Color Wonder paper and markers. If you don't know Color Wonder, you must not have kids. Because every mom should have some. The markers work perfectly on the Color Wonder paper. But, they don't write at all on skin (this is a biggy in our family), clothing, carseats, or carpet. It's magic! I can let them create without having to stand over them and be the marker nazi. It might be a little spendy up-front, but we are still using the same notebook for over a year now. I guess we just don't go out all that often. Best part.... no batteries.

Last year for Christmas, the boys got a Magna Doodle. For those of us over 20, it's the updated version of the Etch a Sketch. You remember the Etch a Sketch. I could barely make a square and then someone would walk over and shake it and it's gone. Darn knobs. I never knew if I wanted to twist right or left, how to make it go up and down. But the Magna Doodle is way superior. And the little magnetic pencil is attached via string (in other words, my boys can't lose it). My boys usually ask me to draw this or that. I feel bad because my drawing skills are not up to speed. I spent my whole life coloring in the lines, not making the lines. Lately, Jack has been doing the drawing himself. The other day, he came running to me, "Mom, look! I made a Mr. Potato Head." I think it looks just like the real thing.

Last month my mom came to visit and brought some blocks for the boys. No fancy paint designs, so you can't tell the decade in which they were made. No flashing lasers. No screeming sirens. Just blocks. To be honest, they are probably older than me, and that gets older every year. You know what? They have become the favorite toy in the house. The boys will play with their blocks from sunrise to sunset. They make buildings, bridges, cities; and then send them crashing to the floor. Their other favorite toy is trains. I suggested they make a Wal-Mart (their favorite place to shop) next to the train tracks. "Mom. Trains don't go to Wal-Mart. People do." I'm glad he pointed that out to me. "I know! I'll make a Train-Mart!" And he did. He even made a parking lot for the trains. I wonder if trains come out of Train-Mart and forget where they parked their cargo.....

I should have taken a picture of it, but I was too wrapped up in the magic of it all. I did, however, take a picture of his car wash.

Notice the front door and roof. They are very particular that all their buildings have a door and roof. All from just blocks.

As Jack's birthday (December 24th), Christmas (December 25th), and Joshua's birthday (February 23rd) approach, I think of what they will be getting. I hope they will be "no batteries required".

where Glory meets my suffering