Tag Archives: Favorite Toy

Who Wants My Old Junk? Sometimes, Me

Twice a year, my family begins the tradition of rummaging through closets, dressers, under beds, and deep in cobwebbed corners, weeding out the torn, worn, and the junky from overstuffed bedrooms. The kids try on clothes, saddened to learn that their favorite shirt from the previous year now looks like a better fit for an infant. I set them in a consignment pile to sell, saddened for another reason: yet another reminder of the passage of time.

The kids root through bins of outgrown toys I tucked away long ago when they weren’t looking and announce they suddenly can’t live without the Little Einsteins rocket and fly it around the room, proclaiming it their most favorite toy ever. “Mom, you can’t get rid of this!” Don’t even mention the fact that they played with it three times a year.

They hold up various items, not even sure what they are, and beg me not to sell them: a baby bathtub, infant scratch mittens. They pull out things I either don’t want to look at ever again or things they never looked at: a house with a ringing door that rings all the time, princess books I hated to read, a robot magnet puzzle for staying occupied in the car that did not work.

Getting rid of the kids’ stuff is a mixed bag of emotions every year. At first seeing my kids’ packed-away clothes took the wind out of me, knowing no more of my offspring will toddle around my unscrubbed floors and need me every second of the day. It’s amazing how fabric and buttons can bring a surge of grief, pain, and laughter you have to gulp in silence or sit down and give in to. Memories swarm to a time when my kids used to sit on my hip and say “ma-ma” and really look at my face. Seeing their tiny baby clothes became too much to bear. I couldn’t part with the preemie outfit my son wore home from the hospital or the outfits I bought when I learned I was having a girl. I washed them and gave them to my daughter to use for her dolls, just like my mom did when I was little. The summer dresses I loved, the shorts that hung to my son’s ankles, everything else that brought memories I’ve tagged, sold, and had to move on.

Some things I have happily tagged to get rid of thinking, “I’ll giveit away if I have to.” Those annoying toys the kids talked their grandparents into when we parents weren’t around. The obnoxiously loud ones that sound off in the middle of the night or the ones we knew they’d never play with and didn’t.

Some toys are a treasure too hard to part with, defining a childhood.

Still there are toys that one day I’ll lovingly pack away because they define such a chunk of my kid’s life. My son got a pirate ship when he was two that he still plays with occasionally. One day I’ll give it to my grandkids and tell them the odd names he gave the pirates: Scotgok, Elvis, Redhead, Brownbeard, Harold the Helicopter, Captain Fierce, No Name, and Greenie.

My sister and her husband once dropped off some broken, old junk at the dump that included their kids’ old jeep. Both kids drove it for years. My sister warned her husband not to look back when they drove away. Sometimes, you just can’t.

My First Giveaway!

In honor of spring-cleaning and out with the old, I’ve decided to hold my first giveaway. I’ll pick two random readers to win these lovelies: a pair of broken-in jeans. My son has done all the work so your kid doesn’t have to. Stains included.

Ripped jeans, all the rage in the can't-stay-off-the-ground set.

And this Big Wheel provides nonstop skidding action. Just thump-a, thump-a down the road and hit the brakes, kids!

Big Square Wheel

Terms and conditions: No givebacks, no paybacks.

Some things you just can’t give away, but I’ll try.



Filed under Everyday Life

A Toy Story

If you know my daughter, you have most likely met the ragged counterpart that dangles by her side. It wasn’t that long ago that she carried her doll everywhere. Now it’s just almost everywhere. Still we cannot get over the hump of letting go. Did I say ragged? Mmm. You look at this doll and think you understand where rag doll got its name.

The thinnest, most threadbare piece of cloth holds my daughter’s favorite doll together. Once velvety soft, Ballerina’s see-through skin now shows the dark blue threads beneath. My daughter doesn’t like these threads that intersect under her doll’s happy face, so I tell her these are her veins, just like ours.

Her head, once crowned by yellow yarn pulled into a thick ponytail, now shows only the yellow fabric underneath that is fading away from delicate rubbing when my daughter falls asleep.

This doll is loved.

The tulle tutu, long gone, disintegrated in many washes. Her satin slippers have busted and been sewn so many times by my loving husband, I don’t know what keeps them together anymore.

And Ballerina’s skin, which runs like a pair of cheap stockings, gets stitched up by Dr. Dad just as often to keep her stuffing in.

Every piece of yarn hair that fell out, every tutu scrap that fell off, my daughter agonized over. “Will Ballerina be all right?”

My daughter has slept with and carried that doll around since she was about nine months old. Every night my daughter looks at peace, Ballerina in her arms or spread across her face, just as when my daughter was a baby. If my daughter awakens in the middle of the night to find Ballerina has jumped ship, it is our job to stumble down the hall, tear apart the bed, crawl underneath it, or stretch our arms behind it in search of her.

Ballerina has wiped away tears and snot, given countless hugs, and snuggled numerous hours of the day. She goes on every trip. She watches every movie. She gets invited to tea and birthdays. She is raced to after school each day. And she is sometimes unbearably hard to part with in the mornings. She has earned every battle scar, every loving stitch, and her worn-down, onion paper skin simply by being held and being there—just pure love.

One look at that doll, and anyone else would throw her in the trash. My daughter sees love and comfort, and cries whenever I tell her I’m not sure how much longer Ballerina will make it. So we sew and mend and do a little dance and hope that Ballerina will last just as long as our daughter’s love for her does. And every time I put her in the washing machine, I pray she will come out in one piece.

In many ways, it will be a relief when my daughter is not so attached to Ballerina. I often tell her to leave Ballerina in her room, put her down, or leave her home, mainly for fear the doll will bust at the seams beyond repair one day, but also because my daughter is getting too old for all that. But I know it will mean a lot of things when Ballerina is forgotten. When that time comes, I will tuck the doll safely away, whatever her state, because somehow I have become attached to all the memories stitched inside.


Filed under Everyday Life