Posts Tagged ‘toys’

Trains on the Brain

Monday, August 7th, 2017

From Monday Mom  – Neetika:
Haley, blessed girl that she is, has always had a wide array of toys. I never put limits on what she could play with. She’s always had cars alongside her dolls. And balls to throw and kick next to her tea party set. Now that we are lucky enough to have her younger brother in our family, we are getting twice the use out of everything. My kids rarely meet a toy they do not like. But recently I have noticed that there’s something Hudson loves playing with that we just haven’t picked up over the years: trains.

What is it with boys and trains? He is crazy for them! At our town’s library, there’s a toy train set in the play area. However, you have to give the librarians your Driver’s License in order to borrow one! That’s how crazy kids gets for these trains. Grubby little felons are trying to make off with them!

Hudson’s face lights up when he sees a toy train, and now that he’s become a bit more articulate, he’s actually able to say: “I want you to buy me a train toy.” I haven’t made it to the store thus far, but I have a feeling he’s in for a fun purchase very soon. He’s been a good sport with the hand-me-downs thus far. It’s time for something special. Choo choo!

Toys, toys, toys

Monday, December 5th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
With the holidays fast approaching, just about every parent is trying to figure out which toys their kids should receive this year. I always go into it with the best intentions. I realize my kids have plenty of toys and don’t need any more. I try to focus my shopping on books and clothes. Then, inevitably, Haley will ask for some specific things, I’ll see great online deals, and the nagging feeling that I want the kids to have a wonderful Christmas will lead me to buy way too much.

Earlier I had finished a roll of gift wrap and I gave the kids the empty cardboard tube. They had a ball with that thing, when they weren’t fighting over it! Children don’t really need much to be entertained. A little creativity goes a long way. They love being challenged to use their own imaginations. And still, I go out and buy a Mickey Mouse this and a Monster High that. I can’t blame it all on them. There is a sick consumerist pleasure in scoring that item, even when it’s not something you yourself want.

I would love to hear any strategies for paring down the holiday craziness. Do you limit the number of toys your children receive? Do you have a spending cap? Do you reserve a certain amount of money for savings or charity? Another looming issue—when you set up these rules, do their grandparents follow them? I’d love to hear your experiences!

Happy Shopping and (Hopefully) Saving!

Buh Bear

Friday, January 29th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Charlotte is starting to talk a bit more recently. Variations of  “Ball,” “Hi,” “Bye.”  The cutest one, however, is when she addresses her large pink teddy bear that is nearly as big as she is.  She gleefully proclaims “Buh Bear” and gives him huge, enthusiastic hugs.

I do believe the name will stick.

Last night Buh Bear accompanied us across the second story of our house.  She found him on the floor in the master bedroom and toted him as she toddled across the room, down two small steps, and into the kids’ bathroom.  He waited patiently while she took her bath and then joined her for PJs and bedtime stories.  And he snuggled down on the floor next to her crib as she dozed off for the night.

Although there are perhaps more important words for her to learn– such as those that will help us understand the arm flailing at meal time or tears from out of nowhere–we are enjoying watching her caring and nurturing personality emerge.  And we can’t wait to see which creature she names next.




Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

When my children get interested in something, they get obsessed. I remember when Jack was only a few months old, he had a favorite toy fish. He would scream when it wasn’t in sight. We couldn’t go anywhere without that fish. Tate had a similar attachment to his Curious George stuffed animal. These attachments with certain things have continued on through the years.

As they grow older, Jack and Tate’s interests are more topical. If they are interested by something, they get obsessed with it. They love to read, watch videos and ask questions about all kinds of cool stuff.  If I don’t know the answer, I make sure to research and find the correct answer.   I’ve even learned all kinds of facts about different animals and why they do the things they do.

We’ve gone through many obsessions over the years, such as dinosaurs, pirates, trains, airplanes and Legos. If there is something they like then that is ALL they talk about or play with. Tate will talk your ear off explaining the differences between 20 different Lego characters. Thankfully, they aren’t just obsessed with toys. They are both into different children’s book series. They get obsessed with certain series and end up wanting every book or they’ll read the same book over and over and over again.  Thank goodness for public libraries. I love their enthusiasm about reading books. I hope, as they grow older, they will be able to read to learn about whatever they enjoy.


Toys, Toys, Toys

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I don’t think Haley is a spoiled toddler. Spoiled by love and attention—perhaps, but I think that she’s still young enough that that’s appropriate. Haley surely has a lot of “stuff” to play with, though in my opinion, it’s not too much. My mother disagrees. It’s true that everywhere you look in our house, you see something that belongs to Haley. It’s not unusual to trip over a stuffed animal, push toy, or ball at any given moment. But compared to other kids (as far as I can tell by looking at pictures on Facebook), I think she has a fair number of toys.

I don’t go crazy with buying Haley new toys. However they do seem to magically appear. Recently we went to a big baby store to get some clothes and other essential baby gear. I went up to Customer Service to make a return while my husband walked Haley around. Next thing I knew, our cart was approaching me with several new items and a smiling little girl in it. My husband looked at me sheepishly. “She likes it!” he declares in a whiny voice. My reply is: “Of course she likes it. She likes everything she sees at first.” But Haley has an advocate in her da-da, and of course we ended up buying the soft blocks and the plush toy for the car seat.

The one area in which I am the real softie is books. Haley just loves “reading” them herself or having her parent or grandparent read to her. I don’t know if she’s forming a good habit or just entertaining herself, but it’s really adorable. I love that she seems to love reading more than watching TV… for now!

It will be interesting when Haley gets older and is able to say what she does and does not like—and insist upon things that she wants! After all, we are not made of money. And even if we were, it’s frivolous to spend so much on “wants” rather than “needs”. Maybe dad should start practicing saying no!

Toy Storage

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

From Monday Mom: Janelle:
Living with three boys is a blessing and a challenge at the same time. I’m blessed because I love each of them to pieces and find so much joy in their sweet smiles.  One of the challenges is battling the mess. I admit I have my own messes around the house, but I am sure to clean them up or move them out of sight.  The piles of clothes, toys and crumbs I find on the floor seems to multiply hourly.  I can’t tell you how many times I have stepped on a lego block under my bare feet mixed in with other toys.  I try to clean up most of the mess when the kids go to bed, but lately it seems a bit overwhelming.

I remember when I was pregnant with Jack and I had his nursery organized and ready to welcome him home.  I had every tiny outfit, sock, hat, diaper and sheet folded so neatly or hung by size.  Within the first month, my beautiful room turned into a mountain of laundry.

Fast forward to today, and Jack’s room looks like a Lego bomb exploded.  I love that he has so much fun building the Lego sets and then taking them apart.  He also loves to build his own creations.  Luckily, we have the instruction booklets for each set so we can rebuild whatever was destroyed.  I’ve read several different blogs about smart ways to organize kids toys and I’m still trying to figure out the best solution for our mess.

Whether it takes a day, a week or a month I’m going to accomplish this task.  Jack will surely be helping me so he knows where every piece belongs.  Ideas and tips are welcomed!

PS. Happy Leap Day!

The “Gifts” of Gifts

Monday, November 8th, 2010

With Christmas creeping up on me quickly, I am trying to determine the ideal gifts. For Brady, I like ones that grow with him, have multiple uses, and aren’t priced outrageously. Some favorite gifts of the past (from both Brady and my perspective) have been his Geotrax trains, Wii, and Moon Sand.

The interesting thing about his trains is that I used to build the tracks (when he was 2) and he would just wreck them and giggle. Then about six months later, he started to just watch the trains going around the tracks. By 3-years old, he had learned how to operate the remotes (forwards and back). Then at 4-years old the trains magically became a problem solving activity as he learned to build tracks himself. Now at nearly 5-years old, he has started more imaginative play with the people, trees, and more. So it has been 3 years of play and we are still going strong.

The Wii, well, it is great physical play on rainy and cold days (and we have a lot of cold days from November – March in Pennsylvania). I’m not sure of the educational value, but we surely have enjoyed the sports! And the Moon Sand has given Brady HOURS of entertainment both with and without company. Now, I do have a love/hate relationship with that MESSY stuff. But we put it into a water/sand table, and it has been great.

So, now what to get this year – – that is the big question! Brady is convinced he wants this racetrack called: Criss Cross Crash (you can imagine what this toy does). That is the only gift he has requested, so Santa Mama will have to get it, I guess. I have also seen they are now making Moon Dough: never dries out. Sounds like a good change from the Moon Sand table, although Brady may miss his buried treasures inside of that sand.

Otherwise, I am thinking a good old-fashioned marble run and maybe one big toy for his playroom (like a mini air hockey table). I don’t know. His Christmas Eve birthday is a blessing and a curse: lots of presents to buy, to receive, and to put away in our already overstuffed playroom. Guess it is time to clean out the old bins of toys and start preparing for the new arrivals.

Thankfully, Brady has never asked for much. In fact, last year he told Santa to give his toys to the “poor kids who don’t have water” because his mama had already bought enough. Wow – the honesty of a child! So, I do plan to scale back this year. But what to buy… that is the question?

Brady Takes Off!

Monday, May 10th, 2010

We bought Brady a small Thomas tricycle for his 2nd birthday. I got him the rock/roll big wheels the following Easter. Those trikes just sat. And sat. And sat. Then once his 4th birthday rolled around, I got him a very inexpensive small bike with training wheels. He pushed it, but just did not understand how to pedal. I tried everything. Staying behind him while he peddled: nope, he just took his feet off of the pedals and let me push. With his “big boy bike” he would push it, but not sit on it.

Then a magical event happened. One day I was in the shower, my parents were upstairs at the house, and Brady was playing in his playroom (on the first floor with me). We have lots of linoleum flooring down there. I came out of the shower and much to my surprise, Brady had taught himself to ride a bike! So after all of that, he did it on his own. Isn’t it funny how we push our children on OUR timetable, when in actuality when the child is ready, he will do it on his own. The sense of accomplishment on Brady’s face was worth the two-year wait.

The first words out of his mouth were, “Hey mama, watch my skills.” Not sure where he learned that phrasing, but it melted this mama’s heart! Watching them grow up is bitter sweet, sometimes I wish I could keep him little forever. But on this day, I was so proud of my big boy 4-year old! Go Brady!!

Choo Choo – Here Comes “Another” Train

Monday, February 1st, 2010

To say Brady enjoys trains is putting it mildly. I think that is a common theme with all three kids involved in this blog! I have read other blog entries about trains. Brady is obsesses about them! We have the Geotrax plastic set, Imaginarium/Thomas wooden train table, and now even some plastic “take-a-long” Thomas. We had a train themed party, train cake, train piñata, engineer hats and train whistles for favors…. Are you sensing a theme here?

Sometimes I think Brady moves like a train and even thinks he IS a train. We were out doing some final holiday shopping in December and a lady asked Brady if Santa was going to put coal in his stocking. Brady looked perplexed. He looked at me, back at the lady, back at me, and then said proudly “why would I get coal in my stocking? I am not a train.” We all had to chuckle at this analogy. Brady seems to think that coal’s only purpose is to make Thomas and his friends chug along throughout Sodor.

This year I did break down and finally bought a train table. It was so worth the money. Brady was THRILLED. We play with it daily. It ranked right up there with bowling on the Wii (and that means something special in our world).

So everyday (be it raining, snowing, or sunshine) the trains are traveling around our house. We build the double or triple decker sets downstairs. Upstairs, Lady “The Golden Engine” pulls the freight cars to the loading dock and Brady and I each have our own crane (another popular toy). As a teacher, I must admit I take advantage of the teachable moments about magnets and more.

Although I get tired of going “choo choo” and walking from one side of the table to the other (and, of course, changing batteries), I am just going to suck it up and enjoy driving these trains. Soon enough he will be driving a real car, and I won’t be “cool” anymore. So for now I am chugging away!

Sharing the Holidays

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

I have officially survived my first divorced Christmas and birthday (Brady’s). I have to admit it wasn’t nearly as terrible as I thought it might be. This year I have sole custody though, so he was only away for 4-5 hours on December 23rd (birthday party with daddy’s side of the family), December 24th, and December 25th. I survived, and I am proud.  There was one specific thing that got me through: assembling toys. Wow! I must admit that as the kids get older, the assembling seems to get worse. My main assembling included a train table, a bowling arcade, and numerous power tools. Now the bowling arcade and the power tools weren’t that bad…. Let’s not discuss the construction (and I do mean, construction) of the train table.

I am sure there are other divorced moms out there who can relate to this post and thought. Even though I survived, I did miss seeing Brady’s eyes when he first saw the giant dinosaur daddy bought him for his birthday or the 4-wheeler he got as a Christmas gift. It was also hard because each of the three days Brady was required (by the other side) to keep all toys at the party location. So he never got to bring home anything. I’m glad Brady took this well, and I assured him something special was also waiting for him at home. I guess their reasoning was that since they purchased the toys, they would stay at daddy’s house. My thought was just that he only spent maybe 4-8 hours per month at daddy’s house, so he wouldn’t get to use the toys much anyway.

Each year will bring on new struggles, triumphs, and pain. But we are family, maybe not a traditional one, but still a family. I am glad that the first holiday season is over. Ironically, I didn’t find Christmas depressing. New Year’s Eve was a bit sad, just thinking of all that had happened in 2009. Many things that I never thought “would happen to me.” But 2010 brought on a New Year and a chance for new beginnings. So let’s all hope that each year just gets easier and more civilized.