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The end of the toy era

Submitted by on Wednesday, 20 July 2011 No Comment

I figured we were headed this way a year ago, when all Big Guy wanted for his birthday was “cool clothes.” Clothes? Didn’t that used to be the ultimate gifting insult?

Suspicion grew stronger at Christmas, when it took Big Guy a week to even glance at the Batman set he’d said he wanted, but mainly because Boots had asked for a Batman toy and Big Guy couldn’t stand the encroachment on his super hero.

I realized last week that we’ve reached the end of the line when a friend asked what to get Big Guy for his upcoming birthday.

“I have no idea,” I said.

I’m not the only one who’s stumped. In the category of toys for 8- to 11-year-olds, major retailers recommend Barbie, Legos, bikes, scooters and Nerf guns. That’s a thin list compared to what I played with at those ages, though it pretty much dovetails with Big Guy’s dwindling interests for playthings.

So how does he spend his time, other than by complaining that he’s bored? Sadly, it’s not with books, but it’s not with electronics either. He took his Nintendo DS on vacation recently, though it remained in his backpack except for a few minutes during a three-hour wait for a connecting flight. He watches TV and plays online some, but not excessively. Once in a while, he’ll get interested in a craft project.

Mostly he’s out and about for much of the day, riding his bike or scooter or walking the dog. He wears out the neighbors’ doorbells asking friends to come out and play. I’m not sure what it is they play, except he’s more likely to ask for supplies for a lemonade stand than to tote out a toy. In the afternoons we’ll often go to the pool and sometimes he’ll join me on my evening bike ride.

He also loves music, both on his mp3 player and by surfing YouTube. He and Boots both are budding videographers, grabbing the Flip camera to record important moments – or sometimes the dog’s butt.

I should be glad. Less toys equals less mess. More time outside equals less time pestering me while I’m trying to work inside.

Still, a part of me longs for the birthdays of yore, when pretty wrapped packages were ripped open to reveal toys that would amuse him for months.

It makes me want to get him an Elmo, just for old time’s sake.

Copyright 2011 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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