Jane Yee: A house full of treasure
It happens leading up to Christmas, and I can imagine it happens as you're gearing up to baby's first birthday as well. People ask what gifts you plan on getting your child, and when you tell them they say, "he'll probably have more fun playing with the box and the wrapping paper".
You joke along, "yeah probably," but inside you're thinking stop ruining my gift giving experience! while also imagining your baby's room littered with a variety of cardboard boxes instead of actual toys.
The annoying thing is, these parade-rainers are generally right. Babies really do love playing with boxes and wrapping paper.
And it doesn't end there, does it? While they may well enjoy their mini basketball hoops, Lamaze lions, soft toy rattles and designer wooden animals, they seem to lose their minds over boring everyday household items.
From pretty early on I used to take Victor to the clothesline with me and plonk him in a washing basket, propped up with cushions and towels. I'd throw in a few toys to keep him occupied, but he always got bored within minutes. It was on one of these excursions to the great outdoors that I discovered the kid loves pegs. He would happily munch away on a peg for the duration of my time hanging clothes, so we started hoarding little 'Peggy Sues' all over the place. Months later, he still enjoys some one-on-one time with a Peggy Sue and we have them stashed in his change table, pram, nappy bag and in the car.
He's also become a big fan of plastic bottles. After he's had his first feed each morning he joins us in the big bed. We have a small collection of toys on hand for him to amuse himself with while we do our very best to wake up, but he always goes for my water bottle. He'll sit on the bed reaching for it and squealing until I hand it to him. At that point the toys provided go on smoko while the water bottle basks in the glory of my son's undivided attention.
My latest great discovery to keep him occupied, now that he's sort of shuffling his way around, is a basket full of clean washing. I'll pop him on the rug with some things to play with and a washing basket a few feet out of reach. Without fail he'll find his way to the basket, tip it over and slowly pull out the items of clothing, one by one, until the lounge resembles the floor of a fifteen year-old's bedroom.
Little Vic is happy to occupy himself with pegs, water bottles, washing baskets, plastic containers, wooden spoons, straws, the dog's bed, hairbrushes and shoelaces but there are four items he is magnetically drawn to like a kid possessed. I think most of you will have witnessed the magical Pied Piper-like powers of remote controls, keys, cellphones and wallets. My son will do anything to clamp his chubby mitts on any of these items, and once he's achieved his goal he somehow gains superbaby strength making it nigh on impossible to prise his little digits off his prey. It's like he's practicing to be a teenager, wanting access to the car, our bank accounts, the TV and phone... I just wish he'd practice sleeping like a teenager.
What ordinary household items has your baby decided are way cooler than his or her flash toys?