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Letting Go of the Toybox


Being a parent is a wonderful thing, no doubt, but there are plenty of aspects that I’d categorise as ‘not so great’. Poop blowouts at the zoo? Not ideal. Food flung up to the ceiling? No thanks. Fine-combing what goes into your child’s toybox? Nightmare.

We have a nine-month-old, and as all parents will know, a new baby means a lot of well-intentioned gifts, many of which being toys. I try not to be too precious about what our daughter, J, plays with – she loves nothing more than chewing on kitchen utensils – but there are a few rules governing our toybox. Namely, nothing wildly gender-specific.

When J was three months old, she was gifted her first ‘best friend’: a multi-textured sheep with a shock of ginger hair named Lydia after my equally red-headed mother. Let it be known that I love that sheep. And, at first, our daughter did, too. She loved to tug on the sheep’s hair or chew it’s long arms. It has tags to be studied over intently and J did just that, for hours. That sheep came everywhere with us, and I loved the little bond the two were forming.

Somewhere along the line, our daughter was also gifted a little white bunny with flowery ears and a bright pink outfit. Her name is Susie Hopsalot, and she is the epitome of girly. As it happens, she came from one of my best friends (sorry, Jen), and I didn’t have the heart to get rid of her, so into the toybox she went. I didn’t think much of her at the time, and neither did J. That is, until the day J learned to crawl.

For whatever reason, Susie Hopsalot was the toy that motivated J to move forwards. She did, grabbed Susie, and our whole household cheered her success. Then she dropped Susie and did it again. More cheers. And, through the cycle of grabbing and cheering, Susie Hopsalot became the new hit of the toybox.

Almost two and a half months later, the first thing J does in the morning is crawl over to her toybox, pull out Susie, and hold her up in the air, awaiting her cheers. This happens again and again throughout the day, and during most of the time between, Susie is in her hands. In fact, taking Susie out of her hands leads to so much screaming that no one dare do it anymore.

In the meantime, my beloved gender-neutral Lydia has been left by the wayside. At first I did everything possible to rekindle their friendship. I sat her down next to J (and Susie). I put her in the pram every time we went out. There was even that one time when Lydia and J shared a nap…all in vain. Lydia is out, and Susie Hopsalot has firmly taken her place.

While I’m still holding out for a return for Lydia, I’ve gotten over it. Susie may be every inch the girly item our family has been avoiding, but she brings so much joy to our daughter. And really, she brings us joy, too. It’s impossible not to smile when J swings Susie over her head in the morning, or struggles to shimmy along the floor because Susie in her hand is holding her back. And I couldn’t help but laugh when my husband sent me a text exclaiming “Susie is naked!” with an attached picture of J proudly holding Susie’s removed skirt.

Okay, she’s not the toy I would have chosen, but she’s the toy our daughter loves. I guess that’s more than good enough reason to remain in our toybox.

(Beautiful artwork provided by Amanda Lutz and can be found, purchased and inquired about on AmandaLutzArt.com . Amanda also creates amazing murals – such as this one – for businesses and homes! )





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