Thursday, May 3, 2012

If it ain't broke, it was at my house.

A picture is supposed to be worth 1000 words, but I only have a select few and none of them can be said in polite company or in front of children (under the age of 12, anyway).

Today's assignment from NaBloPoMo? Talk about a toy you broke as a child.

Please. I've written about "who I played with" here (well, that would be "no one")

"What I did at recess" here (ummm, that would be "nothing")

If history and literacy can enlighten us in any way, let's predict what toy(s) I broke as a child.

Brief recap:

Remember that "only child" thing? In America, it's a choice, but also known as the official family unit of the People's Republic of China (think of it as Planned Non-Parenthood.)

An "only child" is usually easy to spot:

Standard procedure for cycling. . .in the driveway.

In addition, recall how I dressed as a Stepford daughter:

Yes. I dressed to land the cover of the Wish Book.
There was no greater glamour.

Because, again, the alternative was looking like THIS:

or THIS:

There was no way this chick was putting plaid on her butt in "flared pants" form. 

So, back to our question of the day: What toy did I break as a kid? 

Ummm. . .would you believe, "none"?

Not one.




I even asked my mom, because she knew every step I took, and has particular recall when it came to the missteps. Trust me.  She said, "You had that stuffed animal frog that I had to sew up all the time because you loved it so much and carried it everywhere, but that's it." 

Yep. I've got a frog whose stitching came loose.


The most dramatic moments involving toys came later when I learned Mom had cleaned out everything and got rid of ALL the toys, but I was too old to throw a tantrum then. (I saved those for the first years of marriage.)

I remember my reaction to finding my Barbie dolls lined up against the wall one day after I came home from kindergarten. I didn't leave Barbies out. No. They went to their rooms to get their beauty sleep while I was away. Someone had been in my room. Playing with MY toys. Nothing like a 5 year old suffering from righteous indignation.  

That, however, was NOTHING compared to. . .

The Barbie RV Rescue of 1976

When I innocently left my beautiful Barbie Country Camper in the driveway. (Well, it was a road trip, after all.)  My dolls earned some rest and relaxation. You be held upside down every afternoon while your clothes are peeled off or tugged on, your head is twisted backwards so dresses can be snapped,  and fall down from tree limbs, window sills, chairs, sofas, kitchen tables and the edge of the tub.)

Confession: I bought one off eBay. . .*for my daughter* 

I wasn't gone long, because the camper was my prize possession. I mean, one look and you can see why, right?  Apparently, a neighborhood boy found he couldn't resist its charms, either. He told his mom he "found" it.  I'm trying to imagine how many moms would be cool seeing their son clutching a Barbie camper back in 1976. In San Angelo, TX.  I don't remember him, but I remember my mother's reaction to it being stolen. I believe her lips disappeared into a tight little line, which I didn't see very often. . .until I hit puberty.  She rescued Malibu Barbie - and her friends - and road trips took place in the carport or back yard after that. 

I never was the type to give dolls haircuts - or even mix Play-Doh colors together. My parents weren't strict about it, and I can't remember them telling me, "Don't you do that!" when it came to playing with toys. I didn't think about it much until Kidlet came along. It's in our DNA to forget where we put toys, lose the Barbie shoes (allll the time) and leave books all over the place. If something breaks, it's because we forgot we put it under the comforter, left it in the chair, or out on the trampoline.

To me, I think, the toys weren't just things to play with. They were constants in my life and gifts that showed my parents loved me.  All children treasure those things that have special meaning, but if you have a brother or sister, you make memories together and you share that history. "Onlies" have the toys and the memories - all to themselves. It doesn't mean we create imaginary friends, but it means you tend to "humanize" the toys that you really love. For me, it was Barbie. For my daughter, it's stuffed animals. She can confide in her "pets" after a bad day, cuddle them when she's feeling lonely - and feel a little more secure until she's all grown up and past the age of "make believing."

Until then, I'll pick up the toys, line up the stuffed animals - try to hang on to the ones she loves - and Heaven help the kid who tries to take any of them away.

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