Teaching History Through Toys
It was a cold, gray, rainy day in central Mass. yesterday…the perfect setting for a horror film. Think mommy and baby hanging out for hours on end. Lots of playing with toys, singing songs, and one-sided conversations. A good morning nap for baby seemed to set up a decent day in spite of the weather. But isn’t that how horror flicks start? You always think everything’s okay? But then there’s a problem, a conflict, if you will. Boredom sets in. Toys are played out, songs sung out, clapping games tiresome (for the boy, not me), assisted walks around the house tiresome (for me, not the boy). Afternoon nap is shunned…not once, but twice. He finally succumbs to a 20-minute nap on attempt number three. There’s screaming and tears. Horrifying, isn’t it?
So what does all this have to do with toys? Momma was forced to pull out the big guns. Boo got lots of cool toys for Christmas and momma stashed a few away for, well, a rainy day. He got this one from my mom. Now, I’m not concerned that my mom’ll be offended by the mild d’issing of this toy. In fact, she’d likely find it funny. But here’s the thing: I’m pretty sure my mom doesn’t even read this blog anymore. Oh yeah, she was all supportive in the beginning. But I became highly suspicious when she asked questions I so obviously answered in writing for all the world to read. She doesn’t even have a subscription to this thing. Oh yes, I know. I know who you are. (Okay, so I only know the email subscribers, so if you subscribed through a feed, you’re anonymous.) My mom wouldn’t know a feed if it introduced itself in the grocery store, so I’m 100% certain she doesn’t subscribe. Anyway, here’s the toy:
Vtech Pull ‘n’ Play Phone
Have you had a minute to truly take this thing in? Are you even old enough to recognize it? That, my friends, is a telephone. Oh, and don’t be mistaken. That is, in fact, a cord. And a base. And push buttons. How very retro. Boo had no idea what to do with this mysterious object. He’s never seen the likes of such an artifact. Nana joked he could “chat” with her when I called her up. But I’m on a cell phone, mom. A cell phone. And you’re on speaker. We don’t even have a landline. In any case, I did try to help my son (the good mom that I am) figure it out. I picked up the receiver and put it to my ear. Problem is, the cord is too short. Nice. We played with all the buttons, listened to the numbers, the music, the ringing (oh, the ringing…the loud, loud ringing), and get this — it has a busy signal. A busy signal? When was the last time you heard a busy signal? Is there such a thing anymore? I don’t know what to make of all this. A surprising gift from a relatively hip sixtysomething nana. One day, I’m sure I’ll sit the li’l guy down and explain what this is, how it was used, and how difficult it was to have a private conversation when you were literally connected to a wall. Oh, and how life was so tough when I was a kid and he should stop whining ’cause he’s got it made.
Now what makes this story even better is the gift Boo received from my seventysomething aunt. He’s still a little too young for it, but here it is:
Little Tikes DiscoverSounds Cell Phone & Key Chain
That’s right — a celly! And I’ve been holding out on you. My aunt is a nun. Something about that makes it even better, right? I can rest assured that in several months, my boy will be old enough to join the rest of us in the 21st century and embrace the celly and the relic given to him by his nana. I’m just waiting for the old school rotary to make it our way. (Yes, I am old enough.)