Tonawanda News — I lurked in the background the other day, listening to Sam carry on a monologue with himself about his stuffed Perry the Platypus and a plastic toy car. I don’t know exactly where Perry was going or what he was doing or where, precisely, a platypus learned to drive, but Sam was very serious about it. I’ve heard similar intense conversations with himself and his toy trains, or his Star Wars figures. (And their ships. In Sam-World, ships talk, you know.)
Even Jim, who keeps most of his stories (I don’t doubt he has them) to himself, is fixated on a bright-green, stuffed frog named, amazingly, Froggy. I don’t know what its story is in his mind (although he loves to talk about how Grandpa won it for him at a carnival), but watching him hop around the room with it makes me happy.
But as the boys get older, I can see things changing.
The toys they seem to love most this year aren’t necessarily toys as I think of them. They’re gadgets.
The elder one’s most precious possession is his Fisher Price music player. The younger is fascinated with iPads and smart phones. (Sorry, dude. You’re not getting one before your mother does.) They’re interested in movies. They want more games for the family Wii player.
And in some ways, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m leaning toward at least a slight technology upgrade this year in part because I want my kids to understand and be comfortable with it. The Wii is a blessed option to burn off some of that little-boy energy in the dark days of winter. The movies represent family togetherness on a cold winter night.
But ... sometimes I wonder. What became of the baby dolls, the toy ambulances, the action figures, even the (gulp) Barbies of the world? Do kids above a certain age still want them? Or is it just onward and upward? A woman watched my 4-year-old son noodle around with an iPad at a local store the other day and gushed about what a perfect gift it would be for her 4-year-old granddaughter.