See this stretchy frog? The one without the forearms? Do you know what this is?
This is just about Grey’s favorite toy.
Its early history is a bit mysterious. He took it from daycare. I suppose if I were a better mother I would have identified the proper owner of this precious green object and made sure it was restored to them. As it was, I took a look and saw a $.10 stretchy frog missing two front legs clutched in my son’s deliciously chubby fingers as though it was a precious jewel and I passed on some profound wisdom: “Quit stalling, Grey and get in the car already!”
Grey has some nice, expensive toys. He has enough IKEA train tracks to build his own trans-Canada railway. He has, by my count, three pretend laptops and access to one real one. He has this globe thingy that you move a joystick across and it tells you about geography (in a really annoying voice — the same annoying voice, to be exact, as his formerly-beloved red ABC toy). None of these toys has gotten played with as hard as this little green frog. Grey would hold the speck of plastic to his chest and announce that he loved his frog. He would bring it to his bed. It would take baths in the bathroom sink. He loves this frog.
No, I don’t know where it lost its front legs. No, this is not a detail you point out to the three year old who cherishes it.
Since Christmas Grey has become obsessed with the Nintendo DS. See, Jordan and Pablito at daycare both got DSes for Christmas. (Note: Jordan is maybe 4 and Pablito is 2. IMO, two at least is too young for a fragile video game system!) They are allowed to bring them into daycare. So Grey, poor Grey, watched his friends get to play on these neat video devices and they didn’t share. (Grey and Pablito get into daily fights as it is. I’ve watched Pablito, and parental bias aside I have to admit that I think it would be hard NOT to fight with Pablito. He’s the sort of kid who knocks down the tower you’re building and takes the toy you’re playing with.) Then we went to church and T. and K. ALSO both had DSes they were playing with.
What do you do when all the other kids really DO have them?
We struggled with this for a while. Finally I decided that it was good for him to learn that he couldn’t get things by begging. It’s also good for him to discover that things, or the lack thereof, aren’t really what make you happy. He will live a fulfilled life without a DS. I also worry sometimes that my kids are so exposed to the seductive online world (heh — I’m one to talk) so early that they will never come to know the real world in its full beauty. I know one video game system isn’t going to remove them from reality, but I also know how easily you can lose an hour or two to a video game. So we finally decided that if Grey still really wants a DS come his birthday (in October) then he can get it for his birthday.
Unaware of this, every day he asks if we can go to the DS store today and get either a Spiderman DS or a Mario DS. He has a surprisingly good grasp on how this can work.
But still. The child is happy — delighted! — with a ten cent toy. Will a $120 toy really make him that much happier?