Thoughts from the toy store

Since my youngest just turned 16 and isn’t into “toys” so much these days, I don’t go to Toys Are Them much any more. But I went there this week looking for a couple of things on the birthday list (video games) they have there. That triggered several stray thoughts, some nostalgic.

  • One of my all-time favorite comic strips was one from “For Better or Worse” in which the oldest boy had a friend come to visit, and the friend picked up the boy’s teddy bear and made a comment about it. The boy said something like, “That old thing?” and tossed it aside. Then after his friend left, the boy picked up his teddy bear and hugged it. That just perfectly encapsulated the sometimes boy/sometimes becoming a man aspect of boys growing up.
  • A few years ago I was going through my youngest son’s room trying to clear some of the clutter and get rid of things he no longer played with. He had a big basket full of stuffed animals, and he had a friend over at the time, so I thought that might be a good time to go through the animals — with his friend there he might be more likely to think of them as “childish” and get rid of them. But as we went through them one by one, his friend, very much an all-boy, rough and tumble type, kept saying, “No, you can’t get rid of that! That’s so cute!”
  • I don’t know if all of the Toys Are Them stores are like this, but with ours you have to go down the whole length of the store and then through the seasonal stuff to get to the main part of the store. Hate that. Especially when what I want is near the entrance, but I’ve got to go all over the place to get to it.
  • When my kids were little they thought of the toy store almost like an amusement park. It was fun just looking through things and going to all the different departments.
  • I generally avoid going there on Saturdays when it is crowded and noisy. Weekday mornings are ideal.
  • I miss Little Tykes and Fisher Price. I get wistful just walking by their aisles.
  • The things our kids played with long after other toys were laid aside were Legos, Transformers (even before the current revival due to the movies), and Nerf guns. They had a Nerf bow and arrow set they played with for years. I looked at Nerf stuff that day at the store, but I think interest in them has been replaced by paintball and airsoft guns. I almost got a little wistful walking by the Lego stuff. One Jesse wanted but never got was a big Star Wars ship. I looked at it yesterday and it was $129. Cough, cough, cough. Much as we loved Legos, I just never could justify that amount.
  • Must everything be branded? I didn’t mind buying some things with their favorite characters on them when they were little, but good grief. Everything has current popular TV characters or stars on it.  Years ago a friend decorated her daughter’s room all in the current Disney film stuff, and I thought, “What are you going to do when the next film comes out?”
  • We use “wish lists.” A family that I admired and respected did that, and I thought it was a good idea. I love to give what people want and would like. The kids were made to understand they wouldn’t get everything on the list and they might get some things not on the list, but the list was a general guideline. I used to be able to stray off the list with some good guesses when they were younger, but not so much these days. Part of that is due to the more technological stuff they’re into now, part of it is that the stuff they’re interested in now is more expensive, so I am less likely to take a chance on it.
  • My mom loved to give as well — I am sure that was her “love language,” though I don’t know if I would say it is mine. One of the most memorable gifts we received from her for the kids was a heap of Little People stuff — the old fashioned kind before they started making the squatty-bodied ones to avoid little kids choking on them. When Mom had asked me for ideas, I mentioned maybe one of the sets for the boys as a group — a Little People Farm, Little People Garage, Little People Main Street, etc. But she got one set for each boy instead of one for all of them to share, and then got a bunch of sets of just the people, which my sister Shelly wrapped individually as stocking stuffers. That was fun. My husband said we needed a whole room just for the Little People.

I know that  “putting away childish things” is a part of growing up, and I am enjoying the young men our boys are becoming, but I have to admit I do miss buying toys. And the little girls’ aisles — I only got to go through those when my guys were going to a birthday party or when my nieces were small. That is one aspect of having grandchildren that I am going to love….someday….though not the most important aspect, of course. Meanwhile, I’ll just wax a little wistful in the toy store.

11 thoughts on “Thoughts from the toy store

  1. This is ONE of the reasons I’m so thankful to have Luz! I get to TOY shop again! It is fun! We had all those Little People sets too… And goodness, Little Tykes! I would have sworn we kept those people in business! I feared for them when my kids grew up! With Luz we’re keeping Matchbox in business… and just recently Polly Pockets! But she doesn’t play ANYthing that doesn’t involve CARS! LOL!

    With my boys it was Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers — and honestly any action figures! They knew and had them all! And Mighty Max! Oh my gosh, they LOVED Mighty Max! I was amazed that my grand-nephews got into them when they were here and loved them too — not even knowing the cartoon or anything about him! My kids never got into “Legos”… but we must have had about 5000 DUPLOS! Every year we got 2 or 3 more buckets of Duplos to add to the collection! They LOVED them! Even up until about 12 or 13 years old! They had no interest in the little bricks – but LOVED those big bricks and would build all kinds of fortresses and tunnels and things for whichever characters they were playing with that day!

    Amanda was the one that was into Transformers – and those were the very FIRST original transformers! (she is 32) She was such a tom-boy — she never did play with “girl” toys — it was always trucks and bikes, video games, and the Transformers. I think she might have even had some GI Joes! The Barbie sized ones — not those little ones.

    Krysti was my girly girl — SHE had all the itty bitty Polly Pockets, the Barbies, the American Girl Dolls, Pretty Ponies, … anything pink or purple or turquoise! And her doll house!!! Oh she LOVED that doll house!

    Goodness! What memories you’ve invoked today!

  2. =) Again, it’s good to hear your thoughts. I am, as you know, in the toy buying season which is lots f fun and I enjoy.

    My mom is a good one for coming bearing gifts whenever she sees us. I think she feels as you do.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts again. I feel like I can’t find adequate words to tell you how much I appreciate hearing your thoughts on all the many and various seasons of life. I tuck away. And I think about it. Thank you.

  3. I so love going into toy stores. I think the kid in me is still alive and well. I can spend hours in there. 🙂 But all the kids are growing up and I spend less time in there now 😦 Thanks for sharing this. Loved it 🙂

  4. I was Matchbox Cars. Until I was in the 5th grade if it wasn’t a Matchbox Car, I didn’t want it. That’s why I ended up with 27 Barbie Dolls. All my relatives kept hoping I’d turn into a girl!

  5. My son loved Legos also. What I hated to see was when Legos went from the creative, bucket-style product where what you built was what you thought of, to the boxes with themes where the builder followed their instructions. My son always wanted Legos – but he’d build the sets one time and then want another set. I thought that going that route was merely a good way for Legos to sell a lot more, and sadly cut down a lot on the creative aspect of that toy.

  6. This was a great post. Lego is one of the best toys ever made in my opinion. I still have a can of it that belonged to my daughter. My grandson, at 11, enjoys building things which only his imagination can design. My son by love is teaching robotics in high school and they are using Lego.
    I smiled about the little people. I have a farm with the little people. The original ones. When we were going through my parents things, I found one of the little mini vans with little people. Do you remember those? It has a sun roof that you put the people in. I know you are looking forward to the girly stuff. Hopefully, God will bless you with a granddaughter. My sister had 3 boys and she had 5 grandsons before she had a granddaughter. I like to look at the toys. There are still some basic ones out there. Did you play with paper dolls? I don’t think there is much of that going on. I loved them.
    Thanks for this walk down memory lane. Oh and the hot wheels, matchbox cars are still Wonder Boy
    s favorite toy. He carried 12 on vacation.
    Mama Bear

  7. You had lots of stray thoughts there! About the only thing on my mind when I’m there with the girls is, “I want to buy them this and this and this and… but no. Get the present for the little cousin, and flee!”

    I’m with Ann (above) about Legos.

  8. Pingback: Blog year in review: « Stray Thoughts

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