My daughter is not yet three, but she has more toys now than I had over my entire childhood.
I didn’t have a deprived childhood either. I received great presents for birthdays and Christmas sure, but it was sensible. My parents didn’t go overboard.
Looking back, I had an awesome Barbie collection, a Cabbage Patch doll and a Care Bear. Toys would be reserved for birthdays and Christmas only. There would be no impulse buying or toys given as rewards for good behaviour.
Curly-locks, over her short life has so far accumulated so many toys that I don’t know where to put them. We have an overflowing toy cupboard, toys in her bedroom, toys in the lounge room and toys in the rumpus room. They are everywhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if people mistook our house for a toy store.
Up until last weekend, I didn’t recognise we had a problem. I just kept buying more. Buying for the sake of buying.
When the toy sale catalogues hit the mailbox, I made a fist pump in the air, said ‘yes!’ and conscientiously sat down to highlight my impending purchases.
After I finished studying the catalogues, I approached Dave with my top picks.
‘So yeah, I thought we’d get her Ballet Star Dora, the Little People Princesses, the chalkboard, the Minnie Mouse Bow-tique …,’ I started.
Dave cut me short, ‘No, kid. We have too much shit already. She’s got enough. We need to get her outdoors. We’ll get her the chalkboard and a veggie patch. That’s it’.
‘And is it just me, or is Dora starting to look more and more like a Kardashian?’ Dave joked lightening the mood.
I knew Dave was right though, not about Dora, about the amount of toys we have.
It would seem I have an unexplained compulsion to spend up big when it comes to toys. I just cannot buy enough. Yes, Curly-locks needs another Dora doll, she only already has 40 of them. Yes, we need a $100 pirate ship. It has a canon that squirts water. Yes, she needs another Lalaloopsy doll to add to her collection. Yes, yes, and yes. I want it all.
When I was a kid, my parents never spoiled me like we (and they) now spoil Curly-locks.
Why are things so different now?
The cost of toys is definitely a contributor. Believe me, we certainly aren’t rolling in cash, but I always manage to find a few coins to buy a special treat for Curly-locks when we go shopping. Over last week, I bought three Hello Kitty toys out of a vending machine to reward Curly-locks for her good behaviour. They were only $2 each, but it all adds up. I don’t even want to think about the cost of rewarding her good behaviour with a toy either.
Marketing is also to blame. The amount of educational toys I have bought because I thought my daughter needed this, that and the other to help her grow into a child genius. We have three interactive computer type toys in the toy cupboard that rarely see the light of day. We would have been better off spending time with our daughter teaching her ourselves than spending money on these toys.
Oh, and don’t get me started on the marketing of Dora. Dora the Explorer, bless her heart, such a talented little girl. She’s an explorer, a ballerina, a gymnast, a princess, a big sister, a mermaid – the list goes on. Every time I see a new one, I want to add it to
my Curly-locks’ collection.
For some, me included, it is a case of keeping up with the Joneses. We see the collections of toys our friends with kids have and we want the same for ours.
In this household though, it’s time to cut back. It is definitely going to be hard to curb my toy buying compulsion, but I need to for the sake of my kids and my wallet!
I shopped as sensibly as I could in the toy sales and have made a pledge to focus Curly-locks’ activities more on make believe and the great outdoors.
Does your house look like the inside of a toy store? Do you have a toy addiction like me? Why do you think kids these days have more toys than we ever did?