Parenting is a funny job. There are times when I feel like I’m trying to recreate my childhood for my own children, and other times when I’m trying to give my kids a childhood as far removed from some of my own experiences.
Technology and screen time was mimimal in my upbringing. This wasn’t so much as an intentional choice by my parents, although had they had the choice its one I’m sure they would have made. We just didn’t have screens readily available. I don’t think we got a computer until I was about 10, and the local TV station had very minimal commercial tv shows.
We played. We bush walked. We rode bikes. We played sport. On weekends and holidays, we often went “out bush” with dads work for the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife (then called the Conservation Commision). Dad ran a junior ranger program for kids so we were often involved in activities related to this.
With Warwicks passion for prospecting and fossicking, I envision family holidays in the future looking for rocks and gems and spending time in the bush. Searching for opals in Coober Pedy, looking for dinosaur fossils in central Queensland and hunting for gold in the south east are all on our list for future family holidays.
Just as I hope to give my kids the oppurtunity to experience significant time outdoors exploring our country like my sister and I got to do growing up, I find myself often gravitating towards toys for my daughter that are similar to those I enjoyed as a child. Her favourite “Meow Meow” cat is a “Pet Surprise”; the modern version of my beloved Puppy Surprise you. I have several Little Miss Makeup dolls stashed away for her for future years. And despite me presenting her with numerous Cabbage Patch Dolls, they are yet to capture her attention. Aunty Jane even knitted Briar a replica of my beloved “Lambie” when she was born.
So I must say I was delighted to see Briar and some neighborhood girls playing together this afternoon with a set of Polly Pockets that were mine as a child. Mema has had them safely stashed away, and the older girls included Briar in their game so generously. But this evening when I noticed the toys still out on the carpet in my nephews play room, I quickly packed them away in fear they might get stepped on or treated roughly by my toddler and her cousin!
After dinner this evening, my sister Ellie was struggling to get her boys to focus on eating their dinner. Briar wasn’t helping, as she’d eaten remarkably well tonight and was off playing on the floor near the table. I wanted to remove her from the room to give her cousins some time to finish their meals, so I went and sat on Memas bed with her and together we played Polly Pockets. I expected my two year old would need close supervision with this miniature toys, but I was quite taken aback to see her launch into an imaginative game immediately; and one that was remarkably gentle for such little fingers handling such tiny dolls. She lined up the houses so the pink paths joined, and picked a doll to play with.
I ended up leaving Briar playing quietly on Memas bed and went and finished my dinner in the next room. I checked on her regularly, and each time she was sitting there, singing the narrative of her play to the tiny dolls just as I sing to her so much of our daily routine.
I filmed her play because I wouldn’t have believed it had I not witnessed it for myself. I’m so thankful to have such an imaginative little girl. I do dread the day she discovers Lol Dolls though, I fear they may be just her thing!