PASSING CHILDHOOD (B&W Sunday: Playtime)

Sad toys live in our house. They live in the yard, dirty, rusty, and forgotten unless the glint of the sun or a Daddy about to mow the lawn reminds the boys to pick the toys up and get them out of the way. When that happens, the toys get a new lease on life, briefly.

Sets upon sets of toy trains of varying kinds and make, wood, plastic, metal, from Thomas the Tank to Geo Trax – languish inside plastic bins, gathering mold or dust, along with toy cars, play dough molds, among others.

It was not always that way. There was a time, when the two older children were very young, when the toys were played with a lot. The older boys, now 12 and 10, respectively, spent hours upon hours building train tracks and a whole train village with all the pieces they had. They so loved their trains that their grandpop and Daddy made them a table where the children could lay out the tracks. The third boy continued the tradition, so to speak, and added more to the train collection. When the fourth boy arrived, all three older boys have moved on to other toys that the youngest one then, barely played with the toys that his brothers so loved. He loved his toddler toys, the big trucks that he could push around in the yard or even ride on, his play dough, and the toys that his older brothers were interested in – toy guns, arrows, tanks and soldiers, and the like.

Ah, how childhood sail away too fast.  How quickly their interests change.  These days, the old train table is a storage space.  Video games rank first in the children’s game priority and if they have their way, they will play nothing but their favorite online games. Since that will never be allowed, the children, from the 12 year old down to the 5 year old, learned to like board games and role playing games.  Big brothers do influence the choices of the younger ones.  Sunday afternoons sometimes find the family playing Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder. For these games, we have collected miniature figures to represent the characters we play. So we have ogres and orcs, elves and rogues, and other fantastical creatures that are the staple of role playing games.

And yet, just when we thought that we could do away with the outgrown toys, a fifth boy comes along. At eighteen moths, he has discovered the joys of the old toys. He is often out in the yard riding on a bulldozer or pushing a dump truck full of dirt. When he is not busy hauling and pushing his toy trucks, he is happily playing in the old sand pit that his daddy replenished recently. Cascading sand must have its own magic because along with him, his four older brothers dig and scoop sand as eagerly as the little toddler.

Perhaps, there is hope still for the forgotten toys to be played with once again.


Daily Post:  Sail

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