Thursday, January 22, 2015

Day 70: Toys and the Terms and Conditions we place on them | Practical Parenting

Another dimension which I would like to open up in relation to my previous blog Day 69: Introducing Toys & Expansive Play, is that of hidden values we may hold towards toys – which our children don’t – and which may affect one’s relationship with one’s child playing with toys; and consequently the child’s relationship with playing with toys.

In my previous blog I mentioned how Cesar would play with toys in a way that ‘they were not intended to’, and the dimension of fear involved in terms of ‘developmental delay’ where I feared that Cesar not playing with the toy as how it was designed/intended to be played with was indicative to him being ‘behind’. Now, another dimension of fear I noticed at one point, was the fear of him breaking toy – which also falls within this category of ‘not using a toy the way it was intended to be used’.

Here, we were playing with a toy which we had just gotten him which had been quite pricey. Then as he started to play with the toy more intensely, almost as if he was deliberately putting its structural integrity and durability to the test – I experienced myself constricting inside myself and intervening in how he was playing with the toy. Cesar obviously didn’t like this very much, as he was exploring the toy within this particular way and was set out to continue exploring it within this manner as far as he could take it. When I noticed movement inside myself and wanting to move to intervene I stopped and asked myself why I was so intent on limiting him within how he was playing with the toy. “It’s his toy” I told myself. And then an image if how expensive the toy had been came up.


So here, I saw and realised how I had placed a particular value on the toy within the knowledge and information of how much the toy had cost, and where within the decision of buying the expensive toy, having made the decision/hope that it would ‘go a long way’.

Then you have Cesar who receives the toy and is like ‘Oh yay, cool’ – and almost immediately goes into checking how he can take it apart. This didn’t match my expectation which had been part of the decision of buying the toy, and how I projected he would play with the toy – which than caused inner conflict and friction. Where initially, I perceived Cesar to be the problem within ‘how he plays with the toy’; instead of seeing and realising that the problem was within my projection and expectations which were like ‘hidden terms and conditions’ which I was carrying around within myself in relation to the toy.

So, I took a step back within myself, breathed in, breathed out – and within the out breath completely let go of any expectations and limitations I had placed on the toy – placing the toy unconditionally within Cesar’s control (or rather, within his innocence).

I also realised that it would be futile to forevermore try and keep him from breaking things, as it would always leave an unsatisfied curiosity which would be bound to come out in one way or another.

The one day for instance, we were playing in the garden when some flowers that Maite had recently planted caught his eye. I went ‘uh oh’, and soon enough Cesar was pulling the flowers from the plants. But then he did an interesting thing, where he would pick up the flowers and place them back on the stem from which he pulled them; which obviously didn’t work and the flower would just float/fall down to the ground. And he would try that a few more times with the other flowers he had pulled off and then looked at me with this ‘Oh!’ face. So there I could tell he went through a learning-moment where he realised that if he pulls the flower off, then it’s off and you can’t get it back to how it used to be. So he will pull flowers off and he will break things – it’s inevitable. But the other side of the coin is that he will inevitably learn about the actions he performs, their cause and effect and consequence – and so how our physical reality operates.

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