Lately our house has been hustling and bustling in order to get ready for the big day. P is turning 1 in 4 days and on the weekend, the whole house is going to be filled with "big boy celebrations."
In the process of getting ready, we have spent endless hours deciding what to get for our little scooter. I mean really, what do you get a scooter that loves nothing more than to cuddle his inanimate objects? The answer - although it took a while to get to - was actually simple. A vacuum.
Since he's been able to indicate them, our son has had a strong affection for the vacuum cleaner. G is deathly allergic to anything that moves or otherwise and vacuuming is a more than once per day activity in our house. As such, P has grown rather fond of being worn around the house while one of us vacuums. In fact, its one of his favourite pastimes and most popular requests as of late. He's even tried his own hand at vacuuming, and decided he loves it. So when we realized this might be an option as a birthday gift we set out researching some toy versions.
Unfortunately, not many of these exist.
There were some specified criteria that had to be met. The vacuum has to be a floor model, not an upright, and it has to make real vacuum noises. In terms of quality vacuums we were able to find, there is only a dyson model for children available only in the UK. *sigh*. So I did what any self respecting parent would do and set out to beg every specialty toy store in our area to order me one. Apparently this is not common practice. In fact, I was met with many "A vacuum? For kids? Never heard of it..." and disproving glances that were dripping with judgements about exactly what types of child labor practices I engaged in at home.
Now here I sit, without a vacuum and a new reputation as that weirdo-mom-who-keeps-harassing-us-about-vacuums. No closer to my goal than when I originally set out making an argument for why these types of things should be more readily available for kids. Kids like to help out. They love to do "big people things" and learn a ton from the environment around them. So what is the harm in encouraging that? And why can't my son legitimately love a vacuum cleaner enough to have his own smaller toy version? Since when have we as a society developed a 'toy hierarchy?'
I have seen some parenting styles that opt for providing their children with video games and television as stand ins for nannies even at the infant stage. Baby Einstein and other television shows might work for some, but its not my style. I prefer to offer my children hands on and engaging learning experiences - and to be a part of this process. So why am I left feeling like the weirdo? When did it become more acceptable for television and video games to be considered 'normal' versions of children's playtime?