Children and Their Joys

I don’t remember growing up with a favorite toy that I kept and loved to shreds. Most of the childhood games I enjoyed required nothing more than water or a stick to draw lines on the dirt or sand and a flat stone for hopscotch; recycled inner tubes, leather from old shoes and a tree branch for a slingshot; and an old ping pong ball and pebbles for jack stones. I do remember being proud of all the rubber bands I won and wore on my arm from wrist to elbow.

There are children, however, who latch on to a favorite toy, furniture (like his high chair), blanket or dish, and throw a fit if they can’t take these everywhere with them. My son, up to the age of seven, was one of those children and his favorite was a teddy bear he called “bear-bear.” Bear-bear traveled everywhere with us and his appearance suffered from the wear and tear of constant hugging, dragging and washing (my son cried when he saw I had hung his teddy bear by the feet on the clothesline and insisted it be hung by the ears).

I talked about this with other mothers and one mother said that her daughter didn’t have a favorite toy but a favorite food that she had to have every day, anywhere – applesauce, in its original jar. She would eat anything at mealtimes as long as she had her applesauce. Another mother said her son fixated on his baby pillow.

We discussed easy ways to make some old favorites exactly like those they replaced without our children knowing, for the sake of aesthetics and sanitation. It worked for the applesauce and the pillow moms, but my son loved his Bear-bear, bald patches and all, and I had to be satisfied with washing, patching and re-filling until he finally outgrew that stage.