Monday, April 28, 2014

Photo A Day, Days 26 & 27: "Enjoy the Little Things" and "Under My Feet"

I suppose this could be considered cheating, combining two days into one. And even though I was a couple of days behind, I honestly intended to write two separate entries for this weekend. But when I found my subject for “Enjoy the Little Things” and realized it was also perfectly appropriate for “Under My Feet,” I couldn’t help combining them. And when you see my photograph, you’ll understand why.

Tiny toys are the bane of every parent of small children. As much as kids love big play kitchens and oversized stuffed animals and giant toy fire trucks, it seems like they spend even more time playing with the tiny cheapo toys that came from McDonald’s or in a 30-pack from the Dollar Store or the local party store. (Or the tiny not-so-cheapo toys that came from the Lego store.) And these tiny toys have two major problems: 1) they are so small that they are constantly getting lost (between couch cushions, at the bottom of Mom’s purse, under the seat of the car, in the pocket of a seldom-worn jacket), and 2) they are constantly – and painfully – underfoot.

The most obvious case of tiny, underfoot, hated-by-parents toys are Lego blocks. Not the big Duplos that you can convince your kids are Legos until they’re about 3 years old, which are much softer underfoot and come in bright colors that can be seen from the moon, but the genuine article, the miniscule, same-color-as-the-carpet, only-one-way-to-make-a-spaceship-from-this-set, 3,000-pieces-per-package, sharper-than-a-serpent’s-tooth, Daddy-will-you-put-this-together-for-me stuff of parental nightmares. The one minor advantage to Lego blocks, of course, is that since you have 500,000 of them around your house, any one piece that gets broken or “accidentally” thrown away will not be missed by your child. (It may suddenly be missed by you when you are attempting to construct that scale model of the Millennium Falcon that your kids have been begging you to build for weeks, however.)

But with pretty much any other tiny toy, your child will know – and weep – when one is missing. At the moment, my daughter’s favorite tiny toy is a pair of plastic pteranodons that Santa bought by the dozen at the party store and tucked into her stocking on a whim. Now, we can’t leave the house without mother and baby pteranodon in tow. Conveniently, they’re small enough to fit both of them in a pocket or purse, and they’re soft plastic so repeatedly dropping them on the floor in church or, say, a dance recital (not that that has actually happened, of course, but hypothetically) is not disruptive to others nearby. But because there are so many places they can be tucked, there are also so many places they need to be looked for every time they disappear. I now plan on leaving the house 15 minutes earlier than usual no matter where we’re going so we can stage a massive dinosaur hunt before getting in the car.

But I’m glad that my kids do know how to enjoy the little things. Even if those little things do tend to end up under my feet.

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