Tuesday, November 18, 2008

His Own Magic Kingdom

Vince and I aren't big fans of Disneyland. For us, Disneyland conjures up images of long lines, creaky old rides that end in shiny stores filled with expensive goodies, and overtired children cranky from too much sugar and stimulation. And what about those exorbitant ticket prices? We'd rather take the money we'd spend on one day at the Magic Kingdom and spend it on something else. Like a year of college tuition for Benjamin.

I guess it's a good thing that Benjamin finds his own home to be magical enough. His days are filled with exploring caves, banging on drums, and hunting for treasure. The best part is that we didn't have to spend a dime on any of it, because everything is right here already. Take a look at that picture of Benjamin above and on the right. He's sitting in front of a step stool holding a spatula, right? WRONG! He's actually sitting in front of a bongo drum holding a drumstick. And when he gets bored with his bongo drum, it will morph into something else, perhaps a walker, a climbing wall, or a table. And that spatula? He'll probably use it to poke Oliver in his oshiri. And then I'll use it at a later time to cook dinner. Ew, gross!

I could fill pages listing the different "toys" Benjamin has discovered around the house, but I'll just name a few of his favorites. Before I do, however, I have to add a very important disclaimer: INSPECT ANY HOUSEHOLD OBJECT BEFORE GIVING IT TO A BABY. Make sure it's reasonably clean and free of potential choking hazards. And, of course, adult supervision is strongly suggested. Now on to the fun stuff...

Dryer balls - These spiky plastic balls are the perfect size for Benjamin's little hands to grasp, they don't roll too far away if dropped, and they make great teethers.

Empty tissue boxes - I remove any dangly plastic bits first, and then I stuff them with objects of varying textures and sizes for Benjamin to discover: nylon bibs, small toys, and baby washcloths, to name a few.

Empty cardboard boxes - The mega-size diaper box pictured above has been reincarnated as a clubhouse, table, toy chest, and/or hiding place. Make sure that any boxes you use are free from staples, old tape, or dangling flaps.

Gladware - This is a favorite! Smaller Gladware containers are the perfect size for Benjamin to bang together as noisemakers or to chew on. Larger ones can be turned into rattles by filling them with baby-safe objects such as pacificiers, spoons, or plastic toy links. I'll also dangle toys off of the lip of the containers with plastic toy links.

Paper - I had to include one section devoted just to paper. Benjamin LOVES paper: tissue paper, magazines, wrapping paper, waxed paper, and the list goes on. He loves the satisfying sound it makes when he balls it up or flaps it around, and he loves how it changes shape based on how he crinkles, folds, or rips it. When we finally got window treatments for the big windows in his playroom, I stuck the temporary shade we no longer needed onto the sliding glass door, and watched Benjamin amuse himself with it. He crawled beneath it like it was a cave. He grabbed it with his hands, shrieking with delight at the sound it made. He sat quietly and observed the sun streaming through it. It was such a treat watching him enjoy himself in this simple way.

I could also devote an entire section to the things around the house that I'd rather he NOT turn into toys. Oliver's water bowl is one. My stash of expensive yarn is another. I've learned to remove both from his reach when he's on the prowl.

The most prized "toy" in Benjamin's Magic Kingdom, however, is always within his reach. This toy has served as climbing wall, armchair, jumperoo, hammock, and jungle gym.

And you know what's kinda neat thing about this particular toy? There's not one, but TWO, of them! So if one wears out, there's always the other one to step in and keep the little guy going.


Catherine (aka Lucy's Mommy) said...

How sweet!

But remind me if I eat anything at your house to ask what it was cooked with...

Longhornfowlers said...

Ha! I pull/push Gabriel around in his empty jumbo diaper box. -Nicci