But I Want to Play With Toys!

Tonight my friend MLHawke posted a motherly confession: that she enjoyed playing with her daughter, Kender’s, toys.  That got me to thinking and I realized that I have made forays into Toys ‘R Us, or through the toy section of the local Target.  I have looked at toys and hoped people think I’m looking for a gift for a child.  The reality is I look at some of these toys and wish it wouldn’t be perceived as sketchy for me to buy them for myself.

Don’t get me wrong.  I do buy some toys for myself.  I have a large collection of Harry Potter Legos; this summer I purchased the Hagrid’s Hut set from the Lego Store.  I have action figures, and for a time was known for the LOTR figures on my car’s dashboard (RIP Nerdmobile).  I have stuffed zombies.  And we all know I have gaming consoles that get frequent use.  But why is it strange for adults to want to play with toys?

Not going to lie, today’s toys are pretty cool.  In a world where toys compete with television and videogames for kids’ attention and imaginations, the toys work to step it up.  Some toys I don’t understand, and probably never will given that I’m not a child.  But there are some toys I see and my imagination goes haywire.  I think how cool it might be to play with them, and then make sure no one sees me thinking about it:

It brings me back to being a child.  When I was young we didn’t have iPods or iPhones or smartphones… or heck even cell phones that we were constantly glued to.  I had Nintendo that I played fairly frequently, but I also read a lot, and above all, I had toys.  I played with Legos; I had model dinosaurs; and while I had Barbies and did play some typical Barbie roleplaying with my best friend, we (and I alone) also played with our dolls and made costumes out of existing clothes so they matched the images of made up heroines we’d created.  My first official fandom was Legend of Zelda, and looking back now with my older, wiser, nerdier eyes, I see that what she and I were doing was writing fanfiction and creating original characters, as well as roleplaying.

Playing with toys forced me to use my imagination and become creative.  And because of some of the elements of play that we involved, I think it was also integral to forming who I am as a nerd today.  We saw our dolls through being typical teenagers… or characters in the Zelda setting… or with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Or any other scenario.  It made me act, made me think, made me be creative with what I had.  I was always grateful that I was able to learn to entertain myself, and I think my parents were, too.

Plus, my toys were cool.  I had Legos.  I loved my Legos.  To this day I sometimes wonder what happened to all of them.  One year between my brother and me we had the entire Lego Ice Planet series.  That was my space year, seventh grade I think.  Prior to that, I was totally obsessed with horses (which may be why I reload to save my horse.)  Oh, I had Lego horses.  The first Lego horse I had was brown, and came in a small set with a stable to build.  And you’d better believe my dolls had horses.  My favorite was this one:

The corral, the cardboard diorama, all the plastic grooming devices… they were epic in my mind.  I asked my mom for some instant potato flakes to keep in the feed bucket, and would fill the trough with water.  I would also use my brother’s Lincoln Logs to create jumping courses for my horses.  Hedges, oxers, double oxers… I read a lot about showing and horses in general, so I knew about jump courses.  Building them was a huge source of fun for me.  I had the Blinking Beauty horse in the picture; if you “pet” her mane, she blinked and had these long eyelashes.  But later on I also got another horse that went with another doll set.  This horse had legs jointed at the knees and fetlocks, and the head moved up and down with a neck joint.  It also came with a riding outfit for the doll.  Now that? Was AWESOME.

Evidently those were some very important and formative elements of my childhood.  I openly confess to still looking at doll horses and fondly recalling the days when it was okay to spend my time letting my imagination roam free and manifest in dressing up my dolls and taking my toy horses through their fake paces over Lincoln Log jumps.  And when people like my friend say they want to play with their child’s toys I don’t laugh or scoff, I agree. 

People are quick to point out a standard about what it is to be grown up.  Pay your bills, live on your own, find a relationship, get married, have kids, don’t get married… and when it comes to having fun the standard becomes very interesting to look at, especially if you’re like me and your definition of fun doesn’t coincide with “their” definition.  In one episode of How I Met Your Mother, Marshall and Lily decide they need to have grown up fun, so they have people over for a wine tasting.  The episode plays up the dull nature of things until both hosts finally escape through the bathroom window and meet their friends, leaving the “grown ups” waiting for the wine to breathe.

Of course knowing what those characters are like, it’s funny.  But there are people like the “grown ups” who do find wine tasting enjoyable, and I don’t fault them for it at all.  I appreciate that that’s where they find entertainment, even if it’s not for me.  For me fun is making costumes; dressing up; walking around in public in a Medieval dress or like a zombe.  It’s playing D&D every week and video games in between and doing things that stimulate my imagination.  And I’d appreciate not being faulted for my definition of fun.  We’re all different, and age shouldn’t be a factor. 

In the end, I don’t buy the cool toys, mostly because I don’t have the extra money or room.  But I do have my Legos, I do have an army of MegaBlocks Spartans from their Halo collection, and I do have two Halo Reach Spartan action figures.  I will probably play some xbox when I finish writing this.  Hey, my bills are paid and my work is done; I’m going to play with my toys!

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9 comments on “But I Want to Play With Toys!

  1. This post FTW! Thanks for not making me feel like an idiot for wanting to play with my kiddo’s toys. Also, I don’t feel so bad for buying an original Care Bear or My Little Ponies on eBay when I was in college. 😉

    • You shouldn’t feel like an idiot 🙂 Your kid’s got cool toys! And really, I don’t see why we should feel bad for liking what we like. I mean, buying originals of our favorite toys has got to be better emotionally and physically than, say, buying drugs. The more I think about my blog and the things I wind up wanting to write about the more I’m realizing that I want to stick it to society’s standards, because they’re just dumb 😀

  2. People ask me why I want to be a preschool teacher, and I always have the internal debate as to whether “I wanted a legitimate excuse to wander Toys R Us” is an acceptable answer 🙂

    And for the record, TARGET!!! Their toy section rocks! I’ve gotten Star Wars figures there that I’ve never seen anywhere else. And even small-scale replicas of the Cylon Raiders and Colonial Vipers from Battlestar Galactica. It’s amazing.

    • Yes! Target’s where I get my Halo MegaBlocks. They have little packages where you buy one figure and it’s a surprise. They’re only like $2.50 each, and fun for a quick little something that’s not candy. I like the section with the dolls that look like American Girl dolls but aren’t. Those dolls have THE COOLEST STUFF. And the horses that come with that line are so awesome. It’s probably good that I don’t have the space for any of it…

  3. I agree! and you should buy the toys you like no matter what others would think. You only get one life (that we are aware of for now, lol) I love going to huge toy’s stores and check out everything there. I usually like boy’s toys better, girl toys make me mad and often offend me.
    When I was a kid my favourites where the stuffed animals, I had tons of those, and now, looking back, it was kinda weird cuz the polar bear was married to a squirrel and so on XD but its just like you said, we were creative with what we had.

    • I agree! I still have some stuffed animals; I’m learning, the older I get, to just like what I like and go with it. It’s not hurting anyone, and I enjoy it. You’re totally right about having one life, and we should enjoy it. If being VERY in touch with my inner child is how I enjoy it… go me! Go all of us who are young at heart and not afraid to show it!

      • Yep. I made a new friend in 2011 and we were walking across a park, some dudes were skating, and I said how all my life I wanted to learn how to skate, but now I feel I’m kinda old for it (I’m 22) and she was like “OMG you should buy a skate and learn, don’t let anything you wanna do in this life unresolved or undone, so when you die, you die happy!” The more I think of it, the more I agree. And the other “very-inspiring-phrase” I have is from my dad, who says it every time someone calls him crazy or ridiculous: “The older I get, the less I care”. Lol.

  4. I love love this. It is funny because for the last three years now I have been collecting figures. And I really love it. I collect all sorts of things. Starwars, Gears of war, Marvel, Transformers and other things. My parents just shake their heads at me and say im wasting my money, but I just love collecting them and it makes me feel so happy when I do. I fdont care what other thinks that I buy these things for myself. I love having my huge display of figures on my computer desk and just enjoying them. it should not matter at all what age you are. if we want to play or collect them we should be allowed too!. When i was younger i have probally over 100 animal toys that my mother used to set up for me every day. I was an only child so i always had to create things up as I went. And I am thankful for that because it made me the creative person i am today!. And hey its still healthy to break out and still do this today! hahaha

    • Thank you! 🙂 I think a creative mind is a healthy mind, generally speaking; of course you get serial killers who say they were being creative, but they’re special cases. Okay, saying that makes me sound even weirder than confessing I like toys 😉 But you’re right. As we grow and become who we are and what we want to be, why should we stifle ourselves just because society says that by a certain age you shouldn’t do X, Y, or Z? This has me thinking about doing some posts about society’s standards: just who imposes them, and why should we care? I’m glad to find some kindred spirits who love being creative individuals that don’t feel the need to apologize for who they are and what they love!

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