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This is my last post on holidays for a long {long} while. I promise ;).

However, this one is near and dear to my heart, and since we just moved through it, here are a few thoughts while it is still fresh…..

Several years ago, I was standing in the baby toy section at Toys R Us. And it took everything within me not to sit there and cry. In hindsight, maybe I should have just had myself a good, long bawl right there in aisle 4, while holiday strollers, sipping lattes from their Tim Hortons holiday take-out cups, eyed me with a strange sense of curiosity and pity. Giving me a little extra space as they found some toy-treasure in the next aisle.

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Image source: BigDaddyKreative

 

It is funny, the things that will transport us knee-deep into grief.

I was standing in the baby section, but I wasn’t buying toys for a baby. I was trying to select something meaningful for a past-toddler-age child that was still developmentally closer to “baby-ish.” And it was making me a little crazy. I was wrestling with “Do I buy something that is developmentally challenging or something that is just plain and simple?” “What can I get her that we don’t already have?” “D*** it sucks to be buying baby things for my girl, when her younger sister has already developmentally passed her and all these toys.”

That’s when I started to look at things as age vs. stage appropriate. Kezia’s age may indicate one thing, but her stage is likely at a totally different level. This has helped me immensely to put things like toy-buying, setting expectations for work jobs around the house, or independence skills into perspective. She may appear to be eight and a half (she actually looks older, considering she is quite tall!) but what could I reasonably anticipate from someone much younger? That helps me cope with the frustration and the wrestling.

Also new to me this year (it has very likely been published before, but I can be a little slow on the up-take and haven’t noticed it…) was this catalogue from Toys R Us.

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It is full of good ideas and points out areas of development that each toy targets. Even if you don’t shop at Toys R Us, it can still fuel inspiration as you search for that special something.

I would like to say I’ve set aside all pressure to pick out toys that are developmentally challenging. My natural tendency is a love for all things education-related, and so the gifts we pick for our kids tend to reflect that. (Thank goodness the girls have an awesome dad who lovingly selected remote control monster trucks for each one of his girls this year!!! He keeps things fun :P). She still hasn’t touched the alphabet magnet letter board we picked out for her :).

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A great Kezia-Gift. We stocked it with white board markers, a roll of paper and stickers!  A second IKEA white board around here works very well ;). Thank you IKEA! The girls spend hours playing school (hence Lexi’s new “School Time” set), drawing, making games, etc. I just wish it was also magnetic. The magnetic plastic easels are usually quite a bit shorter.

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Kezia expressed a love of horses this summer. She couldn’t get enough of them on our summer holiday. These beautiful horses are Schleich – great price, great quality. And a sticker book is always a hit!

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Ah. Tactile toys. I love shopping with Mikayla because she was on the hunt for something special for her sisters. In all honesty these things drive me  crazy because they get covered in fuzz and the little pink flickering LED bear is enough to send anyone into a seizure. However. Kezia LOVES these things. Squishy Bob (the purple guy – a gift from a sweet little friend) goes everywhere. And… since we love Kezia…. we will allow fuzz-collecting, bouncy toys into the home :).

Honestly, the best thing we can get for her is anything she can do with her sisters. She won’t typically go play with toys. She will play with people. It’s relationships, not things, that means the most to her. A good life lesson.

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