My Dilemma with Toys

One day,

Calvin: I wish I had a real Lightning McQueen toy. (a red stock car from the movie Cars)
Papa: You can always pretend that one of your cars is Lightning.
Calvin: Yeah, but I wish I had a Lightning so I don’t have to keep pretending that Fresh (a yellow fire-body car) is Lightning.

Despite my misgivings about character toys, I almost wanted to buy one for him. He sounded like a deprived little boy. Then I remembered what happened to the few character toys he received as gifts: Action Chugger, Mater and Finn McMissile; these vehicles only get played with in a very limited setting because he can’t see them as anything else.  In comparison, the generic set of 10 colorful toy cars with matching drivers for a lot more play as cars in a car store and various characters in his pretend play.

I really do enjoy seeing him engage in imaginative play. He will try to join up random toys together to make new vehicles,  like hooking up trailers to different vehicles that wasn’t made to hook up, putting a digger part on a semi trailer. We do have plenty of open ended toys – wooden blocks, foam blocks, Tinker toys, Trio blocks, Lego. I’m starting to relent a little since he received that Wheeljack Transformer toy as a Christmas present. He really enjoys transforming the robot into a car or even into his own designs like a plane with the wheels pointing backwards as jet engines. To preserve our sanity on the trip back to Singapore, we are planning to give him another Transformer toy. Potentially, this plan will backfire on us terribly because we’ll probably have to help him transform it every 2 minutes. And then his grandparents are all planning to buy him even more of these robot toys, so his collection will grow manifold over the summer. In the end, it’s probably more about moderation as usual. If a character toy has something more unique to offer than just have annoying voices repeating the same lines, that will probably pass my scrutiny. Maybe I’m just trying to justify our decisions now that we’ve seen how much he loved those toys but whatever the case, we probably will not be seeing a real Lightning McQueen in our house anytime soon.

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