Toys, toys and toys. I am pre-Barbi, I admit, so the toys I remember were stuffed animals, a small table and chairs, and books. Walking into IKEA, I always check out their children's department. This time, in their stuffed animal area I saw this wonderful spotted Leopard Seal and baby. How do they do it? Boris, the Leopard was an earlier purchase (see previous blog). Their designers must study photographs of these animals to get the shape just right. There is a whimsical side to their designs as well when you see a stuffed snake with a real rattle in its tail, a rabbit with a back pack and a small rabbit peeking out, finger puppets, hand puppets and all kinds of pretend play items.
I think that we all should make our young children's lives as magical as possible. What children really want is your time with them, but not parked in front of a video screen. Reading to them is special and there are so many beautifully illustrated books out there, stories from all over the world, and libraries where these books can be checked out. Ask your adult kids what they remember from growing up. You may be surprised.
When I taught in Los Angeles, I would buy Dr. Seuss books for the expectant mothers I had in my class. They were always puzzled by the gift. "This is for you to read to your child," I said. Then, after a pause, "Didn't anyone ever read a book to you when you were little." No answer, just a shrug of the shoulders.
To segue into my next point about caring about children everywhere, this morning in the "Wall Street Journal" was an article that Vladimir Putin, in retaliation for political decisions that we enacted which included restrictions against Russians who were accused of human-rights violations, will sign a bill that bans U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children. This includes adoptions already in progress. Many American families request adopting children with special needs. Russia has 120,000 orphans, with fewer than 20,000 Russians listed as prospective adoptive families. Russia does not have the facilities to help many of these special needs children. And so, political pawns are made of these Russian orphans. Many kids do not have the advantage of caring parents. This has to be very sad news for the prospective parents who are waiting and the kids who are hoping, hoping, hoping, to be adopted. Perhaps Putin, with international pressure, will change his mind.
I am adding this website from a couple who adopted a child from Russia. It is heart-wrenching, but a tribute to a couple who cared enough to adopt a special needs child who would had died without their help.