Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sharing some childhood favorites

I'll admit it. I'm sentimental. Over the years, I've saved many things that have had meaning to me, from different eras of my life. I would say I'm not much of a packrat - about 4 tubs of things that don't necessarily have much practical use in my adult life, but each object evokes a series of memories and corresponding emotions.

After Alexandra entered our life, I saw the contents of those boxes very differently. I'd never really had a conscious thought of "someday if I have a child...," except for a nightgown I'd found at a craft fair that had perfectly matched a larger version I'd saved. Other than that, these objects were just possessions from my childhood, often things that most people would not see as valuable or significant.

Before she was born, I'd allocated a ton of space in our spare closet for the books we'd received from friends and family to sell as part of a fund-raising effort for adoption costs. As the books sold, space freed up, and when Alexandra started outgrowing things, I put them in there. When she got to be 6 months old, I realized I had to have some kind of organizational system, which prompted me to pull everything out to examine it.

I basically wound up packing things up more neatly and stacking several things off to one half of the closet with the vague idea of "someday she might actually like playing with or wearing that." This week, I remembered a specific plaything and went to dig it out. I found the box easily - it is a size just so, and the silvery paper on the box is quite distinctive. I recall receiving a gift from my maternal grandparents in that box, but I don't know what the gift was. What I do know is what I decided to store in that box - my kitchen playthings. Heavy duty aluminum pots, pans, lids, and tea kettle ... and a Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy tinware tea set - two cups survive, along with numerous tiny saucers, 2 sizes of plates, and a battered tray.

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All of it is lovely in my eyes, and now, it's being passed along to my daughter. I had some vague idea that maybe I'd be upset if she broke or damaged the pieces, but the reality is that my childhood memories are firmly etched in my memory, and she can only expand upon those memories. If something gets bent or broken (and the tea kettle, which I'd forgotten had a loose rivet, has been sent for repair at Grandpa's workshop, within less than 24 hours of play), it's all part of the process of childhood play. I'd rather she bang it and just enjoy the hell out of it, than carefully handle it and get not one jot of fun.
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The contents are already integrated with her other kitchen items - felt food, plastic food, picnic basket, pots, cups, etc. - and she is joyfully making us pretend soup and pretend jam. She sometimes will announce, "GIDGEN. BYE." which means she's decided she wants to abandon whatever task she's doing in favor of going to her room to play with her kitchen. She's happy, she's creative, and she's given new life to objects that hold cherished memories. Now, we'll create new memories, like this:

Mommy: What are we going to make now? Oh! Frog casserole *puts toy frog in a pot, opens pretend oven door* Alexandra, please close the oven door.
Alexandra: *closes oven door*
Mommy: "Is it done yet?" *pause* "DING! Let's check!" *opens oven, looks in* No! Back in the oven!
Alexandra: *closes oven door*
Mommy: "Is it done yet?" *pause* "DING! Let's check!" *opens oven, looks in* No! Back in the oven!
Alexandra: DING! *opens the oven to look in* DONE. *tries to pull out pot, which gets stuck* HEP, MAMA.
Mommy: "Okay, I'll help." *turns pot handle* Okay, you get it.
Alexandra: *pulls out pot with frog in it* YUM!

Don't look at me like that. Her Disney Princess play kitchen came with utensils, plates, pots, pans, spoons, cups AND a fish (Flounder) and two frogs (Tiana & Naveen, I assume). Apparently they are SUPPOSED to be cooked. Sheesh.

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Mel said...

YUM! Frog!! LOL
What a wonderful thing to pass on to the kiddo. Lovely way to just add to the memories she's creating with you. And bless granddad for having the magic to fix the teapot (cuz that one's just too cool!).

Roasted frog, eh? LOL
Too precious.
And LOOK at her in those bibs, all intent on her froggy meal!
OHmygosh.....too precious.

Suzanne said...

Hi Suzanne, long time no visit! Can't believe how much Alexandra has grown. Sounds like she's developing into a lovely little girl :) xx