Monday, March 27, 2006

Inappropriate Playthings for Toddlers

Part of the fun of blogging is that it gives you an opportunity to dispense advice and opinions on anything that takes your fancy. So here is some parenting advice based on my recent experience. I do NOT recommend either of the following items as playthings for toddlers:

1) A bag of lentils

A large bag of dried lentils is an interesting tactile experience for an infant. Their attention will probably be engaged for several minutes as they prod and poke the bag, appreciate its texture and listen to the interesting sounds that it makes. You will probably feel that the bag is securely fastened, and that this is a harmless activity for your child. However, you are wrong.

Several thousand lentils spilling out onto the kitchen floor make a very special sort of noise. It is a noise that tells you that various sorts of unpleasantness are coming your way. Firstly, there is the necessity to remove your toddler from the large pile of lentils that he or she is now gleefully running his or her fingers through. He or she will not be pleased about this. Then you have the tedious task of rounding up all the errant lentils, many of which will have skittered a considerable distance across your kitchen. Even so, you know that some of them will have found places of concealment in which they will lurk, gradually shrivelling, for years.

2) A bunch of keys

Superficially, a bunch of keys can be an attractive plaything for a toddler. They are bright and shiny, come in different shapes and sizes, and make an interesting noise when shaken. Furthermore, since your toddler probably doesn't get to play with keys all that much, they have the bonus of novelty value. When you've just returned home, laden down with heavy bags of shopping, you will often have a bunch of keys in your hand, and it can be tempting to let your toddler play with them for a few minutes, while you unpack everything and sort it out.

Resist this temptation.

A determined toddler can put on a surprising burst of speed, and prove remarkably inventive in finding unusual places to conceal your keys. You may not notice that there is a problem until some time after the jangling noise has stopped. Even an extensive search, involving the unpleasant necessity of rummaging through the garbage, may prove unsuccessful. It is quite possible that your keys will not reappear until about a week after you have given up and had a new set made, at considerable inconvenience and expense.

Coming next: a post about running.


Blogger Sue said...

oh Phil, thanks for the laugh!! Lots of lentils and no keys!

28 March, 2006 11:18  

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