Thursday, December 9, 2010

The toddler takeover

I really, really want to get my son a kitchen playset for Christmas.

There, I've said it. I have been thinking about it somewhat obsessively for the past week. He would love it, insofar as an 18-month-old can truly love any toy. It would be fleeting, but for a period of time, he would love it.

But I can't do it. You might say, what would be so bad about a kitchen playset? They come in all shapes and sizes, and I'm sure there is a set out there that is understated, non-plastic, and able to fit relatively unobtrusively into a corner of my kitchen. Here are some examples. (Not that I've been looking.)

And after pricing new cars all week, since our current 6-year-old car needs a $2300 new clutch, even the priciest kitchen set fit for a prince seems blissfully cheap right now.

The truth is, a line began to take shape for me even before my son was born that I have been trying very hard not to cross. Everyone has one, to be sure, and it fades in and out of view at various stages of life. At times it is sanity itself. On mine right now sits any number of things, not just toys or products but also attitudes and behaviors.

During pregnancy, the baby swing was on the line. Things like trendy expensive car seats and fancy bassinet strollers were clearly over the line. Later on, adhering strictly to a sleeping schedule, particularly in the evenings when doing so would keep us from maintaining ties with friends, was mostly over the line. But time has a way of shuffling the deck. As I've written about before, the baby swing was taken off the line and brought into our dining room in under 2 weeks.

And so it may be with the kitchen set - if not now, perhaps next Christmas, when there are two little rascals to occupy during dinner preparation rather than just one. At present, my sanity is still more closely aligned with the appearance of an "adult house" than with a pint-sized budding chef. I think he still prefers the grown up pots and pans, anyway.

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