Thursday, 17 February 2011

Running Before She Can Walk By Kate

Garish plastic toys that bleep, parp, bark, twitter, sing songs, challenge you to card games and demand a cup of tea while lighting up like a demented fruit machine, are every parent's nightmare. There's nothing so guaranteed to set your teeth on edge and start a migraine than the mechanical voice in one of these toys piping up for the hundredth time that day and shrilly inviting anyone within earshot to play, before launching into some trite nursery rhyme with relentless mechanical cheer.

As it happens, Rosie is even more dubious about such toys than we are. She tends to regard their unnerving noises and flashing lights with deep suspicion and will give them a wide berth if set down anywhere near her with the power on.

So rather pleasingly for us terribly-middle-class-don't-you-know parents, she's far more inclined to enjoy simpler more "traditional" toys like stacking cups and cube nests or soft versions of skittles and hoopla.

In fact, our Christmas present to her wasn't a shop-bought toy at all. It was a collection of odds and ends we found around the house, including jar lids, plastic tubs, tins, pegs and spoons. She plays with them all the time and endlessly discovers new ways of clashing them together, putting them inside each other or rolling and spinning them on the floor. This type of idea has a fancy name: it is called heuristic play and is a cracking scheme if you're a bit of a cheapskate.

The latest classic toy to get the Rosie seal of approval is the push-along truck she got for her birthday. Now she's getting more confident at standing up, the ability to not only walk but jog up and down our corridor is irresistible and she's very proud of herself indeed. So much so, she keeps stopping and giving herself a round of applause, then looking expectantly at us in the hope we'll follow suit. Which we dutifully do, of course.

Here she is in action.

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