Thursday, September 20, 2012

Finding "The One"

When I first learned that Rae was a little different from the rest of the babies her age, I started becoming delusional. I began thinking there was something I could do or buy that would make everything better. I desperately walked up and down every toy aisle in every store, dug through every toy bin at local consignment shops, and google searched till my eyes were red looking for "The One." Before you ask, "The One" is a special, magical, cure all toy that would motivate my little girl to roll over, sit up, army crawl, use her arms/hands, lift her head up, crawl, or walk (I have gone through a similar pattern searching for bottles and sippy cups). Basically, "The One" would cure Rae of all that ailed her.

My daydreams of tiny retro kitchenettes, mini shopping carts, and a pink roll along musical pony were quickly fading into the distant unknown. The siren song of the toy aisle no longer sang sweet promises of fun waiting to be had by Rae. Instead, it only hummed a bitter tune of anxiety and anguish over my disappearing dreams and inability to find "The One."

While repeatedly pushing my cart up and down the same two or three aisles, I talked to myself, played with every toy, or burst into tears for no obvious reason to onlookers. I swear I must have looked like an escapee from a mental institution. On a few occasions, the uncertainty of a particular toy's magical properties required a second opinion and I would call my mother. I would rattle off a detailed description of the toy in question, along with the pros and cons of the purchase, and often ended with quiet sobs (I was in a public place after all). On the other end of the call was my mother's soothing, encouraging voice saying, "You're putting a lot of pressure on a toy. Don't buy it right now. We'll go shop for a toy together this weekend. We'll find something. She'll get there in time. Now leave the toy aisle."

She was right. I was placing a lot of pressure on a single, tiny, toy. It was ludicrous to think that Fisher-Price. Playskool, or LeapFrog held the key to unlocking Rae's physical development. "The One" doesn't exist. It never did and never will. The sooner I emerged from my delusion, the quicker I was able to start pragmatically looking at the toy lined shelves with a better grip on reality. I began evaluating them by what Rae WAS doing instead of what the toy might MAKE her do that she currently was unable to do. As a result, I have found a few l toys that have turned out to be "The One" of the moment.

This ONE:
Made by VTech: This Rhyme and Discover Book was a steal for $3.50 (I think) at a local consignment shop. Rae likes turning the pages and it is easily activated (of course Mommy gets tired of hearing B-I-N-G-O over and over, the sacrifices we make...).

This ONE:
Made by Fisher-Price: The Kaleidoscope Monkey is part of their newest collection. The "tail" is very easy to manipulate (much easier than the See 'N Say)  and Rae just lights up when the monkey says, "Ooh-ooh-ah-ah."

This ONE:
Made by Lauri: It's a peg board set that helps develop fine motor skills. You can find it online, but I found this one at my local Jo-Ann Fabric store and it was cheaper to purchase it there since they offer 40% off coupons (gotta save those pennies, they add up to dollars).

This ONE:
Made by Fisher-Price: This nifty little thing, called an Apptivity Case, safely encases Daddy's i-phone and allows Rae to work on her fine motor skills by playing with her apps. We don't leave the house without it tucked in her diaper bag.

Once I left my delusion behind me, I was able to keep my expectations in check and walk the toy aisles without having a complete mental breakdown.  Besides, they're just toys, not magic cure-all's...right?

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