Even through adulthood, I loved playing with toys. Visiting a friend with children, I’d be straight down on the carpet grooming gaudy ponies and transforming Transformers. All this whilst mostly ignoring the children – I didn’t know quite how to approach them. Then when we had our own children, I loved the toys they received as presents – loved choosing them, tidying, sorting, displaying them…playing with them.
But now, four years into parenthood, while I’m still quick to accept the offer of a go on Luna’s Micro Scooter, my toy passion seems to be dwindling. It might, I realise, simply be that there is no novelty factor any more: it’s not possible to walk more than three steps in the house without experiencing that unique foot agony achievable only by standing on a Lego brick.
I think however, it’s something else: I hadn’t quite finished childhood the first time, before I was caught up in the self-conscious whirlwind of teenage angst. While baby Luna was being passed around the relatives downstairs, I was in my parents’ loft dusting off some 1970’s Fisher Price classics and the wooden rocking horse my dad had made for me. Old photos were examined – was Luna like me as a baby? Faintly musty copies of Paddington, Miffy and Topsy and Tim slid on to the bookshelf alongside The Gruffalo . And the children loved me to tell them anecdotes of my own childhood – “tell me a story about when you were four…” And thus I tied up a few loose ends.
But it’s not just the retro toys. Parenthood tends to unearth a few old demons too; just at the point where in order to attempt negotiation with a two-year-old, you need the strongest state of mental health you’ve ever had, an infuriated inner child comes along and throws its own tantrum – and I’d like to see one of those smug TV nannies deal with a tantrum that’s been repressed for almost forty years.
My only hope is that the teenage years prove to be less cathartic…