I was lying in bed one night, just on the verge of sleep, and found myself pondering toys or more specifically the toys Jeremy played with when he was a child. I tried to come up with a toy Jeremy had loved, one of those wow gifts… and failed. This wasn’t very conducive to sleep but I couldn’t stop thinking.
I remembered the car wash I’d bought him because he loved dinky cars and loved water (as long as it wasn’t on his face). I couldn’t remember him playing with it. Neither could I remember him playing with all the car tracks I’d bought him. He enjoyed playing with Lego but, again, it wasn’t an “OMG Lego” moment. The closest I could come up with were his stuffed animals and Build a Bear. Buying Pink Bear was definitely a hit. It confused the heck out of the poor teenager who helped Jeremy build it but the bear was a success.
Had he been wanting more *girls toys* and just didn’t know how to ask? I had no idea. And it was now edging close to midnight and I had to be up in five more hours. I tried to get to sleep.
It was hard buying toys for Jeremy. I remember reading a Christmas post on Raising my Rainbow with a touch of jealousy. To compare, this was Jeremy’s Christmas list when he was six years old:
A unicorn (note, he wanted a real one and not a stuffed animal)
The moon (also the real one)
So… dinky cars and Lego. Dinky cars were always a hit, the shinier and more colourful the better. I’ve got a video of Jeremy playing with his cars. He treated them like they were miniature people with wheels, placing them onto a bigger truck to drive them around while warning them to “be careful” and wait “just a second” until the truck stopped and they could get off. And he loved building with Lego too. The flip side was he already had tonnes of both.
It’s funny watching the video now. The whole room is a boy’s room. Navy blue comforter with cars and planes, Spiderman stuffie, big Bob the Builder stuffie, homemade Spiderman curtains, town and road play mat (perfect for driving cars and one Jeremy never used), table covered with car tracks (which again Jeremy never used). And, in the corner of the shot, you can see Pink Bear’s feet and legs, a musical wind up doll, and his favourite glittery picture frame with a picture of himself inside. Somewhere in one of Jeremy’s huge rubbermaid bins of stuffed animals, he has a stuffed unicorn. I never did get him the moon.
We went for a walk the next evening and I asked Jeremy what his favourite toys were when he was growing up. He stared at me blankly then admitted he didn’t remember. He couldn’t remember any of his toys. My heart sank.
With some prompting, he could come up with a few toys but it was obvious that none of them were his favourites. The one we both remembered wasn’t a toy, it was an online video game called Club Penguin. Jeremy could and did spend hours on this website; he absolutely adored it. He’d earn money by doing stunts on an old mine cart then he’d upgrade his house and his wardrobe. Every time Club Penguin updated their catalogues, he’d drag me to the computer to see everything he planned to buy. Unlike real life, he had extensive lists there. Light up dance floors, fancy ball gowns, toys for his pet puffles. Jeremy’s penguin was usually pink and dressed to the nines. It was a safe place for Jeremy. He could dress and act like a girl and no one would say anything. We lived in a large and rather rough complex so reality was quite different.
I spent that night wondering what I could have done different, what toys I could have bought that would have made an impact. What affordable place we could have moved where Jeremy could feel a bit safer. Then I reminded myself, again, that I can’t change the past and slowly went to sleep.
We went out grocery shopping the next evening and, on the way home I finally asked Jeremy what else I could have done. Would he have been happier if I’d bought him more toys aimed at girls?
“Mom, I liked having Emma’s old toys because they were hers. That made them more special. Besides, I was playing with them with her. I wouldn’t have wanted new toys, it wouldn’t have been the same.”
That made me feel a lot better.
Of course now his 17th birthday is in a month and a half and once again I have no idea what to buy him. Jeremy still stinks at suggesting affordable, easy to attain gifts. He wants a brand new, top of the line computer with a web cam and video editing software… like that’s in my price range. He might as well still be asking for the moon.
At least the cake he wants this year is easy, he’s asking for an ice cream jaffa cake he saw at the British shop. Which definitely beats the TARDIS he originally wanted me to make. And, sigh, scratch that thought. I just went to the shop’s site to find a picture of said ice cream cake and couldn’t find it. Neither could I find it on the actual Jaffa Cake website. Apparently Jeremy’s more organized for his birthday than I am. Wish me luck!