It must be hard being a toy. Having plastic limbs is no walk in the park, plus being created solely for the playing pleasure of another has to be an ego buster. To top it all, the emotional fallout, indeed the roller coaster of being absolutely adored one day only to be resolutely ignored the next must be enough to warrant a hefty bill at Dr. Oz’s, right?
The typical shelf life for a new toy in our house is about a week. The percentage of plastic in a toy is usually inversely proportional to its shelf life, the same way as more pieces equal less time for them to be played with as a unit. Currently, Lego is the only exception to this plastic and pieces rule.
I will elucidate with an example.
A few weeks ago we were at Target. (I could say The End right now and some of you with overindulged little kids will likely correctly surmise the rest. But for the others, I will explain.) My kids saw a life-sized Superman stuffed toy. They bonded immediately and puppy eyes ensued. The thing wasn’t cheap (in price, not in quality) so I dilly-dallied. I offered alternatives, distractions, tried saying a vehement no. But kids have a super sense about parental dithering and, truth be told, I wasn’t totally averse to the damn thing. I know how much my kids obsess over superheroes and they didn’t really have a superhero stuffie in their toy repertoire. We bought it, amidst whoops of “you’re the best mom ever” and “we promise to share him!”.
Now comes the shelf life part.
Superman gets carried everywhere. Hour-long games are created around him. There is no bickering over whose turn it is to hold him since the games are creative enough for everyone to have roles. He eats with them, watches TV with them, sleeps in their bed.
Superman is the first thing to be greeted in the morning. More independent play all morning. Slight disturbance about who gets to cuddle with him at naptime but since V is too old to nap, situation is easily diffused. Superman is shown off to neighbour friends.
There is no Superman play until late afternoon. Then everyone realizes he exists at the same time and sharing issues begin.
Interest is on a definite wane. However, bedtime cuddling quotient is still high and staggered bedtimes make sharing a non-issue.
Sporadic memory of Superman during daytime hours and no nighttime cuddling required any more.
Another $20 lost in the abyss of playroom chaos.
Super special Superman no more.