My youngest granddaughter just lost her third tooth. She is grinning at everyone to show the gaps in her teeth. As a joke, I asked my daughter if she was going to buy a flipper to cover the gaps. She looked at me blankly. I guess she doesn’t watch “Toddlers & Tiaras.”
My granddaughter was equally excited about the visit from the Tooth Fairy and the gift that was left in exchange for the tooth. It was folding money. The Tooth Fairy has gotten far more generous since she used to visit my house.
My husband was responsible for assisting the Tooth Fairy for my children. The Tooth Fairy always left a silver dollar. After exclaiming over their riches, my children were told to give the silver dollar to their father for safe keeping. What they never realized was that both of them got the same silver dollar over and over again. It was a good thing that they never lost a tooth at the same time.
While the amount of money the Tooth Fairy leaves has increased, the size of the toys my grandchildren play with seems to have decreased (not cost, size).
My sister-in-law, who at the time had no children, once gave my children a set of Lincoln Logs that were eight times bigger than the regular ones. They came in a box the size of a coffin and were plastic (otherwise you couldn’t lift them). Please pardon my math, but I think the box said they would make things 64 times bigger than regular Lincoln Logs. I don’t know if the things made were 64 times bigger, but I know that the resulting masterpieces made from the blocks took up the majority of the space in the room. And I have big rooms. And when my children were not building things with these gigantic plastic logs, they were using them as weapons.
Another Christmas she gave each one of my children a Funnel Tunnel (I think that was the name). It was a rather like a large Slinky covered with plastic. It was large enough for the children to crawl through and about eight-feet-long and bendy. Two of those in your household can create havoc. You had to step over them, and when you moved them, you had to hope that no one was in them. There was no way to fold them up so you had no place to store them.
You notice I said the giver had no children. No mother would buy those toys.
But my grandchildren play with little things. Electronic things. They each have an iPod Touch. (While they are small, the price tag is not.) Apparently, you can text (I can remember when that word was not a verb), play games and take and send pictures.
My daughter has a phone that does those things too. When I visit their house, those things are pinging, dinging, bipping and beeping constantly. It’s enough to drive an older lady crazy.
My grandchildren can be sitting next to each other on the couch, and instead of talking to one another, they text back and forth. To me, that’s crazy and takes far more effort than just talking.
My younger two children got these toys for Christmas (and that’s about all they got). On Christmas night after being put to bed, the youngest one, assisted I am sure by an older cousin or sibling — they were all spending the night together — texted her mother, who was in the next room, asking her mother to bring her a glass of water.
I am not one for making New Year’s resolutions. But I am announcing this one. My mother had a hard and fast rule that you could not read at the dinner table. I am banning all electronic devices from my dinner table, and that goes for grandchildren and children.
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org