Open Ended Toys for Your Gifted Child

I’ve been through many phases during my tenure as a stay-at-home mom.  Of course, I was once the smug newly-pregnant young woman who was for sure, going to have a natural birth, and it would be seriously no problem.  But, then I had an epidural, because that “intensity” the yoga lady had talked about turned out to be “agonizing pain.”  Of course, it wasn’t just that I didn’t feel like enduring excruciating pain.  I had failed to prepare for my ideal birth with all the chants and nature sounds CDs.

After I had my baby and failed (failed, I tell you!) natural birth, I was the smug breastfeeding mom, feeling super superior about the magic milk that flowed from my breasts and nourished my underweight petite baby.  The smugness only grew when I invested in a $350 set of cloth diapers and argued the merits of using them ON A MESSAGE BOARD.

Then, I went through my, “Okay, I am actually going to have a natural birth – AT HOME!” phase.  And I did.  And Jesus, the smug rose to new and previously unthinkable heights.  I even included the location of Lane’s birth on his birth announcements.  Now, I can’t look at them without cringing.  Ah, well.

It was sometime between the “make your own organic baby food” and “how could that woman leave her baby in daycare all day?” phases that I decided that what my kids really needed, if they were to reach their true genius potentials, were OPEN-ENDED TOYS.  No more literal dolls and trucks.  No more of those ghastly light-up plasticky things that they actually enjoyed hated on some deep, cryptic level that was hidden to adult eyes.  What they needed, you know, was this new BPA and phthalate-free toy called a BILIBO.  It was advertised as the toy for all the smart, spunky, creative kids who would grow up to own a company that would decimate Google AND Apple and they’d say, “It all began one day, when Amazon dropped off a box that contained what looked sort of like a large plastic helmet with holes in it, and no instructions.”

Of course I bought one.

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OF COURSE I DID.

That’s the whole toy, folks.  I guess kids are supposed to use it to represent all the amazing things their little wild imaginations can think up.  The representations my children achieved with the Bilibo were as follows:  a place to store more interesting toys, a stool they used to access the chocolate chips, and an inadvertent biology experiment where, after six months of The Bilibo being abandoned in the yard, there were some rollie polles living under it.  The best lesson and experience that came out of the Bilibo was when, a few years later, I sold it to some young mom on Craigslist.  The kids made more fuss when I tried to throw away a painting I did at one of those “paint and drink” places than they did when I sold the Bilibo.  After the sale, the kids had $15 dollars to spend.  They chose to buy something plasticky with lights and sounds.

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