Years ago we bought our now nine year old a huge wooden trainset on a trainable. Like most toys he rarely played with it. The cat has a bit of a wood fetish and started chewing the drawers and legs of the table as it gathered dust. Occasionally his younger sister would play with it which would momentarily trigger his interest with it but if you’ve ever had one of these wooden trainesets you’ll know they come apart. All the time. It felt like every five minutes we were being hollered at to fix it, again. 90% of the time it laid unplayed with and became a dumping ground so we packed it away.
The nine year old doesn’t do toys. He never has. He simply lacks whatever it is that is involved in playing. The seven year old can make games up out of pure ether. Even scraps of paper and hair bands become a game. She can take or leave actual toys though. The three year old however, will play with everything. Everything. Just about every single one of his million toys gets played with. He does full on imaginative games that he brings to life and fully immerses himself within. He saw the trainset and it was love.
By now it’s battered and lack lustre. It woud take me twenty minutes to set up each time and most of the floor space. Inevitably it would come apart mid play much to his heartbreak and utter frustration. We were getting mightily pissed off at constantly having to rebuild it and then pack it away. It got to the point where it was just too much of a ball ache to do. Yet he asked nearly every day to play with it. It was never far from his mind. He’d ask to go to the shoe shop to play because they have one there. He’d ask to go to my parents near toyless house purely because they have a wooden figure of eight train set.
So I came up with a plan. I’d sell the old track and use the money to buy a smaller one.
The new one would have to have a table so we didn’t have to constantly pack it away and remake it again yet it would have to be compact enough to be
practical and likewise the track had to be big enough to be interesting but not so big that it would take forever to piss around repairing it every time it inevitably comes apart.
So I sold the old. I only sold it to replace it. We’d never be able to afford a new one otherwise. Money aside it was essentially a swap for all intent purposes. I promised him I’d get him a trainset he could play with as he looked devastated as he watched me parcel up the old track.
Hubz didn’t quite understand the situation that the money didn’t exist. It never did and never will. As we’re skint he wanted to use the money and replace it another time failing to understand we would never have the money to replace it. That was the point of selling to buy.
So yes, three weeks before his birthday the three year old has an epic new toy. I know we could have saved it and given it to him on his birthday but I promised him I would replace the old. Promised. I took away something he really wanted under the proviso I’d replace it. So I did.
Granted I nearly burned the bastard thing trying to assemble the track.
It’s true I’m seriously contemplating hot gluing the fucking track to the table.
But you know what? He LOVES it. It’s the first and last thing he’s played with everyday since he got it. His face lights up when he sees it.
I regret nothing.
He has a habit of hiding whenever you leave the room……