So every autumn/winter is marble season at the local school. A group of at least moderately geeky kids mobilise themselves to play, trade and battle it out to win rare and cool marbles to add to their collections. I whole-heartedly encourage the children to play marbles. They are timeless, inexpensive, and unpretentious. Trading them and earning them is also a kind of elementary study in basic economics.
Mass production of glass marbles dates back to 1884. There is a rich and varied history surrounding the culture and collection of marbles. So Marbles have stood the test of time. It is a legacy the children can share among themselves and as the years go by, perhaps their own children. It pleases me to see/hear about the kids sharing or giving marbles to other kids as they have an absolute surplus as we have acquired quite a collection of marbles both new and old from various sources. We unabashedly use the marbles as bribery and blackmail. We can giveth and we can taketh away their smooth and spherical treasures. And we have listened to them bragging proudly about their most prized large and rare marbles. So guess which marbles are the first to be confiscated when behaviours are less than ideal? Mwwaahhahhahahaaa! I am such a mean momma sometimes.
Of course it isn’t just marbles.
We have been swept up with several childish fads and trends. The things we allow include:
– Star Wars Franchise (Particularly the Pre-Disney Sell Out Phase of the Franchise)
– Comic Books (particularly Batman and Superman and am always happy to see the kids reading them)
– The Harry Potter Franchise
– Bey Blades (this trend has truly passed now though)
– Fraggles (and anything Jim Henson is seriously encouraged!)
– Douglas Adams
– My Little Pony
– Care Bears
– Original Smurfs
– As well as anything that encourages them to read/draw/think and use their imaginations, with a minimum of ongoing capital investment for masses of merchandise from their parents.
We have put our foot down and curbed or denied our children other trendy traps including (but not limited to):
– Disney – We are undeniably hypocritical in this capacity, as we still go to and enjoy Disney theme parks and are booked on a Disney cruise through Europe this September, because they are kid friendly. Steph has several Disney themed dresses, Adam went through a Mickey-Mouse Clubhouse phase. HOWEVER we explain to the older children that the mega-corporation of Disney is not as innocent as it seems and the founder may have had some grave character flaws and scary social views. I’m still researching this, and quite keen to watch Saving Mr. Banks the film, as it apparently touches upon these things. Many of us are familiar with the claims of anti-semitism, misogyny, nazi sympathy etc. I never knew the man, so cannot say what is and isn’t true. I do, however, feel it is important to point out the the kids that he was flawed like everyone else, and his legacy is massive and not always above reproach in its tactics or philosophies.
– Smiggle (we make an exception at Christmas and they get a haul of Smiggle stationary in their stockings, but that is it for the year)
– Bratz dolls
– Monster High dolls
– As well as countless crafty plastic sparkly trends that Steph sees advertised and yearns for.
All of the parents we know and Love have different lists of what they will and will not allow their kids to play with. Some parents enjoy following the kids excitement and penchant for setting trends with various toys, franchises and merchandise ranges. The fact that we all do things differently is what gives us a rich tapestry of children, who then grow up to make up the vast and varied society we all face as adults. So it is what it is and I cannot and will not condemn people for their choices in parenting in this or many other areas. Buy your kids as much or as little as you want, as you please. You do your thing and I’ll share with you how I do mine.
One of my FAVOURITE families (who’s son’s Birthday we just missed because of baby brain – DOH!!) don’t even have a Television and keep a close eye on the entertainment their two terrific children are exposed to. The kids have educational toys only, and don’t seem to fall into the trappings of trends. While I admire their resolve and philosophy, I am a path of least resistance parent, so TV (or more accurately YouTube) is a staple and a digital babysitter in the Hobbit household.
So there’s another brief peek into the happenings of Hobbity existence. I Love this time of year, and the delicious sounds of the knocking and clicking of marbles. We may have to put them away for next year’s marble season as having many marbles floating around the house with James being a one year old working through the oral phase of his development may end badly indeed. I’ll let you know what we do if you’re interested.
Have a great weekend everyone. I am off out to grab some supplies for an impromptu party tonight! The kids have been begging for a party, and their seriously social parents are more than happy to oblige.
Take care, and thanks for reading.