Remember when, as kids, we had one or two special toys? Beloved creatures that we treasured even as stitching frayed and stains emerged. Trains whose wheels fell off and were glued on time and again, dolls houses that your Dad built or that funny-looking ride-on dog, so worn his back went bald? (OK, maybe that was just me).
I can remember having so many adventures with my Teddy Lara, who came into my life on a Christmas day I’ll never forget – she was the best present I ever received as a child.  What could be better than a big cuddly teddy bear in a funky corduroy dress and hat? It actually took me weeks to come up with the perfect name. She came on school camps with me, was my teddy of choice to cuddle at night for an embarrassing amount of years and now hangs out in our toy basket at home, a good 30 years later. But here she competes with at least 20 other teddies so just doesn’t get the love she did back when she was an only child.
These days, we have so many toys coming into our homes we’re at the point of throwing them away. With things available so cheaply, we’re inundated with plastic bits and pieces that take no special place in the hearts of our children and it saddens me to think they will never know that bond we used to have with some of our special toys. My father, now in his 70’s had a wooden soldier and soft bear, complete with overalls and scarf that he has managed to preserve through the decades.  My sister still has her “Donkey”, the original Eeyore, before Disney got hold of the widely cherished A.A. Milne characters.
But I don’t see my children having those wonderful experiences I had, of entering that world where your special teddy is your best friend, they become so real. I often find myself cursing the junk that seems to breed in ever-increasing piles in corners and under beds, even when I’m sometimes guilty of buying it myself! They play with things once then they’re forgotten as soon as the next toy from a party bag, or well-meaning neighbour comes into the house.
I would much rather forego all the mass-produced toys that are as cheap in price as they are in quality and give my children a worthy, unique toy, that will last like mine and my father’s have. That isn’t made of toxic plastic produced by small children assembling parts as fast as they can in a far-off country.
This weekend I’m going to enlist the kids in a toy-cleansing exercise! It may not be pretty at first but I want them to really think about which toys are truly important to them and which can give another child, who may not be as lucky (or unlucky) as our children to have so many toys, that feeling of connection with one, special toy.
Did you have a special toy from your childhood? Has your child got one very special toy they can’t part with?