When you have children you think, or so I thought, that they like what you used to like. So when I had a daughter, I eagerly pulled the neighbor’s dollhouse out of the garbage. My then childminder then saw her chance to sell her huge collection of miniature items from China. And so the dollhouse with the pink roof was filled with small porcelain dishes of fried shrimp in garlic sauce, sushi maki and sashimi. In the cupboards were boxes of Hello Kitty cookies. The inhabitants of the house were cute dogs, also from China, in soft pastel colors with big heads and big eyes with long eyelashes.
My daughter actually watched it once. I estimate a quarter of an hour. My own old My Little Ponies with wings also left them untouched in their castle. And the dolls with great-grandmother’s knitted clothes are to this day (my daughter is now 10) in the Ikea storage bins in the attic.
So that was not a success.
Then a son came into our family. Our house filled with roll-fastening plastic cars with sirens including plastic roads that you could click together (for those in the know: Toet Toet with expansion kits). There were Playmobil dolls in police uniforms and bearded crooks. Controlled cars, wired or wired, that could even do a somersault in the air.
Everything has now been given away or sold via Marktplaats.
Which toys did become a hit? My daughter liked to draw. You’re doing her a favor with a sketchbook. She calls it a ‘dummy’, there are seventeen of them in her room. So that, in her words, you can “draw whatever you want”.
Then the son. His uncle gave him a real screw drill for his second birthday. A truly striking gift. Anyway, he then screwed everything apart and not always back together. The following years followed nails, wooden planks, a saw, that sort of thing. And recently (he is now 8) a friend gave him a box of wooden lollipop sticks and half clothespins, a glue gun and glue sticks. Now he has been sticking slats together every day for weeks. An ever higher crooked building forms, with white dots of hard glue everywhere holding the floors, balconies and sharp protrusions against pigeons (toothpicks) together. Post-its serve as wallpaper.
As I type this piece, I ask him if the pastel-colored dogs from China can find shelter in his building. “No mom, this is a work of art.”