Thursday, March 10, 2011

Messing with toys ?

I have been a teacher for more than 12 years now , and I have immense faith in various inspirational and coercing methods employed to motivate kids to learn. I have learnt that you can inspire kids to learn , motivate them , incentivize them to get them to learn ,even teach them per force to learn to an extent but you can not teach a kid to learn if he/she  never feels the need to learn.

And here , I feel my rational was taking me towards the cynicism when I saw this ……………………..

It’s a simple harmless( plastic, no hard pieces , no choking hazards , all colours safe) play thing. A changing mat with necessary paraphernalia .

A play thing should either have a fun value or educational value (Its fun value is completely lost on me).With my limited experience of mothering two kids ,its beyond me to fathom how cleaning the butts of a ,however adorable baby ,can be a sheer fun experience .So I safely conclude that its an ,' simulating- experiential - educational toy' meant for little boys and girls so that they become highly efficient parents when grow up.

Now this could have been very handy if I had got such a thing before my first son was born . Because for good 3-4 days after the baby was born , I was pretending that it was my Mom’s “baby” .My Mom was doing everything for the baby and I was keeping company to her in her struggle to raise a baby after a gap of 25 years .I was disillusioned   only when  one day all my civil rights conscious family left me with the baby , home alone , to cast their votes for some election  .The angelic baby  here took a chance and soiled his nappy . With a "natural performer "in my lap , my first series of thoughts were ,

1 . Should I wait till Mom comes home ?

2. Why did Mom  have to leave me alone ?

3. Why did this fellow have to choose this time to perform ?

And then I had my moment of realization ……….A great  deal of mothering is  about cleaning the mess which children make .
I  ofcourse subsequently learnt to change diapers , clean the mess and all that ………. but My husband, an otherwise super cool dad had “specific learning disability” in this matter . It took him good 8 years( only when the second son was born) to learn to change the diapers of a baby .Until then he owned only the face and upper torso of the first son. He was good at carrying the baby ,feeding him , giggling , tickling , throwing the baby in air ,bathing the baby etc but cleaning time ........"not my BABY!!!!"

I wish his Mother  had  introduced  him to this  super helpful play -thing in his childhood then he would  not  have been a bundle of nerves  at "changing times"of baby .

Anyways ,I take this opportunity to thank and felicitate -

all the marketing guys , product designers, innovators and their likes of Toy industry for coming out
with such a novel “non gender specific ” toy which would help the coming generations to become highly enabled and empowered parents .

In fact I have suddenly developed a lot of respect for these young and enthusiastic “think tanks” who believe that you can teach anything and everything to anyone if you are able to motivate or interest  them. These guys are undeterred by the fact that some learning depends upon the  need  of the learner too .

But  ,  I  do seriously hope that these guys did some kind of market survey and made sure that there was such a demand from parents  for this play thing before launching it in the market , because for some unknown reason , my neighbour has stopped talking to me ever since I gifted it to her 5 years old son on his Birth day last week .