I had been thinking of getting a toy kitchen for TJ for the longest time and finally found the one in the Ikea’s Duktig mini-kitchen.
I don’t like those really kiddish toy kitchens, too plasticky and well, it’s just doesn’t fit with the decor and my taste in design.
The design is comtemporary, clean lines, has a “induction stove” which lights up when the buttons are pressed, the goose-neck faucet is movable, the sink is large enough for TJ to bathe his teddy, the two cupboard doors are easily opened and closed and storage space is great.
By the way, I assembled the entire kitchen 99% on my own in about 1.5h. D arrived home in time to help me to tighten some screws and seeing TJ’s excitement and glee after the kitchen was presented to him made my day.
Why a toy kitchen for TJ? He seems to enjoy playing with them, whether at people’s house or at the indoor playrooms. Perhaps it’s all the interesting things like knobs, buttons, movable doors etc that keep his attention, or maybe it’s cos he sees me or my helper cooking in the kitchen regularly that gives him the inspiration to imitate us.
Or maybe it’s just that I didn’t have such toys growing up, and now I can afford to kinda live my childhood through my kid.
I like to observe TJ at play and his interactions with others, and wonder if I am shaping the correct experiences for TJ as he makes sense of this world.
I thought about some of the unsaid expectations for a boy (or a man for the matter) and wonder if I actually exposed him to “girly” stuff, does it mean the chances of him being gay would be higher? I wouldn’t do such an experiment on my son, but if nature has already given the kid some set character & personality traits, how many environmental and societal experiences will influence and change the kid?
It’s like there are some things we just don’t introduce to boys unless there is a real innate talent. Example, it’s very rare to see parents signing up their sons for ballet classes, but for daughters, it’s like “But, of course”. Or boys end up doing some kind of physical activities or sports (soccer? rugby?) but not so much for girls, except maybe swimming which is a neutral sport. This is pertaining to when the kids are still very young, the preschooler age group and not so much in their teens.
Well, I know I will not buy Barbie dolls or Ken dolls for TJ, although he had shown some interest in them and requested that I took some of these off the shelves at Toys’Rus. However after inspecting these dolls, TJ would want me to put them back. He is interested in the Thomas and Friends collection and buses, but doesn’t quite enjoy kicking his soccer ball. Maybe he would throw it around once in a while, but he is happiest just rolling his trains and buses to and fro. His gal pal, E, 20 months old, on the other hand, loves playing balls.
During TJ’s three-times-a-week playgroup @ YMCA, there would be playtime and my helper says he is happy to play at the toy kitchen or just run round and round the room. I reckon he is hoping for some kid to chase him. Sometimes, a kid will come along and snatch the toy that TJ is holding, and unlike the other kids in his class who would cry and death-grip the toy, TJ would just let the kid snatch his toy and go off elsewhere to find something else to play. I’m glad that TJ isn’t the confrontational sort, and hope that he continues to be like that.
But I’ve seen and heard parents who want to teach their kid to fight back, to get what they want at all costs ‘cos no one will present it on a platter for them, to be at the top of the queue and not lose out. And I definitely don’t want to be like those parents, but does it mean I will put TJ at a disadvantage in this dog eat dog world in the future? I feel meekness is a virtue and it doesn’t mean cowardice or being weak, but the world has a different code by which it lives by and the general populace conforms to it.
When watching his cartoons, TJ doesn’t like watching his cartoon characters getting into trouble or looking sad, and his reaction would be to turn around and not face the screen. And if any of us are seated with him, TJ would quickly climbed onto us and hug us tight, or bury his face into our bodies so that he doesn’t have to see that particular scene. My boy has developed some kinda sensitive side and I like to know that we are still the ones he goes to for comfort and reassurance.
And if his classmates cry, TJ would frown and feel upset too. Not sure if he is sad for them or just upset that their cries are disturbing his concentration. 😉
But on the other hand, he can be quite a boy. My two boys are starting on a “Burping” contest, with the older boy, D, burping after drinking coke and making TJ laugh all the time. And TJ, he will mimick his dad by drinking from his Munchkin bottle and make the burp sound. It is funny to see them doing this repeatedly, and I know more of these boys’ stuff will come along as the years progress… gosh, hopefully no stoopid buttcrack jokes from both of them.
And now with his latest toy, TJ has been doing some “cooking” with his toy food in his skillet. But mainly TJ has been practicing washing his hands under the faucet, bathing his teddy and doggy in the sink, putting Thomas & James in the cupboard and getting excited to see his trains through the glass door, and his favourite, repeatedly opening and closing the cupboard doors. When he first laid his hands on the kitchen, TJ was slamming the doors shut even though we told him not to. And when his fingers were caught on one of his slams, he finally learnt to close the doors gently.
So I guess TJ will not actually play with his mini-kitchen like girls would, but it’s interesting to see how creative he gets with it.