I loved to read, and reread, Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch* when I was younger, and I delighted in watching the film* version too. Even as an adult I find myself humming along to one of the main tracks, Growing Up Isn’t Easy (you can watch it on You Tube here**).
I was reminded of this tune again at the weekend. If you follow me on social media you may have seen that we’re having a super-sized spring clean and declutter. We passed on several toys, games, and items of clothing when we moved house last summer, but all too quickly we seem to be full to bursting again.
My initial focus was on our bedrooms. Myself and my husband had oodles of clothes which are now destined for new homes via charity shops, and my sons had a bounty of toys that they no longer play with. Most of these were only glanced at to begin with, as firm favourites are very definitely rooted in their rooms still, but there is one exception. Toy washing machines. As a baby, toddler and then pre-schooler, Chief loved anything that spun. We used to set jar lids off spinning on end across our wooden floor for him, ball spinners and spinning tops adorned our toy shelves too. Then, when he was around 13 months old, we visited a close friend and he spotted her washing machine. A new found interest (perhaps even love) was born. We bought him one toy washing machine to begin with, and as he grew so did his collection. They were all precious to him, and he would tell our guests with great enthusiasm about their different spin speeds and washing cycles. I fondly recall each and every one that we bought, whether brand new or second hand via an online selling site, car boot sale or charity shop. They were all different. So when we came to clear his room at the weekend, it was with a certain amount of sadness that I noticed amongst the toys destined for the charity shops were his beloved washing machines.
I guess as a parent you always have those thoughts that at one stage or another things will stop. I can’t imagine that my boys will want to hold my hand to cross the road when they’re 16, and I doubt that they will be sharing a bath in their teenage years either. I always hope, though, that these stages are years away. That I won’t have to face them just yet. That the bedtime snuggles and playtime where myself and my husband are fully embroiled in the fun are here to stay for a while. Seeing the washing machines not chosen amongst the toys to keep made me realise though that time is so precious.
Chief’s interests still largely lie with how things work, but are now more focussed on space, gravity, gases and magnetic forces than the sheer delight of mechanical rotation. So it is with a great deal of warmth that I am passing the washing machines on, hoping that they will bring as much joy to their next little person as they did to mine. And it is with a certain amount of trepidation but also wonder and pride that I watch my son shed his very young years and move well and truly into boyhood.
What do you miss about years gone by? Or perhaps there is a stage with your children or yourself that you are quietly avoiding thinking about? Let me know in the comments below or by email (contact details to the right).
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**Please see my disclosure for notes about external websites.