Monday 23 July 2018

Poetry Monday: Toys And Childhood

It's Poetry Monday, and this week's theme is "toys and childhood."

Join Diane, Delores and me while we tackle this topic. I bet you all have something to say about it, too, so feel free to reminisce in the comments, in poetry or prose. Or if you blog about it, leave us your blog address so we can come along and read.


There was only one possible direction for me to take this theme. Dolls.

Many of my childhood Christmases found a doll from Santa under the tree. Apparently Santa knew I liked dolls, so it was a slam dunk that I was going to be happy with that kind of present.

I had soft dolls with music boxes in them.  I had several baby dolls -- one drink-and-wet, one with a stuffed cloth body that looked almost real, and one tiny baby with three outfits and her own cradle, high chair, and rocking horse. I had matching dolls in fancy dresses who were as tall as I was; my father and my grandfather each bought one at the same little store one year, not knowing that the other had done so. I can see them as clear as day -- one blonde in a red dress, one brunette in an orange dress. We hung them on the wall as decorations to avoid them meeting the same fate as most of my other dolls; i.e., a severe hair cut that is probably the karmic reason I can't get a decent cut at this point in my life.

As I got older I received a nine inch fashion doll with ten outfits including a wedding gown, and later an eleven and a half inch fashion doll -- not a Barbie, probably a knock-off doll, but she was ball-jointed and poseable before Barbie ever even thought of bending her arms or legs. These dolls either uncovered, or ignited, a life-long interest in clothing (not fashion, just clothing) that baffles me entirely because I can't seem to dress myself properly in spite of all the training I had in childhood.

Today's poem is about my baby doll who looked almost real, with her soft body, blonde hair, thumb that could be put in her mouth, and delicate eyelashes. I named her May, diapered her and dressed her, wrapped her in a blanket, and cuddled her.

Is it any surprise that I feel my most important role in life was as a mother? I was thrilled with each of my two real life children, and loved being a stay at home mother.



You were the softest, cuddliest baby doll
You taught me how to care for the helpless
And how to hold an infant snugly in one arm
Thank you for the practice
Thank you for the feelings you created in me
How can cloth and vinyl
Seem so real?

I saw my future children
In your sweet face

And since I don't have a picture of my baby doll, here's another baby and its mama instead:

Photo: Pixabay

So, how about you? Did you have a toy that stands out over all others in your memory? Maybe one that hinted at your interests or skills as a grown-up? Maybe just one that you loved for no apparent reason? I'd love to hear about it.

Wishing you a good week, my friends.

Update:  Next week's theme is "houses that we've loved" . . .



Elephant's Child said...

This is heart-melting.
When I was quite small my parents took me to buy a stuffed toy. My father liked one, and my mother another. So they lined all the toys up and let me choose. I chose a third toy. They mixed up the toys and let me choose again. Same result.
So pink puppy came home with us. He and I couldn't be separated. Pink Puppy was apparently VERY pink until the nurses sterilised him after I threw up on him during a hospital stay. He became a very soft cream. And I still have him.

Joan (Devon) said...

My! How many dolls did you have altogether? I remember having one as I wasn't really a dolly person. I had too much fun playing outside with my two brothers and friends, playing cowboys and Indians, Robin Hood, Knights of the Round Table etc and we would wander for miles on our own down to the Leeds/Liverpool canal playing in the woods there with our fantasy games. Good fun, great childhood. It's a shame that times have changed for children nowadays.

My contribution this week is Amber and Bunny.

Bunny is a picture,
Bunny is a joy.
Bunny is a rabbit,
Amber's best loved toy.

Bunny isn't worried,
Bunny doesn't mind,
That Amber's daytime toys now
Are not of Bunny's kind.

Superheroes have taken over,
As Amber's favourite toys.
Playing loud, playing rough,
Playing with the boys.

But when bedtime comes
And heroes put away.
Amber will find Bunny,
On top of her duvet.

Bunny's waited patiently,
Free of any fears.
She knows she'll get a cuddle
And a twiddle of her ears.

Bunny was given to Amber the day she was born by her other Grandma and they were inseperable for about five years until Amber discovered Superheroes, but she still has Bunny who is always waiting patiently on her bed for Amber.

River said...

A toy that stands out? A "walkie-talkie" doll, dressed in a pale blue "wedding dress", and a toy pram that I was supposed to wheel her around in. Which just didn't make sense to me, wouldn't a baby doll have been a better match for the pram? And I didn't even like dolls. A clue for my parents might have been me always borrowing the building blocks from the other two and using them to build houses with large flat books as ceiling/floor arrangements so I could build up a second story. Perhaps some trowels and a mini cement mixture would have seen me happy.
I love your poem.

kylie said...

My mother tells me with disgust that I disrobed my dolls and never played with them again! I loved to read and books are really the only thing I remember from my primary school years. Enid Blyton was a favourite

kylie said...

by the way, the kitten is a-dor-able!!!

Terry said...

The only toy I remember having was a German soldier. I loved it and dressed him up even though he was a baddie.

Marie Smith said...

You brought back memories of a nun doll I had. Nothing cuddly with that one but I loved her just the same.

Your baby doll sounds lovely! Great memories!

only slightly confused said...

I did indeed indeed...I had a boy doll named size...others as well but they don't stand out in my mind all that much. Most of my toys were boys toys like trucks and tanks and farm animals and guns. (at least, in those days they were classified as 'boys toys' that would be politically incorrect)

LL Cool Joe said...

I had a pile of mini light bulbs, wires and batteries I was attached to, does that count? :D

jenny_o said...

Ahhh ... reminds me of the Velveteen Rabbit story . . . Pink Puppy is real.

jenny_o said...

Aww ... lovely! And so true for many children. Bedtime brings out the need for the old favourites.

I had all the dolls mentioned, plus one I've just remembered, a four-inch fashion doll! How could I forget her? lol

jenny_o said...

Thanks, River. Yep, parents can be thick at times :D

jenny_o said...

It's crazy but books never entered my mind when thinking of toys. It's like they're a whole different category :) It's humourous that you didn't like dolls considering your role now as doula!

jenny_o said...

A Pixabay photo, which I forgot to credit :)

Aren't all babies adorable?

jenny_o said...

Now that's interesting!!

jenny_o said...

A nun doll! I've never seen one of those!

It was nice to go back through these memories, Marie :)

jenny_o said...

It's good for kids to have lots of things to choose from. There's more choice for many kids today but some are still put into pigeonholes like our generation tended to be.

jenny_o said...

LOL - there must be a blog post in that, Joey! I know *I* would like to hear it anyway :)

Yorkshire Pudding said...


When I was a little boy
I didn’t have a favourite toy
Preferring to read books instead
Lying in my little bed
Decoding millions of written words
That flew from the page like flocks of birds.

jono said...

Ellypant was my favorite. I loved him until he disintegrated which was probably when I was five. No others, if there were any, stood out.

jenny_o said...

Good readers start young :)

Thanks for your contribution, YP!

jenny_o said...

Was Ellypant an ellyphant, by any chance? :)

Martha said...

What a great post! I not only enjoyed the poem but I also loved the story you shared about your dolls. Such sweet memories.

My fondest memory is of my cherished "Dawn" doll my parents surprised me with one Christmas morning when I was about five or six. She was far from a Barbie but just as beautiful with her silky hair.

She was not only a favourite toy but she developed into a favourite childhood memory. Because in order to buy her for me, my working class parents had to scrimp and save over a long period of time. That makes it all that much more special.

jenny_o said...

Thank you, Martha. I remember Dawn dolls although I never had one. I like how your memory of her is multi-layered (and insightful)!

Diane Henders said...

Aw, the kitty-baby and mom are adorable! I had a rueful chuckle over your baby dolls - I was given one or two as a child, and even then it was clear that I had all the maternal instincts of a sea turtle: Tuck 'em up safe and warm, and walk away. I made each of my baby dolls a nice soft cradle, stowed them carefully in the closet, and never looked at them again. And I could never see the point of the "Wettums" doll, where you squeezed a bottle of water into its mouth and the water promptly ran out its bottom into its diaper. Why would I pour in liquid that I didn't want to clean up? It's probably lucky I never had children, but I have immense respect for all good moms. You're a hero!

jenny_o said...

That's kind of you, but we have to remember that there can be a great gap between wanting to be a good mom and actually being one :)

Your sea turtle comment made me smile!