The other day my cousin and her 12-month-old baby came to visit. I pulled out an array of old baby toys I had lying at the bottom of the toy box but I really shouldn’t have bothered.
You know what she ended up playing with? The tissue box, squealing with delight as she pulled the sheets of white out of the box and we stuffed them back in for her.
It made me think back to the things my boys loved as babies more than their toys. Here are nine of them.
1. Looking at themselves in the mirror
I don’t know if it’s the thrill of a potential ‘playmate’ in the room or just the fun of seeing a little person move and giggle before their very eyes, but my boys used to love interacting with their reflection in the mirror. So much so that ‘mirror’ boy would often receive sloppy kisses. Awww.
2. My (unused!) sanitary pads
Whenever my baby rummaged through the shopping bags on the floor when we got back from the supermarket, I knew I would have to gift him my packet of pads to play with for the next 20 minutes while I put everything else away. I even got into the habit of buying the bright fun colourful ones over the white generic brand ones as I knew this would make his day.
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3. The light switch
We had to move our toddler’s cot away from the light switch as he was flicking it on and off all the time. He loved them so much that he would whinge and whine until I hoiked him up on my hip for a light-flicking session. Who needs toys?!
4. The toilet brush
Icky, ick, ick. I caught my crawling son (on more than one occasion) playing with the disgusting toilet brush. The day I found him mouthing it was the day I locked it away in the vanity cupboard.
5. My necklace
I was one of those mums who walked around with a teething necklace. My baby loved playing with whatever was hanging around my neck so much, that I ended up making this teething friendly and let him go to town gnawing it with his drooly mouth – I know, so stylish of me.
6. The pebbles in the pot plant
Before we had kids we used to have indoor plants. One by one the plants got moved outside after their soil ended up all over the carpet. One pot plant, in particular, was filled with pebbles and was like a red rag to my inquisitive baby who would pile them up everywhere. As soon as I realised it was also a choking hazard though, those pebbles and their plant were banished from the house.
7. The washing machine
If I ever needed to buy myself some quiet time, I would do a load of washing. For the 40 minutes it took for my machine to run a quick wash, my baby would be mesmerised, planting his face in the window and watching the clothes spin this way and that. The below picture sums up how much he loved it!
8. The recycling
Bottles, caps, containers! To my babies, the plastic recycling box was a goldmine of fun. So much so that emptying it drew tears and the favourite items had to be retrieved for another day before being secretly tossed.
9. The washing baskets
To my babies, the clothes baskets were buses for daddy to push them around in or cars for their teddy bears. The washing basket also made a comfy bed, when a little someone curled up in it with his blankie and fell asleep. My heart!