Charlie has a toy airplane that he adores. He yells, “Up, up, up in the air!” and zooms around the house with it. Yesterday morning he was playing with it when suddenly he dropped it, ran to the den closet, and emerged with the remains of our Christmas wrapping paper. Then he quickly disappeared into his room. I followed him because it’s never really a good idea for Charlie to play without being supervised (just this morning he tried to climb to the ceiling and we found him perched on the windowsill hanging onto the window lock to keep himself steady). When I got to his room, he’d spread the wrapping paper on the floor and dumped a huge number of his books on top of it. He looked up at me in the doorway and announced he was going to wrap some presents.
Now, in case you’re wondering how he went from flying an airplane to wanting to wrap presents, I do in fact have an explanation. Over the holidays we flew across the country to visit family. It was a long, long trip. We’ve flown with Charlie before and I have learned that in order for him to consent to sit in the airplane seats, he has to be constantly entertained. So, Mark and I stock up on new little toys or books before every flight–nothing extravagant, but things with novelty. Before this past trip though, a friend recommended that I wrap each new toy and book for the flight. Sometimes genius occurs in the most unexpected ways. Charlie was thrilled to get the presents and between unwrapping and playing with the new gifts, our flight across the country was almost dreamy. Ok, that’s not really true since Mark hates to fly and I’m not all that fond of it either. In fact, Charlie is a better flyer than both of us. The point is that wrapping these toys and books was phenomenally effective.
So, Charlie wanted to wrap his books yesterday morning. I grabbed his scissors and the tape and we started wrapping.
And do you know what? This was an amazing activity. He got to practice cutting, he picked books that would fit the pieces of paper he cut, and he learned how to close the paper with tape. He even wrapped a book to give to Mark when he came home (I know, aaaahhhhh). And then, something almost magical happened. He wanted me to read the books with him that he was wrapping. Some of these books he hasn’t looked at in months and months. Some of them he never paid any attention to. It was like Christmas in February.
So I got to thinking, we have TONS of toys around the house that Charlie played with once, twice, or even never before putting aside and forgetting about. These are the toys that fall to the bottom of the toy chest or get pushed to the back of his closet. I’m thinking that if I get these out, wrap them up, and give them to him again, he might just take an interest in them this time around. And that, dear readers, is how you celebrate Christmas in February.