At the end of this year, my cousin Amelia gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Yay for her and the little one!

My cousin has had a kind of a normal childhood, with the specification that she had to share all her toys with her two brothers, who continually nagged and annoyed her. She actually did not have that many toys as her parents were unskilled workers, making below average incomes. Today however, she is doing pretty well. She and her husband are both college graduates, with good jobs and nice paychecks. Put all together, an obsessive new parent that struggled for years to have a baby and forget his own childhood “traumas”, you will get an irrational adult that purchases useless stuff.

The situation with my cousin is not as isolated as one might think. Just look around at your neighbors, your friends, or regular people on the street or at the supermarket. Most of the girls will drag around a doll they do not care about, while most of the boys will smack around a car toy.

The children of the modern era no longer care for their belongings, because they get them so easily. They do not long for the toys, nor do they appreciate them. Why then do parents continue to buy these items? Well, mostly because they can; and because they didn’t get to have so many toys while they were growing up. The phrase Let my child have and enjoy the things I didn’t have as a child is spreading with an unbelievable rapidity.

However, the result is not a child who plays with the toy, but a child who is overwhelmed by material possessions; takes them for granted and gets a distorted sense of the value of money. I do not even mention the damage so much waste does to the natural environment!

So, to recap, too many toys are bad for the healthy development of the child, his future integration within the society and the stability of the natural environment. Nobody says that the parent should not get their children toys and the stuff they need, but it would be useful to reduce the number and frequency of purchases for things of not immediate necessity. This brings me to the point I’m trying to make relative to babies – babies do not care for stuff. All they need is love and support, not a fancy toy.

Babies don’t even recognize what a toy is. And believe me, I have tried it on my niece. It was all the same to her if I played with a fancy toy, or with a cheap bag. (For people who do not know, young babies cannot play by themselves, so they need the adult to pick up the toy, roll it around, make noises or other stuff to draw the attention of the babies and entertain them). As I was saying, it was all the same to the baby if I showed her an expensive toy, of the many she had, or if I played with a colored and noisy bag. I could even say that the bag was better in getting her attention.

You can virtually use anything to play with your baby. It must however be colorful, as young babies do not distinguish colors. It is also useful if the item can make some noise, of any kind, but it is imperative for it to be safe, such as no sharp edges or no small components. Aside the bag, examples that can be included in the approved category include a pillow, a piece of clothing, a sponge and so on.