We've spent hundreds, if not thousands of pounds on expensive toys and gear to entertain our little boy, Sonny, in the nine months since he was born. But what does he love most? His crappy cardboard box, of course.
The box arrived in our house a couple of weeks ago, containing an expensive travel cot that doubles up as an indoor play pen and outdoor tent. It's basically one of the coolest bits of baby kit I've ever seen, but what did Sonny do? He crawled straight past his latest piece of flashy new entertainment and immediately fell in love with a hollow oblong of cardboard instead.
The box now appears to have overtaken our harassed Jack Russell Terrier as Sonny's favourite thing in the world. He chews it, punches it, cuddles it, climbs on it, wriggles under it, sits in it, and bounces it around the house. The only thing he hasn't done so far is sleep in it, but then that's probably because he never goes to sleep!
If he's making a bit of a racket and needs calming down, I plonk him in the box. If he's looking a bit bored and in need of stimulation, I place it in front of him and watch him pummel it with delight. If he's being a bit cheeky, I close the flaps over his head so he's cocooned inside, then whip them open a few seconds later to see his grinning face staring manically back at me.
Everyone told me this would happen, of course. "Don't buy anything expensive for a baby," they warned. "He'll be just as happy chewing the wrapping paper it comes in." I ignored the advice, just like I always do, but they were obviously right.
I lovingly, and painstakingly, decorated and constructed a playroom for Sonny over Christmas, full of ball pools, crawling tunnels, basketball hoops and giant cuddly toys; but what does he love most in there? The radiator valves. In the living room, despite the extensive library of children's books we've stockpiled, all he cares about are the TV remotes. In his bedroom, he couldn't care less about his toy box overflowing with cars and Lego bricks, he just likes opening and closing the door. In the bath, he ignores his toy boats and rubber ducks, and instead takes great delight in sucking the tap.
He's basically a plonker! Or are we just mugs for ignoring advice and buying all the stuff people told us not to? Of course we won't stop spoiling Sonny because we love the little monster and want to give him all the best gear we can, but I doubt we'll ever be able to top this bloody cardboard box.
This article was originally published at www.theoutdoordad.co.uk