11/07/2012 18:41 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Toddler Tales: The 24-Hour Toy Love Affair

Toddler Tales: The 24-hour toy love affair The object of D's affection (for one evening exactly): Mermy

Diana's second birthday is coming up next month and I have to confess, I'm at a loss as to what to buy her. You see, I thought I knew her tastes - the girly-girlier the better - but in light of a recent incident, I'm having second thoughts.

I was in a toy store browsing for inspiration the other week when I couldn't resist getting Diana a pre-birthday taster present (I know, I'm terrible) - a mermaid bath doll who can swim in the bath tub.

Now, when the present was unveiled at bath time - roughly 8pm - last Monday, it was love at first sight for D (all that was missing was the movie-style musical montage of D twirling around delightedly with her new doll and the two of them skipping through fields of flowers together).

She instantly started repeating the word "mermaid," named the dolly "Mermy" (a massive improvement over her real name, which I believe is Kandy or something equally porn-star esque) and started hugging her pretty sparkly purple fin, kissing her and stroking her red hair, saying "pretty hair, pretty hair."

Bath time was a huge success, especially when D realised that Mermy's fin could flap around (I was too lazy to put the batteries in so I improvised by having Mermy do flips in the water instead), and D was mesmerised, washing Mermy's hair and swirling her around the water, her eyes wide as saucers as she kept repeating "Wow, wow."

D was so enraptured with Mermy that she snuggled her while drinking her pre-bedtime milk, held her through our bedtime stories and even tried to bring her into bed for the night.

Success! Not only did Mermy work for bath time, she had swiftly transitioned into D's obsessions-at-all-times category, rising to the coveted ranks of plastic bead bracelets, makeup brushes and my collection of high heels.

The next morning, D woke up asking for Mermy, and I was thrilled - this toy had staying power. Except when D brought Mermy to breakfast with her, she started taking off Mermy's glitzy Vegas-style purple top and was furious when I told her to keep Mermy clothed.

Then she threw the topless Mermy on the floor aggressively and ignored her for the rest of the morning.

That evening, things got worse. Not realising that D was done with Mermy, I propped the doll into a sitting position at the edge of the bath. D started pointing at Mermy and sobbing, and when I tried to put the doll in the water with her, she chucked her out in a fury.

Without any explanation, and despite my best efforts to get D to bring Mermy around the house or take her to the park, Mermy has been abandoned by the side of the bathtub since Tuesday (although D was looking at her interestedly in the bath last night, so perhaps she will deign to play with her once more at some point in the next few days).


From obsession to devotion to hostility to utter abandonment in 24 hours. That basically sums up the love affair of my toddler with her toys (the ones that actually make into her good graces - some are rejected vastly sooner).


And as if to further drum in the point that buying toys might be fun for D in theory but is fundamentally something I'm only doing for myself at this stage (I admit, the wooden sushi set I bought for D a year ago that she's still too young for but that I look at eagerly every time I stumble upon its hiding spot falls firmly into this category), D's current obsession - which has lasted well over two weeks - is the cardboard box we've left tilted on its side in the living room that she uses as a crawl space/cave to play in.