I first became a mum at 17. Back in those days, I was fiery, idealistic and willing to fight till death for my ideals. When doting grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends bought plastic toys for our kids, I would politely return them and caused a lot of bad feelings.
At 47, I would probably do things differently these days.
However, I still feel the same aversion towards plastic toys from the numerous examples of turtles and other sea creatures being poisoned to painful deaths by discarded plastic. I am also concerned about the environmental pollution that this plastic industry and its resultant mountain of plastic waste that chokes our planet.
I was concerned about the health aspects, too. Children put toys in their mouths, don't they? We had a dog that suffered cancerous growth all over his body, because he ate plastic bags.
I also didn't like the feel of plastics, and toys with flashing lights and electronic sounds were the ultimate nightmare for me.
But enforcing this tough policy has resulted in surprisingly pleasant outcomes. The main one is that my children learned to engage themselves actively, either with pen and paper, make-belief dolls from corn stalks, paper costumes, pet circus and a whole myriad of creative past times that became the hallmark of their materially poor but spiritually rich childhood. They never asked for Disney programmes or any TV programmes or merchandise associated with the 'in' movie or iPads. When we saved up and took our young children to Disneyland Paris, my youngest son Jack screamed in terror when Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck approached him. Because in his world, mice and ducks are not made of plastic and neither do they wear shoes.
My children learned to love being outdoors too, because the garden was a whole lot more interestin