You don’t need a tea set to have a tea party.
The Baby, The Toddler and I are staying at Opa and Oma’s house in Nininand (The Netherlands). There was great excitement this morning at seeing his special toys again – though gaps between visits are long enough that he plays with them differently every time we come. “Blocks!” the Toddler shouts, making a beeline for a trolley with coloured bricks. He builds a tower with all the cylindrical blocks and then another, separate tower with all the rectangular ones.
Then he hands me a block and keeps one for himself. He pretends to munch on it, keeping a gleeful eye on me to make sure I’m joining in. I, too, munch on my block. “Mmmm, kerlucious!” he models for me. It is apparently a delicious brick. Then I am given a flat brick. I ask him whether this is a slice of ham, but he uses his own flat brick to scoop something out of the other one.
“Ah, are we eating yoghurt?” I ask.
He nods. “Yoghurt.” The flat brick: “Pleepel.” [spoon] We eat our pretend yoghurt and it is good.
Then his eyes light up with an even more exciting plan. He runs to get more blocks and sets them up on the sofa next to me. “Opa.” They are for grandpa. He sets up an identical set on the armchair. “Oma.” Those are for grandma. Neither of them are present in the room – they are at work. Then he goes to get Teddy and carefully sits him up.
“Teddy zitten billen. [Teddy sit (on your) bottom] Back soon.”
The Toddler gets Teddy the right bricks and arranges them in front of him. Then he decides more is needed. “Goo Teddy, dlinken.” [Good Teddy, drink] Teddy gets another brick to drink. Slowly the wooden delicacies pile up around Teddy. The bear is clearly very hungry and thirsty.
I sit there watching while sip my cup of tea-block and wonder why we bother buying him expensive toys.