When Sir Monkeypants and I were young marrieds, I used to really hate the weekly arrival of The Flyers. It’s a thick packet of flyers from various stores featuring their weekly specials, and I used to never, ever look at it for even a second. For a while I even had a recycling bin on our front porch so that the flyer delivery guy could just drop the packet directly in there and eliminate the middleman, but then he started bringing it with an elastic wrapped around it, so I was forced to pick it up, remove the elastic, and then drop it in the bin myself, which I complained about LOUDLY and AT LENGTH to my poor husband.
(Aside: Do you spell it “flier” or “flyer”? I always have gone with “flyer” but Google seems to think I am in the minority. Is this a Canadian thing?)
Now that I have young children and am, basically, a hermit, I rely heavily on the flyer packet to do all my major shopping. I now LOVE the arrival of the packet, I actually call to complain if it arrives late (or, heaven forbid, not at all). I lovingly go through most of them looking for deals or things we need or, I have to admit, just generally browsing in the same sort of way that my younger self used to go the mall, just for something to do, just to have a look around.
(Younger self to my current self: “You are a sad, old lady.” Current self: “You don’t know the half of it.”)
Anyway, this past week’s packet included a flyer from Toys R Us, which used to be the holy grail of flyers. They’d have great baby stuff on sale, and once my kids grew a bit, they’d have all the great toys there in glorious technicolor. Toys that might become birthday party gifts, or part of the birthday party emergency dammit-I-forgot backup bin. Toys that might become loot bag items, or gifts for my nieces and nephews. Toys that might become dreams in the sparkle of my kids’ eyes, to be filed away on wish lists for Christmas. Things that were fun and multi-coloured and plastic.
And this week, after pouncing on the Toys R Us flyer, I noticed something…we don’t actually need to shop there very often anymore. My two oldest are now at the age when they are not really wanting so many toys. The Captain still loves LEGO, but he doesn’t really play with it, he just collects it, making us highly unmotivated to buy him more. Gal Smiley loves sports equipment and board games but is long past the age of playing with dolls or action figures or dinky cars. If either is invited to a birthday party, we give books or a food gift card or maybe art supplies; things like water tables and sandboxes have been here, and have long since moved on to new homes.
Even Little Miss Sunshine, who will be seven years old next week, has entered the craft kit/Rainbow Loom phase of life, and although she still loves her Barbies and Strawberry Shortcake dolls and Pretty Ponies, it’s clear we don’t need to significantly grow our collections.
We’re also done with the Baby Gap, the Gymboree, and the “toddler” sections at places like The Children’s Place. Heck, I actually looked at grown-man socks for the Captain the other day, because “boy” socks seem to max out at size 4, which he is pushing, but then the man socks jumped to “one size – 9 to 11” which seemed huge (note to self: fill sock gap, make millions). So we didn’t quite make the leap, but we’re on the verge.
All this is to say that it’s funny the things that make you notice how much time is passing, and has passed already. How our whole family has moved out of a phase that used to be all-consuming, and now is becoming something more scattered, something more grown-up without quite being something mature. The time has come to just drop the toy flyer straight into the bin, and I’m both ready for that and not ready for that.
Blink, and you’ll miss it.