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.

16 thoughts on “Flyers

  1. My son delivers those flyers along with the EMC newspaper (yes, it’s “flyers” IMHO) – we used to hate getting them, and were on the “do not deliver” list, then he started delivering, and he gets paid by the house, so we’re back on the list! Unfortunately, that means my husband can now browse the AudioShop flyer again …

  2. I can’t remember the last time I was in a Toys R Us. Now gift time involves one or two much smaller and much more expensive packages than when there were many colourful plastic toys all wrapped up. It’s a whole new phase.

    Oh, ‘colourful’ is underlined as a spelling error as I type this. That’s a Canadian thing too.

  3. Wahhhhh. I know. I knowwwww. I think that’s why I have an obsession to DO ALL THE FUN THINGS THIS SUMMER because who knows? My kids also like to collect Lego but then they don’t really do much with it which…you know what? We just spent $100 on that bloody set YOU BETTER ENJOY IT MISTER.

    I don’t get the flyers anymore. But when the boys were little I used to and I used to read the Neighbours insert as well that had some fluffy pieces by local journalists. One in particular I loved to read because she made me feel better about myself – she was the mother of twins and would talk about how hard it was to get two littles to skating, swimming, etc., and I could totally relate. Most of my friends had bigger gaps between their kids. ANYWAY one day I met that woman in person and it turns out she’s awesome and has also written books. Those flyers made a difference in my life back then!

  4. CapnPlanet

    Really nice post, Lynn. The asides gave me a good chuckle too (if you decide not to become a sock entrepreneur, can I use your idea?).

    Re: flyer vs flier – I think if you check your Google results closely you’ll see that it’s pretty clear they are two different words with different meanings – a flier is something (and less recently someone) that flies; a flyer is a sheet of paper meant to distribute information.

    1. Mystery solved! Both Word and Firefox kept trying to suggest “flier” as a spelling correction. I guess their developers also have recycling boxes on their front porch and refuse to support the spread of the word “flyer” for fear of getting more of them :).

      You can toooootally use my sock idea. Sign me up for about 20 pairs of size 6.

  5. mel

    I’m the same way – I used to just dump the flyers in the black box, but love getting them now. And I have a sock suggestion for you. My 10-year-old son has enormous feet and has outgrown most kid socks. Then I clued in that his feet are pretty much the same size as mine, so I can buy him women’s plain sports socks when there’s nothing else in his size (shhh, don’t tell him).

  6. Flyer – for sure. And I had a similar realization while shopping in our local Loblaws a few weeks back. When the kids were babies, hubby mentioned how there was this whole “baby” section of the grocery store that we never paid attention to before becoming parents. Then, with babies, the diapers, baby wash, baby food, formula, baby crackers, and so on were a vital part of our lives. Recently, I realized that somehow, I was never wandering down those aisles again – it is once more an invisible part of the store. Though I have to say, I don’t mind it at all – I’m really enjoying my kids getting older and more independent. They’re both away this week at overnight camps, and I’m not missing them at all. Of course, it’s a short period of time and I know they’re having a great time away, but I’m thrilled to see them getting taller, having life experiences, learning about things – and I don’t miss diapers one little bit! Nor do I miss Toys R Us either! 🙂

    1. Oh my heavens, YES, the baby aisle at the Superstore. Someone posted to Facebook the other day asking if anyone knew where diapers were on sale, and I remembered how all-consuming the Search For Sale Diapers used to be for me, and now I haven’t looked twice at that aisle in years. Sunrise, sunset, and all that (although diapers is one thing I’m more than happy to be seeing in the rear view mirror).

  7. I can relate to every single thing you blogged about here, Lynn… especially the flyers and the socks. I love me a flyer, always have always will. no shame. as for socks.. same problem and was going to suggest a solution but one of your brilliant readers beat me to it.. women’s socks for 10-12 yr old boys fill the “gap in the market”.

  8. MrsCarlSagan

    T. turned 8 last week and we removed his booster seat from the car. It was a very odd feeling to realize that after 11 years, this was the last of the baby/toddler equipment we had. Sheesh. Soon he’ll be riding in the front passenger seat, and before we know it he’ll be asking for the keys. I can’t even think about that……

  9. I was just thinking that very same thing myself last week abiut Toys R Us. DD has a birthday party tomorrow and friends want to know what to get her. She said Monster High Doll (cringe! She likes the idea but it gets added to the clutter pile. ).
    The flyers I like are more about food, Ikea and hardware stores. Oh the thrilling life I lead!

Comments are closed.