Little People –A Comfort Toy in Times of COVID-19…

With the pandemic, life, of course, has changed so much for all of us. However, no matter how disconnected we are at the moment because of it, it has also shown just how truly connected we all are, in that nothing someone does in a faraway corner of the world will not affect someone else across so many miles.

Everyone right now is turning to their comfort shows and little habits that bring a sense of security, warmth and joy to their lives. I am, too. I turn to reading as much as I can between caring for wee ones.

And speaking of wee ones… I don’t know if our older son will remember this time (our youngest is definitely too young to remember), but the “comfort toy” of this period that he turns to most –and I do too, truth be told– has been his Little People.

He misses playgroup sessions whenever they need to be cancelled for periods of time due to lockdowns. We all wish we could do something fun with others, or outside the house again. We understand why things are the way they are, but he still longs for the great, big world and all its experiences, so I redirect him to his Little People sets, which have become a cheerier parallel universe to our own. And so this marvellous, tiny land of pretending has become real somehow to us, on a very special level.

The treehouse is a favourite. The idea of being able to play outdoors with other children when warm weather comes again is tinged with excitement and sentiment. Here in this Little People world, it’s OK if you hug and chase each other. The swing is always busy, and laughter fills the air.

Another cherished playset is the schoolhouse. He’s fascinated with the idea of learning so many different things, and loves ringing the school bell. I love that there is a clock with movable hands that I can teach him how to tell time with, and show him how fun it will be to have recess and lunchtimes with his friends — goodies to eat! He’s always appreciative of having a little something delicious in his tummy, so he really enjoys playing out cafeteria scenes! I hope when he starts school next year, he can have healthy, mask-free fun with all the other little school-goers.

Ah, the school bus. We love that cheery, yellow school bus full of giggling youngsters off to start another day of adventure and learning. He’s excited at the prospect of making friends on that magical mode of transportation (he tried to get on a school bus parked at the local school last autumn!), and I’m hoping to be able to see the smiles of all the youngsters who will be his peers for many years.

We have many other well-loved toys… the airplane where we pretend we can still travel harmlessly to exhilarating locations, a helicopter to conduct search-and-rescue missions like his papa once did, a train that looks very much like the SkyTrain and O-Train that mummy used to take to go to work or explore the city.

But best of all –perhaps for me, mostly– is the little house. He names with glee and pride the rooms of each house, and even what he knows papa or mummy, or baby J, or he himself does in each of them. It warms my heart that he associates every room in this play house, and by extension, our house, with fond memories of fun activities, and family time. I’m grateful that neither house is boring for him, that every happening is a thrilling incident tinged with warmth and love.

I must admit… when we play together, and I see the four little people, dog, and cat that are supposed to be us in miniature play-form, inside or around this little house having fun, my heart is very full, and it reminds me that these are the good old days, these wonderful, peculiar, colourful days… and I cherish being able to spend it with the ones who matter most, and thankful I can see these good old days for what they truly are, before I’ve left them.

Isn’t it lovely that where it truly counts… real life and the Little People world are a happy reflection of each other.

P.S. If you’ve watched The Office, you’ll understand that Andy Bernard’s words made a huge impact on me!

Which toy/book/movie/other object has made you all sentimental during this pandemic?

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