Maybe she will trade one for a real house

Paper clips in the doll house

Paper clips in the doll house, originally uploaded by cynthiacloskey.

My niece, being my parents’ first grandchild, is regularly showered with gifts and has a lot of toys.

She has puzzles; toy musical instruments; a doll house with Mommy and Daddy and Baby and little furniture for them to live with; Thomas the Tank Engine; many cars; a farm with animals; Noah’s Ark, stocked with animals two by two; and Dancing Elmo. And that’s barely half of it.

Lately, she has found a new kind of toy, one that absorbs her for hours. The toy is a little pile of about six paper clips. She moves them, one by one, from one place to another, she carries them around in her purse, she puts them in a bowl and dumps it out and puts them in again. She’s getting good at counting up to six, and she can go higher too if she has more clips.

In the photo, you can see one of the paper clips in her doll house. She puts the clips through the window, then goes around the other side of the house and takes them out one by one and drops them on the floor.

For hours.

It’s a little disconcerting, but my mom assures us that my siblings and I each had little obsessions too.

Actually, "had" is a poor verb to use: I often sit quietly, clicking little square keys and moving letters around on a screen. For hours.

(NOTE: The title of the post is a reference to the web phenomenon of One Red Paperclip.)

2 replies on “Maybe she will trade one for a real house”

  1. How funny! I never thought about imaginative play involving paperclips before. (I’m no Macgyver, obviously.) It’s true that kids will play with the cardboard box more than the toy inside! It’s funny and frustrating.

  2. Actually, she’s apparently through with paperclips already — a couple of weeks and she’s ready to move on. She’s at a stage where she counts things a lot, and she stacks things then unstacks them or knocks them over. You can almost see the thought processes evolving.

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