Kris and I rarely bought toys for Raissa. Most of her toys are gifts, be it a birthday gift or actually a commercial freebie. The toys we bought for her to date are never the expensive kinds. It’s usually balls of various kinds, very few knickknacks (like rattles, play dough, etc), and the latest toy Kris bought for her was a Thomas train but even that cost waaay below IDR 100k. I don’t think we ever buy her a toy that costs more than 100k. I have no hatred towards toys though, it just that I learned that Raissa got bored very easy when it comes to toys. She prefers doing physical activities even if it’s just a stroll around the neighborhood. So we decided that no purchase of toys unless it’s something that’s long lasting and educational.
However, it’s a different story when it comes to books. We love books, especially Kris. Our little domain is every inch occupied by books. *ok, I might overstate that :-p * But really if you just come to see our room and the space outside of our room at my parent’s house, you’ll see books everywhere. We also deposit a few boxes of our books at Kris’ parents’ house because we don’t have a space in our room.
For me the habit of buying books and read them began since I was a little. There’s a ritual set by mom that once a month, she took my sisters and me to the bookstore and each of us can pick three books to take home. We enjoyed the trip and it was during those trips to the bookstore we developed our diplomacy and negotiation skills as each one of us would try to convince the others to pick books that each of us would want for ourselves but already exhausted our quota
“De, you gotta pick this book. The story is sooo kewwwlll. Then we can play afterward pretending we’re kids running away from home and live in a small island. Just like the kids in the book.”
“Mba, this book is cooler lhoooh. More pictures. Why don’t YOU pick one of the books from this series? See see???”
“Mama, this book is so thin I can finish reading it in 1 day. Can I buy four books if I choose this and this? And I will not buy that one? Tell sister 1 and sister 2 to get that one though.”
Got the picture?
My mom would also buy children books. Books which we would not pick, like books about the prophets, wayangs, and other classic literatures such as Little Women, Little House series, Hans Christian Andersen series, etc. Those books we love reading them as well but only when they’re already in the house and after we have finished reading our monthly picks.
Lost Treasures Return
My biggest regret about my childhood book collection is that there’s no trace of it. Actually, my mom did make an effort to bundle some of them and kept it neatly. However, my super clean Dad thought that those books were better to be given away as it would be a nice gesture to others and “otherwise they just collect dust“. Who knew then that many of those books are now out-of-prints and some of those books I really want to share them with my kids.
Fast forward to today, to Raissa’s time. Before she was born, Kris and I already starting collecting children’s books. In particular those books I really enjoyed growing up. Unlike me, Kris had very few children’s books growing up and for that reason he’s now obsessed with books. The thing is many of his books are books I would not pick because they’re heavy in content and weight They are so heavy to the point that many of his books can serve as a secret weapon.
Anyway, one of my reasons to start collecting early not only because I want her to grow loving books but also because I read that many books sold in the market today are about princesses and fairies. Not that I won’t allow her reading those, but I definitely don’t want her to read those only. So before she can choose the blingest books in the store, I want her to be brainwashed with books with better story (according to this Mama). The little by little effort, it’s now filling up a wooden chest (btw, I have a special story and attachment to wooden chest. Will share it in another post.). My (and not Raissa’s because I don’t want her to claim them as hers and I don’t want to worry that she would not want to share them with her siblings) children’s book collection is something I truly cherish because it includes those out-of-print books which I hunted down to every second-hand bookstore online and offline. And they are… Marcel Marlier’s illustrated books.