I don’t even remember how it started, but eons ago I started a rubber duck collection. I piled them in my guest bathroom and would pick one up anytime I saw a neat one on my travels (and there are a hell of a lot of rubber ducks out there). I guess my motivation was kind of like that of Dan Aykroyd’s character in Ghostbusters. The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was something happy from his childhood; it could never possibly destroy them. I figured who could be unhappy surrounded by all those cute smiling ducks?
Once we moved into our house, the ducks made their way into what is now Stella’s bathroom. We had one or two for her bath toy collection (mainly those with the temp sensors in them to ensure you don’t burn your kid), but then came the Baby Babble DVD. It was one of the first things she identified on that video. As the duck toy rolls by, she hollers “Guck!” So now gucks are the shit. She has inherited her mother’s rubber duck collection. There are no fewer than 9 in her tub, plus loads of others floating around the house. She even has a tiny purse that she now used to transport multiple smaller gucks.
I don’t know how long this particular love affair with gucks will last. I hope at least a little while, as it’s pretty damn cute. But the ever-shifting sands of Stella’s toy box holds new surprises every day. Stick of butter was her number one Precious forever. Now stick of butter stays in the bottom of her shopping cart. She was given a teddy bear for Christmas. She couldn’t have cared less. Now it spends much of its time on the couch or coffee table along with Baby, and they share a blanket at night. You just never know.
My final thoughts/observations about all this: I have bent over backwards trying to keep Stella from being a stereotypical girl. I have avoided as much pink as possible and she does not own one clothing item (or toy) that has anything to do with “princess” or “diva.” That being said, there is something to the whole nature (vs. nurture) of some of our gender proclivities. I never taught her to cuddle a baby doll (indeed, she’s only recently received one from Crispi) or how to feed it its tiny bottle. But she does it. And she tucks Baby in with Bear. I got a little sad about that in a way, but was also happy to see her playing “normally” with her toys (after all the talk of autism there for a while). I will admit, however, that it makes me happy to see her banging on the nails with her toy hammer and work bench, or swinging her toy chainsaw around. It’s my job to teach her balance.