Real Men Cook in the Buff

I don't generally buy Cruz toys. I am not a huge fan of store bought toys. I much prefer hand-me-downs or second hand finds. I try to foster creative play versus buying toys that "play for him" and require no imagination or exploration. I particularly love hand me downs because I always feel like you can sense the hours of love and play that has gone into them from their previous owner. Yesterday, we got the most loved and appreciated hand me down of Cruz's whole life! I cannot even begin to explain how excited he was!

This was from his wonderful cousins who always shower him with loves. I have written about them before here.

Santa brought them this handmade kitchen a few years ago. It's absolutely amazing. I'll have to take better pictures when I get my camera back (these are all from my phone). You can see in the picture above that it has shelves, a sink and moving faucet, wooden dials, an oven with a removable oven rack, and a little pantry. It also has hand carved wooden stove burners, just like a real stove. Santa must have worked tirelessly on this because its beautiful. 
As most know, its best to cook nakee.

They also brought all the pots, pans, cooking utensils, wooden knife and fruits/veggies, tea kettle, bowls, cups. I could go on and on. Cruz was beside himself.

Cruz loves his cousins so much. I so wish I had gotten a picture of them playing together. He was so intrigued with them that I was actually able to hold an adult conversation without him crawling up my leg or fussing for my attention. They are the sweetest big cousins a boy could ask for. Not only do they give him awesome things to play with, but, more importantly, they take time to play and interact with him. They don't get bored and ditch him like most 8 & 12 (almost 13) year olds would. They stick right by him, talk to him, hug him, teach him to play with things that are new to him. They let him crawl around and they follow, letting him lead the way. It's a kind of interaction that he has very rarely, if ever gotten.

He is constantly with adults. And as all babies know, grownups are not the best at playing. They always pick you up, kiss you, hug you, talk to you in goofy voices, take away things that they "don't think are a good idea." They always try to instruct you to play with things that they think you should like. And when they get bored of sitting on the floor after, like, 2 minutes, they pick you up and carry you around while they do all their boring chores.

But not his cousins. They didn't bore like an adult would. They allowed him to take the time to pick a toy, explore it, enjoy it and then move on. And as I watched them play, I noticed how much more insightful they were then an adult would be. They could read his cues as well as I could.
When your dealing with someone else's baby, it can be hard to read their facial expressions and moods unless you know them well. But I was taken aback by how well his cousins were able to pick up on cues that have taken me 9 months to distinguish. When he fussed for a new distraction, they were on top of it. When he wanted to be picked up or moved they figured it out quickly. Even when he decided it was time for him to come to his mama, they didn't miss a beat. It was beautiful to watch.

I couldn't feel more strongly that their kindness and sensitivity is a direct reflection of how they themselves were raised. They have learned to exhibit theses traits because they were raised by them and with them. They were treated with kindness and surrounded by nurturing and love. And in turn they are able to extend that to other people.  I'm inspired by their Mama and I am hopeful that a man like their Papa will be a part of my life someday. I hope that I will someday be able to give that to my son.

Needless to say, Cruz could not have been happier to have them. And I feel blessed to have such an amazing family.


  1. That's fantastic! Having family that you can depend on is awesome. I really love the toy! I am really into wooden toys too for my daughter but they are too expensive. This kitchenette set must've cost an arm and a leg, thank goodness it was from Santa! Haha.

  2. That looks like such a fun toy! What a little doll you have. Little boys are the best!