Hot Wheels are SO last year, Mom…

Hot Wheels cars
Image via Wikipedia

When I was around 8, I was obsessed with Barbie dolls. I had about ten in my collection, including a long-suffering Ken with the expertly coiffed ‘do and goofy flashy grin (who more often than not, ended up face-down in the toilet, thanks to a run-in with my brother’s GI Joes).

I took those Barbie dolls everywhere, even dragging them outside on lazy sunny afternoons. I would fashion little umbrellas out of Queen Anne ’s lace, had tea parties with them and off they’d gallop into the sunset on their beloved horse, Dallas. Ah, good times.

As for my son, he was practically born with a Hot Wheels car in each hand. Sure, he was drawn to any kind of vehicle early on…buses, garbage trucks, monster trucks (Grave Digger was his fave) but Hot Wheels were his obsession. He wouldn’t go anywhere without one. He even slept with his favorite blue car, all worn and cracked, his chubby little hand wrapped tightly around it all through the night.

Countless times over the years, we’d give in and buy him one while out doing errands. Hey, why not, they’re fairly cheap. And besides, what mom doesn’t like to bribe or placate their fit-throwing kid once in awhile, right? No? Well, I am a bad mom. He now has more cars than the world’s population.

But, they brought him such sheer joy. If it was quiet in the house I’d panic a little, only to always find him in his room, lining them up on his bed and crashing them over and over again. There was security in knowing that my son and his cars would have a long happy relationship, just like me and my Barbies.

Slowly this past year, I noticed he wasn’t playing with his cars as much. Days, then weeks would go by and they would remain untouched in his big blue bin. My husband would nudge him and say, “Hey, why don’t you go play with your cars?” but my son would just shrug and continue to play his Nintendo DS.

I felt this odd pang of sadness. I know, it’s all so very Toy Story 3 (and yes, I bawl like a baby every single time I see it). But he’s eight already, and barreling toward nine in mere months. His voice is deeper, he’s grown two inches since last fall and his face has taken on this older, almost-tween-like appearance. He’s all shrugs and “whatever, Mom”s.  He’s not my chubby bubby anymore. Where did he go? I want him back!

But all moms know the truth. That sweet, dimpled boy is still in there somewhere.

Last week, after months of Hot Wheels exile, my son announced he wanted to be left alone for a bit. After shooing my four year old daughter away from his room, I shut his door. I started to walk away, when suddenly I heard the crash of his cars as he dumped them out onto the floor.

“And now begins the race of the century! Start your engines!” my son yelled and the crashing of cars ensued.

Whew! Maybe there’s a few more toy days left in him after all. The Wiis, iPods, and Nintendo DS’s can wait.

I smile as my daughter takes my hand and asks me to play with her Barbies. I tell her sure, but that Ken needs a serious makeover.

30 thoughts on “Hot Wheels are SO last year, Mom…

  1. anjobanjo22

    Very cute read! I have a 9 year old son and I feel that fear sometimes too. I do get a sense of relief that I still have my little boy when he refuses to donate his hot wheels cars to the salvation army. 🙂

    1. Thanks! Every year we have managed to get him to donate quite a few of his cars. It used to be like pulling teeth. But now he’s cut way back, he’s down to about half of what he used to have…I hope he hangs on to at least a few for keepsakes when he’s older. I wish I had kept my Barbie dolls!

  2. Mary the OINKteller

    It’s so great when the little boy in them resurfaces – even for the briefest time! Hold fast to those moments because before long both you and I are going to be hearing more mumbled “Whatevers” than “Will you play with mes?” Great post!

    1. I never dreamed he’d be tired of them so soon. I thought he had at least a few more years of them. I think I played with my Barbies until I was 11. It was a different time then though…no video games or cable!

  3. My nephew (now in his early 30’s) is the dad of one and one on the way. Last time I stopped over to see the baby he showed me his drawer of cars! Hot wheels he had saved from childhood now about to find a new owner – his son;)

  4. Great post. Gave me a Mom-tear.
    I have 5, aged 10-17. My 11-year-old insists that she ate my baby girl every time I wonder out loud what happened to her. My 17-year-old decided last fall that he was old enough to go it alone. I don’t know what I hate more – him leaving (I was so very NOT done with him yet), or him managing pretty well without me.
    And then at Christmas, we had company in the form of a family with two little ones – aged 3 and 5. And I was blessed with the vision of all five of my sweet dimpled babies as my 16-year-old hauled his old bin of Thomas the Tank Engine toys out of the darkest corner of the basement and the 7 kids all played for hours. It was like magic.
    Savour every moment – good and bad. It does go by so fast.

    1. Oh, thank you for your comments, they brought a mom-tear to my eye! The day my son is 17 and wants to be on his own?! I can’t even begin to imagine how I’ll feel. The way time is flying by, it’ll be here soon so I am desperately trying to hang onto both kids. And try to savor everything…even the hair-ripping, hide-in-the-bathroom moments. LOL My daughter is still four but even she is changing and growing up so fast, even faster than my firstborn it feels like!

  5. I wonder if that is how it will be with my husband’s collection of farm toys, consisting of tractors, cows, and more tractors. I think some cars are thrown in there as well. Now I understand why his mother doesn’t want to throw them out 🙂 Sounds like he is beginning the stage of life where lots of changes are going to be happening. Should be fun, and maybe a bit scary, too 🙂

  6. I was the girl who wanted to play with the hot wheels. Sure my sister and I had barbies, but I tended to run them over with the pink car we had, rather then actually having tea with them.

    1. You go, girl. I was a tomboy at times. I played with my brother’s hot wheels, tonka trucks and star wars toys. I had five brothers growing up and no sisters, so I was a bit outnumbered. I also loved to climb trees and put my younger brother in a good headlock if needed. Had to survive somehow.

  7. Anas Shafqat

    What I love about your posts is that they are very much alive 🙂 Keep posting 🙂

    P.S I once had a big collection of cars too, but sadly they were stolen (as to why … I never got to know 😐 )

    1. That’s a bummer. I think my brother’s cars were left behind and/or stolen over the years…along with all of their Star Wars toys. Or maybe my mom secretly donated all of it? Thanks for your comments and I hope you keep visiting.

  8. Great post, Maineiac. Funny and sweet, which is tricky to do. Our son is sixteen, and we often look at pictures of when he was four or five and wonder the same thing: Where did he go? But even at his age, that sweet little boy still makes an occasional appearance (although the visits are short and can end with shocking abruptness). Enjoy those beautiful kids as much as you can; time zips by pretty quickly, as you’ve already noticed.

    1. From day one when my son was born, people have been telling me time goes fast, enjoy them while they’re young and now I know it’s the (sometimes painful) truth. You turn around and suddenly they’re 8 going on 13. And my second child seems to be growing up at an even faster rate. More reason for me to slow things down, live in the moment and truly enjoy my time with my kids. I am blessed to be a parent. Thank you for your comments, I appreciate them.

  9. Kids are growing up way too fast! My son is only 5 and said today that his cars were boring and he hated Hot Wheel toys in his Happy Meal! Not two years ago, Hot Wheels in a Happy Meal resulted in begging and crying for McDonald’s every day. It’s sad.

    1. Aw, only five! It’s incredible how much they change and grow in the blink of an eye. I can see my future, sending him off to college or attending his wedding and I’ve no doubt I’ll be that sobbing mess of a mom.

  10. The Compulsive Writer

    That is an awesome story! My son had an obsession with cars too. Every morning before preschool he and my husband would play cars (hubs worked nights). They would play cars when he came home, they would play cars ….all the time! And it drove me nuts!!! Now…I just want him to play with the dang cars again!! Make sure you save those cars…then bring them out some Christmas when he’s an adult. My mother in law did that to my husband and his brothers…it was fun. It was like they were kids again and I could tell my mother in law just loved it!

    1. Y’know, it kinda drove me a bit nuts too. LOL Over the years I’d find those cars everywhere. Especially painful when I’d end up stepping on one in my barefeet in the middle of the night heading to the bathroom….those suckers HURT! (doesn’t say much for my housekeeping skills does it?) I will definitely save some of them once he completely abandons them so I can pull them out when he’s older. 🙂

  11. My youngest is six. When his older brother moved out, Sam gained rights to the hot wheel collection. For the 100th day of school celelbration, Sam brought in 100 cars. And unless these toys get broken, they are never getting thrown out.

    1. Now that is something my son should’ve done for the 100th day of school. One day I was incredibly bored and counted them and I do believe he had well over 100 at one point. We’ve since whittled them down to about half that (donated them or gave them to my friend’s son)

  12. My son is 16 and still won’t let me sell his Hot Wheel’s collection, even though it collects dust in his closet.

    I do have to say, though, my bare feet are thankful that those tiny metal race cars are not laying face up on the carpet anymore…along with the Lego pieces…

    spread the humor:

  13. I love this , I am not married but I can just imagine what it is being a mother and watching the kids grow. We don’t need to worry , as long as they are in the hands of God , they can never be lost

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