While among adults, obsessions with particular types of objects are usually seen as disorders—and thus potential pitches for TLC television shows—for kids it's quite normal to develop (temporary) passions for things. Sometimes strange ones.
My younger daughter Lolo, for instance, collected cellular phones for a long time. Not functioning ones, mind you: they could be toys, or store demo mockups, or old phones that grownups had deactivated upon upgrading. They could make noise and flash lights, or just sit there. It didn't matter. She had them (still has them, actually) in drawers, in purses, in pockets, on shelves. Well over a dozen of them. But since she got herself a real functioning phone (a Palm Pre) and an iPod Touch last year, her interest in fake and non-functioning phones has waned.
However, since her tenth birthday last year, she's become a little fixated on something else: cash registers. She's loved playing "store" since she was quite little, and for years has had various toy registers and similar machines around her room. But she's moved beyond that now, and since she's ten and knows her way around the Internet, she has been searching Craigslist periodically for used cash registers in the Vancouver area. They're not cheap, at least not for a good one, so she's saving up her allowance.
Today, my friend Tara brought her daughter Simone, who's almost three, to visit. Simone is currently infatuated with vacuum cleaners and ceiling fans. She repeatedly asked me where our vacuum cleaner was, and what colour our fan is. When we dropped next door to visit my parents, she asked the same thing. She also told me about the many ceiling fans at Ikea, and that she had one in her bedroom during a recent vacation to Mexico, which was very exciting. (Having the fan, I mean. I guess the vacation was probably exciting too.)
Like many young boys, back in the '70s my obsessions were dinosaurs and Star Wars. And my kids know it: this past Christmas, my older daughter Marina found me a very cool cutaway book explaining the inner workings of Han Solo's Millennium Falcon. I read it cover to cover in one sitting.