Monday, January 06, 2014

No more toys for tots!

Scrooge might have been on to something.  Not the hardhearted lonely part of him, but the frugal, thrifty stingy side.  

My child is an 'only'.  She's a much loved, very sweet almost three year old who will not be having any siblings. She is the only grandchild on both sides of her family.  This kid is connected to six adults who think she's pretty amazing. At two and three, gifts for her are easy to come by and of course, always appreciated.

In addition to the influx of gifts at birthdays and the holidays random things are picked up from time to time.  Meet Edgar the 5 foot tall teddy bear that had to come home with us from Costco.  Lucy has a kitchen with a microwave, cook top, oven complete with a roasted chicken, all the fruits and vegetables one could think of cooking with, stir fry equipment, a wooden birthday cake and for Christmas she received a toaster, espresso maker and a percolating coffee pot.

Edgar N. Bear
The added kitchen gear was not her main Christmas present, for that she received a 4 foot by 6 foot barbie doll house with a toilet that flushes, a piano that plays, a working elevator and a swimming pool. 

She loves these toys and does in fact play with them.  She also sleeps with characters from Toy Story (Buzz, Woody, Jessie and Hopalong), Nemo and Mike Wyzouski from Monster's inc.  

Before Christmas we did a weeding of the baby toys to cull down the clutter and to eliminate the items she no longer plays with.  I'm of the opinion less is more, and yet as hard as I try it turns out that more is more.  

I worry that without moderation, Lucy will end up a spoiled brat who has little to no appreciation for all the wonderful things in her life.   We just finished Christmas and her birthday is coming right up - so there is a new round of gifts that are winging their way to our home.   Savvy Disney has rock bottom prices on the remaining characters from Monster's University and I don't know how we'll ever live without a Terry & Terri doll.
Terry & Terri Perry

I feel like the horrid mom when we (my beloved and I) discuss what to buy the kid and he's so very excited about all the deals and how much she loves these things when they first arrive.  Some things are popular and then get put in a corner for a long time.  The Boo doll from last Christmas didn't really find her groove in the play rotation until this fall.  Now, she's everywhere - or was until Woody and Buzz arrived on the scene.

Don't get me wrong, Woody and Buzz are helpful friends to have.  When Lucy is acting up, or not wanting to transition from one thing to another a quick talk with them clears things right up.  

"So boys, would you like to come up stairs and take a bath?"

"Yes ma'am, we'd be delighted!"

The next thing we know, Lucy is holding hands with Buzz and Woody and upstairs we go.  If only all the toys were that helpful.   It would be even better if the toys would spring to life and put themselves away à la Mary Poppins.  That lady had a gift. 

In every family, people take on certain roles.  Jason is the fun dad who manages to find all the wonderful toys that a girl could want.  I'm picturing that amazing moment when Shirley Temple awakes in the attic to discover that it has been magically adorned with Indian silks, warm clothes and bacon.   My role it seems, is more of the stingy Miss Minchen, whose sole desire it is to rob the child of all wealth and joy by keeping the tide of gifts to a reasonable flow.

For me, it is not about preventing Lucy from having a wonderful childhood and plenty of wonderful things - I mean come on, she's a great kid who deserves the best, but rather about moderation.  I fear the day that she counts the holiday gifts and is disappointed because last year she got more.

Someday, mark my words - if we're not careful this will be Lucy's Christmas haul:
Photo: NEW blog post! Christmas '13 - Xmas Gifts Edition:

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