When I started having kids, it wasn't for the fame and glory. It wasn't for the sleepless nights or oh-so-glamorous stretch marks.
I had kids so I could buy them all of the cool crap my parents never bought me.
Now, when I was a wee lass, I wanted, more than anything, an EZ Bake Oven. I begged. I pleaded. I bargained. I promised I'd save up to cover the ridiculously overpriced sticker price.
My mother? She responded with the very practical, "It's junk. Those EZ Bake Ovens just use a light bulb to cook the 'food.'"
She followed it up, my face falling sadly, with, "If you want to bake something, you can use the REAL oven."
Except that she totally wouldn't let me use the big oven. And with my propensity toward walking into walls, I cannot actually say that I blame her.
The next thing on my conquest list was a Pow-Pow-Powerwheels. I mean, how cool is THAT? I could drive a car! And I was 6! My best friend had one that she lorded over me, always offering to let me drive it, then telling me I couldn't. At 5, she was an expert in manipulation. I fell for it every. single. time.
My mother claimed, correctly, that Powerwheels, which cost about the same now as they did in 1986, were "too expensive" and "junky."
She wasn't wrong. But I wasn't either. I spent YEARS fantasizing about popping out my first kid just so I could buy him all those cool things. In turn, my mother gave me some wooden blocks to play with. Because what 10-year-old DOESN'T love to build block towers?
(Answer: me. Also: probably most kids.)
My parents were the teak and fine china kind of people. I'm the tacky garish one of the family -- the only one who happily bedazzles everything she can get her hands on.
My kids are somewhere in between. I bought my son an EZ Bake Oven when he turned 6. (Hey, boys can bake, too.) He was very unimpressed by it, but I delighted in all the wee cooking implements. I delighted in it until his first cake was ready. It smelled like burning hair and tasted like Satan's ass.
My Mother: 1
For my second son's fifth birthday, I finally realized my dream and bought the kid a Pow-Pow-Powerwheels. He hadn't asked for it, of course, but I knew best! Mothers know best, right?
While I reveled in my victory, admiring the wee blue Mini Cooper I'd lovingly selected for my son, he was ... he was more interested in blowing bubbles with his brother and sister. Once I showed him how exactly to use the Powerwheels, he drove it into the minivan*.
My Mother: 2
Somewhere, my mother is sitting and feeling proud of herself for being right -- oh SO right -- so many years ago.
Maybe I should dig out those blocks and give 'em to my kids. They may appreciate them. Perhaps good taste, like other traits, skips a generation.
*Oddly, admitting that I have a minivan is the most embarrassing part of this story.
Oh My Goodness! I have been through some of that too! lol But, now my kids have realised that some of those "dazzling" items they were wanting are just plain not worth it. They earn their own money and go buy the things they want themselves. And they make sure its worth the value they pay too. lol
by AlyBrenMay 4, 2012 at 2:14 PM
I'm pretty much the opposite.
I had every toy known to man as a kid. My gran's way of compensating, I think. I didn't have parents and she worked, I was a latchkey kid from 6 on, so I think she felt guilt and bought out of guilt.
Neighbourhood kids loved coming over to my house because I was that kid who had everything they wanted but their parents wouldn't get them. Eventually I learned not to play in my house because some kids would come over just for that, not for me. Learned my real friends from the users.
But anyway, I was that kid who had everything, but never asked for anything. My gran just got it for me and as I grew, I felt awkward about it. I was that kid with had more fun rolling around the floor with a dog than playing with toys.
So with my DD, I've taken a little different approach. We live in a condo, space is at a premium and there's no whole extra room for her toys like I had as a kid.
My tactic is that if she asks for something, she gets it. I don't want her to have memories of desperately wanting something and being denied just because I as an adult think it's silly or junky. But if she does not ask, I won't take the initiative to get her any toys.
It's worked out great. She gets the things she really wants, feels respected and heard and that her needs are met, and we don't end up with $2000 worth of stuff she doesn't care about. Or an overcrowded condo. There's the occasional thing she really wants that ends up not meeting expectations, but we all have that and it's a part of the learning process.
I've also taught (by example, never by force) that it's good to give away things that we don't use any more. Just this year she's starting to understand and often comes to me with things she doesn't play with and asks if we can give them away :)
by awilliams77May 4, 2012 at 4:52 PMI grew up fairly poor but didn't realize it till around 12 yrs old. I had an easy bake oven, though! Two of my favorite Christmas gifts were my bike and skateboard.
We buy our kids some things, but others they save up for/use Christmas/bday money from relatives.
For example, our 12 yr old son bought the first ds, used it a while, then sold it on ebay on my acct and used the profits to help buy a 3ds on ebay. He is taking really good care of it. We got him a game for it for Christmas
by maggiandmikeMay 4, 2012 at 5:00 PMI'm in the middle. I carefully weigh if a toy will hold up to my multiple children, if it will last more than a year, if they will be interested for more than a year, if it's a skill building toy, etc. If the toy is a fad, no way Jose!! Not gonna happen. My MILon the other hand loves the fads. Yuck. If my children are really interested in a certain thing, then yes, if the price is reasonable. I have crappy toys in my house that I didn't buy that I hate, and classic ones that will grow with my kids that I love. MIL bought a power wheels and it sits in the garage cause it doesn't work. I wish she'd ask me about gifts.
by usmom3May 4, 2012 at 5:35 PM
Even if I get the toys they want they lose interest in a few weeks!
May 4, 2012 at 10:24 PM
My Dad bought one for my boys and they love it, and they have had it for almost 3 yrs!
by OneToughMamiMay 5, 2012 at 12:21 PMMy child doesn't ask for much. I buy her things that she wants when she asks just because she rarely asks for anything. She has american girl dolls because they were the only things she really wanted.