I grew up poor. At one point we didn’t have a refrigerator. That winter we kept our perishables on the window sill. We are talking really poor. So you can imagine my confusion at the conversation I had last year with the very the mother who raised me this way:
“Gavin needs an iPad. You are getting him one for Christmas, right?”
“WHAT? He’s two!!”
“He knows how to use it and he loves the games.”
She clearly interpreted my blank stare to mean “please continue” rather than “has Steve Jobs been reincarnated and taken over my mother’s body?”
“The games are mostly educational!” She looked at me with disdain at the notion that I might deprive my son of such a vital and basic need.
Just to recap: no fridge = acceptable for daughter, but no iPad = unacceptable for grandson. Glad we’re all on the same page.
I won the argument last year and no one got an iPad. But this year I was unprepared for the onslaught of things people thought my kids “needed.” One of these items was a miniature battery powered kid car.
I’ve blogged about it before, my son is big into cars. He walks around calling out every make and model parked on a NYC street. His favorites include mini-coopers, smart cars, and anything he dubs a race car. This boy has a particular affinity for certain types of rims. So when he spotted a black Dodge Viper in the Target circular I knew his mind was set. However, the thing cost as much as my entire Christmas budget for both kids. My mom offered to kick in. So did my grandmother. Ian was all for it. I was the lone dissenter, suggesting maybe if he still wanted it next year I would reconsider. My argument fell on deaf ears. “It’s Christmas time, Carinn! Come on!”
It’s not that I don’t want my kids to have nice things, but I want them to appreciate them. I want them to know the value of a dollar. I want them to cherish time and family and experiences over “things.” Thankfully on Christmas I witnessed all that and more. My kids were thrilled with their presents. They hugged and said thank you and showed off their interests with unbridled excitement.
If Gavin missed the Viper he never showed it. He was so happy all day playing with his sister, baby cousin, and beloved grandparents. After the kids napped, the rain cleared, and the sun came out – hours after the Christmas morning frenzy died down – we told him there was just one more gift waiting outside.
Of course you know what happened at 9pm on Christmas Eve? There was a last minute run to Toys R Us twenty miles away to get Chloe a younger and much cheaper car equivalent.
It was a holiday of highlights and proud moments. All my fears of him throwing a fit because he didn’t get everything he asked for, my worry that I would be “ruining” Christmas if I didn’t buy the car he wanted, my concern that I was raising spoiled brats did not come true. They are really good, funny, polite, not-spoiled, sweet kids. I cherished every moment watching them with such love. And then decided I no longer* want two more (this parenting thing is expensive!).
(*this is subject to change at various times of the month.)
Hoping you had a wonderful holiday with loved ones!