Mama Mia: Give grandma a ‘need this’ wish list
jMama MÍa! I am dreading the holiday season this year! Not because I donand#8217;t have the money to buy all the things my son needs for the winter, but more to the point, I fear that his grandparents will be spending tons on toys and trinkets that are only fun and entertaining for about five minutes. Is there anything I can do?
You are not powerless in this familiar holiday season scenario. You can do something! First, draw your fear and dread away from the frivolous goodies for a moment and ask yourself: and#8220;What am I really afraid of here?and#8221;
I realize five minutes in children time translates into one week to one month in adult years, but could that be productive free time for you? For example, if the new puzzle keeps him busy while you cook dinner, consider it a great little item that should find a new place in your home.
Or, do you not have space in your home for yet one more toy you inevitably have to clean up and keep track of so when junior wants it itand#8217;s ready and waiting? As someone who lives in a 1,200 square foot one bedroom house with three small children, I feel your pain.
However, if the toy, book, or game is something remotely educational and the tike likes it; yes, you must adopt it. This is where I would reevaluate the current pile of playthings and start tossing. Have your son help you get rid of things before new things come in by suggesting those old favorites may end up in a good home, think of all the children who would love this toy because they have nothing else, etc. Find a motivator and pull out the trash bags. Now is a great time to make donations to your local thrift store.
Perhaps it is the quality of the gift that concerns you? If Grandma is prone to gift wrapping large, plastic, batteries-not-included toys from China then you are well within your legal rights as a mom to be proactive and take a stand for your childand#8217;s benefit. By all means, use some gentle persuasion to get him a few of the things he really needs this year. It is perfectly acceptable in this current financial climate to merely offer suggestions regarding what their favorite grandchild would like to find under the tree. You may find by politely asking gram and pop to help pay for little Johnnyand#8217;s winter boots or snowsuit you will have incited a new trend for years to come. They will be thrilled to feel useful by giving a gift with purpose. One, it is a legitimate need, and two, they are helping by sharing the exuberant expenses associated with modern-day childrearing.
I usually employ outside resources found locally or online to answer these questions, but this time I feel your best resource is yourself. First, do some internal self-evaluating to determine the exact source of your anxiety; then do some broader familial reviews to determine the appropriate course of action. If all else fails, keep the junk and re-gift it next year!
and#8212; If you have a parenting puzzler for Mama Mia at the KidZone Museum in Truckee e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 587-KIDS.