Happy Merry

Since we don’t know much about Cricket’s tastes, and since we’re also having to appeal to his mom, I’ve got a sort of checklist I use when picking out a gift for him.

1. Ruth’s Rules for Presents: Nothing with Christian elements, nothing concerned with Christmas, no toys of violence, no licensed characters
2. Does it make noise? Giving really noisy gifts seems like bad parenting karma. There’s a toy guitar that I badly want to give him (It’s shaped like a dog! I believe that he likes both dogs and guitars!), but it is an electronic, noise-making toy.
3. Does it require the involvement of another person? Last year we got Cricket an aquadoodle—a gift I was quite proud of, since all the toddlers I know are mad about them—and I am pretty sure that it was never taken out of the box (I asked a couple of times over the course of a few months, and as of this spring, it was still in its original packaging). Ruth would have to fill the stylus with water in order for Cricket to draw with it, and that is not a great thing to count on.
4. Is it aimed specifically at boys? Cricket loves cars and trucks, and has tons, but it’s clear that his mom prefers toys that aren’t Boy Toys.

So I come up with five or six possibilities, I run them by my husband, and we spend some time eliminating choices until we’re down to one. This year, we’ve gotten him a toy vet clinic that looks like a pretty good time. Certainly Joey covets one. Of course, I feel a little weird about getting them the same thing—if I pick something great, surely I should consider letting Joey (and eventually Kit) in on the greatness. But is that creepy? I hope not. But then again, so far I have resisted the urge to get copies of the things we send north for Joey.

8 thoughts on “Happy Merry

  1. Wow, those are some fairly limiting restrictions.
    As for getting the same gifts, my parents did that for my sisters and I and we lived in the same house! They quickly discovered that 3 girls, close in age, were NOT going to share and thus, identical gifts if more than 1 child wanted it.
    I love the vet clinic idea so much, I think I’m going to steal it for MG! What an awesome idea!

  2. That’s so cute! The aquadoodle sounds fun too. Cricket will probably count your presents among his favorite toys. Maybe it’d also be nice if the boys had some of the same books in their collections, later when Cricket starts reading on his own. (I’m guessing that Ruth only reads her own selections to Cricket).

    • The books issue ends up being unexpectedly tricky; Ruth told me earlier this year that she is extremely picky about what children’s books she will allow into the house (and I’ve wondered ever since whether that was a hint to stop sending books for Christmas). I don’t know that he necessarily has access to the books we send right now—but I don’t think she’s throwing them away, and we’re inscribing them, so hopefully they’ll mean something to him later. This year it’s one book we have (and all of a sudden I can’t remember the English title, but it’s the English version of Asterix and the Grand Tour) and one we don’t: George Shrinks. It’s hard to find books that I like that meet Ruth’s criteria (although I may well be failing at this without knowing it) and that don’t have adoption content. I end up second-guessing almost all of my picks.

  3. i feel really bad saying this, since i try SOOO hard not to judge anyone’s parenting choices, but ruth and nora seriously drive me insane. cricket sounds so much like my son, and if he had all these restrictions put on his crazy, stubborn, difficult, very-stereotypical-boy nature, he would just be so, so frustrated. i’m very anti-gener norms too, but you also have to let a kid be who she or he is, even if that means they DO conform to those norms!

    also, i really wish they would get that adoption means cricket has four parents and while, yes, they (well, nora now, i guess?) get to make the day to day parenting decisions, it’s better to be flexible about this stuff — certainly my kids’ parents give them stuff i wouldn’t and sometimes approach things differently than i would, but that’s how it goes. i’d rather they be involved and be comfortable being themselves with our shared kids than have everything be 100% how i would do it. cricket is missing out on so much susie and mr book-ness as a result of their rules!

    bah. humbug. i feel guilty now, but i also feel better. i’ve been wanting to say that for ages.

  4. Holy freaking cow. Do you know *why* she’s this picky about books and gifts? Is it just a strong urge to control?

    I also have preferences when it comes to what my kids have — but when someone picks out something they think the kids will like, I\’m only too happy for the kids to receive it. If they only received things *I* liked, they\’d lose out on so much! Sorry you have to deal with this!

  5. Especially for people who have a lot of friends and family, gifts can be overwhelming. I felt tension between honoring the understandable desire of people to give – and the daily reality of living with that stuff. I’m a better parent when I don’t have to listen to electronic beeping crap. It makes for a calmer and happier house for us. From random relatives and family I will accept the beeping crap with a smile but I know that it won’t get played with for more than a day. Thing is that the people I actually care about and actually trust – those are the people I will be honest with about what we want to have in our house. So, maybe it is a sign of respect that Ruth wants your gifts to be on target with the environment Cricket is living in. If you aren’t having trouble coming up with gift ideas I’m sure blog readers would have a ton of suggestions. There are probably a billion great puppy dog and farm presents alone!

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