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.