The Shortest Wishlist Ever

1 Dec

My kids’ all time favorite pastime is playing in dirt.  They were both home sick today (hacking cough, fever), but I had to let them out for half an hour to dig around in the driveway. That’s why I loved this post. Sticks and cardboard boxes are way up there too.

We don’t spend a lot of money on toys around here. This doesn’t mean my little hillbilly kids don’t have any toys.   They have plenty. We’re up to our ears in Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, Magnatiles.  We are also not above cheesy plastic crap including (I’m still a little in denial about this) a gigantic pink Disney princess castle (hand me down) and My Little Ponies (rummage sale).  So even though we don’t often buy retail, stuff comes our way. We’ve hit a couple of jackpots on freecycle (as I’ve said in the past, one of the great things about living in a superrich exurb is the terrific dumpster diving).  Also, grandma volunteers at a charty thrift shop and gets first dibs on a lot of great stuff. A few years ago we scored for the motherlode of wooden Thomas stuff for a song.

I have not once set foot in a Toys R Us in my entire parenting career. This is not to say that I don’t know the joy of seeing the UPS truck coming down the driveway with a big old box from Amazon. I do buy new toys on occasion-birthdays and Christmas, you know. We’re big on Legos, and people tend to hang onto those, so they don’t show up at the thrift shop very often.  But we try to set limits and keep things under control.

My overall tendencies are anti-consumer (I bought nothing on Black Friday except two bags of Cheezits and a bottle of water from 7-11).  I’m not a big shopper in general and am big on second-hand.  But there have been expensive toys I have lusted after on my kids’ behalf. Would I rather my daughter have the zillion dollar pottery barn toy kitchen than the used plastic Little Tykes model I paid 20 bucks for? Well–kinda.  And I wouldn’t say no to one of those multi-thousand dollar swing sets that dot the exurban landscape if one came my way. We live in one of the richest counties in America (consistently in the top five), and kids around here have some amazing toys/equipment etc. Of course, everybody has a Wii and a DS. This was a point of contention between the boy and me for most of last year and came up again in recent weeks.  I was able to put the discussion on hold for another year by explaining that  Coco is too young for it.  (I was actually amazed at how easily that one went down.) But I suppose we’re eventually headed that way.

But not this year. This year my MO is simplification. I’ve decided not to send out Christmas cards.  I have also decided to deprive my Sagittarian second-born of a proper birthday party (I ask you– is there anything more unfortunate than a December birthday??)

The interesting thing is, with a birthday and Christmas around the corner, the little girl wants… nothing. I asked her the other day what she’d like and she said she couldn’t think of anything. Of course, this is not to say that if I took her to Target, she wouldn’t find anything she wanted.  I’m sure there’s a ton of plastic junk that would catch her little eye. But there’s nothing that she longs for. She’s satisfied with her little world the way it is, and I can’t help patting myself on the back a little. The fact that she doesn’t watch TV helps, I’m sure, but the 6 year old doesn’t watch TV either and he wants everything!

I gave my kids garden tools last Easter.  There wasn’t a lot of gardening going on this summer, but they’ve been great for playing in the dirt.  Maybe this year’s Christmas mantra should be a shovel under every tree? Oh and hang on to those wrapping paper tubes.



3 Responses to “The Shortest Wishlist Ever”

  1. englishteacherx December 2, 2011 at 4:01 am #

    If you gave my nephews garden tools, they’d hit each other with them pretending they were ninja weapons.

    • Janann December 2, 2011 at 8:12 am #

      do they have bb guns?

  2. Kristen December 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    If you saved the train table, it makes a great “sand” table. Moon sand is a great replacement for dirt (when it is too cold or the ground is frozen). Moon sand is like slightly damp sand and Lucy loved it… for a time. I had already sold our train table by the time she discovered moon sand and wished I had it back. Moon sand can get a little messy, if being played on the dining room table. Hence, it tends to find its way into the evening meal – making it a little gritty. But, a train table would be a perfect containment device. Or – you could just buy them a 50 lb. bag of rice from Costco, some for play and some for dinner!

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