Childhood is a period of our lives that is filled with no responsibilities, no worries, favorite TV shows, playing outside until dark and well, every kid has to have toys.
I kind of dread going to Toys R’ Us with Gabriella. It’s a love/hate thing because I love making her happy and I hate to see her sad if you get my drift. I know that every single time we go there she’s going to want something and I’m most likely to cave and get it for her.
Today for example, I went to Babies R’ Us for something for Michaela, mind you, something she needed. As soon as I told Gabs that we were going there her eyes lit up and a big smile crossed her face.
Anyway, we got there and I did my business and she of course wanted to stop by and “look” at the toys. I agreed and then there they were, in a sales bin, the Zhu Zhu pets that all her friends have.
They were on sale for $9.99 and I picked one up and examined it and as I was doing so, Gabs was going on about what it did, which is virtually nothing.
She said, “You press the nose Mom and it makes a noise and it moves like a real hamster and it comes with all these houses and.. and… anddd…I’ll let you think about it.”
I’m standing there contemplating on buying this furry useless, little lump. It was on sale after all.
Then it hit me.
I think it was about a month or two ago when Hubby and I had spent a good part of our morning cleaning out Gabriella’s toy room. 6-7 donation boxes later, the room was still full but with toys she still “occasionally” enjoys and that Michaela will eventually play with.
This isn’t even including the toy rack she has in her room upstairs. With that vision flashing through my head, I look down at my little girl, she’s working the “puppy eyes” and intently waiting for my response.
I grew up with an older brother and sister and by no means was I deprived but, the reality was that there was three of us. We got toys that we really wanted but, only on occasion and if one of us had it the other two wanted it too. So, I understand why my parents didn’t give us every toy that we wanted.
I guess deep down I don’t want my kids to feel the momentary disappointment but, today, I look back and I’m so grateful my parents didn’t give in to my every whim and desire. It allowed me to appreciate what I did have, to wear them in and actually grow to love the toys I did have. I really began to understand the value behind things.
I looked back at Gabriella and she’s excitedly nodding her head, I’m still waning at this point. It’s only $9.99 after all. Then I think that I’m not doing her any favors. While she would play with it all but 15 mins before it’s forgotten, I want her to appreciate the value of things more.
So what did I say?
“Nope Gabby. Sorry, we can come back when you save up your allowance, like you did last time.” Mind you, she doesn’t really have a set chore list or anything. Just to keep her room tidy and help clean the messes she makes. When she goes to my parent’s house, she makes a killing by helping them with dishes and groceries. LOL, they do it to help her and make her happy too!
Well, I received the traditional, “Awwww, mom… *sadface*, promise?” And I nodded my head, we left and I can see her disappointment. It kind of tugged at my heart-strings but I know that I’m teaching her values. As much as I spoil her, because I know I do, I want to prepare her for the world. Then again, I’m not the only one to blame for all her toys. That’s what daddy, grandparents and aunts and uncles do best! *wink*
But, guess what?
She didn’t spontaneously combust (totally kidding) or throw a tantrum. That’s how I know she’s a good kid. She left that behind at the “Terrible Twos.”
“Never fear spoiling children by making them too happy. Happiness is the atmosphere in which all good affections grow.”- Thomas Bray
While I fear spoiling her because my only intention is to make her as happy or more than I was as a child, I know that there has to be a balance. There have to be lessons of value, morals and worth. I can only hope I give her the right foundation to a promising future. Not to mention that life is a lot MORE than just the material things.
And yes, this all came from a toy.
I know I’m not alone in this, how do you fight this constant battle? I’d love to know so, drop me a line!
Til then cheers m’deres!
Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela, and wife to Darasak. They all share her insatiable wanderlust, enjoyment of good food, and sharing their adventures with the world. Nancy is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.