Please Don't Give My Kids Birthday Presents Blog Post - Presents

Please Don’t Give My Kids Birthday Presents

Please Don't Give My Kids Birthday Presents Blog Post - Presents

Mama Plea

You – yes, you. And you. And you. Birthday party invitees, school friend’s parents, the general population. Everyone who reads this who is not a close family member or part of a very small circle of friends (you know who you are) …this is my plea to you:

Please don’t give my kids birthday presents.

There I have said it. In the most straightforward way I possibly can. Direct? Tick. Simple? Tick. Offensive? Hopefully not.

 

Assumption Free

Look, I am not making any presumptions about your taste, financial situation or quality of your present. We are very grateful for the generous gifts our kids have received in the past. I am not trying to insult anyone here. But this year, for a change, I would respectfully request:

Please don’t give my kids birthday presents.

 

The Good Side of Boredom

Having too much stuff in childhood has been linked to overwhelm, a lack of curiosity and perseverance and sometimes even mental health issues.

Having less stuff as a child is correlated with improved imagination, cultivating an ability to deeply play (get in flow), deal with boredom in creative ways, and to discover and independently pursue their own interests.

Yes, boredom is not something to be avoided, but to actually ensure happens occasionally. I want my children to be bored, so I am respectfully asking you:

Please don’t give my kids birthday presents.

 

Toys Galore

I had one Barbie doll for my whole childhood. My daughter is not three yet and she has 14 Barbie dolls. Admittedly, these were not all gifts, some were hand-me-downs, but 14!! We had no Lego growing up. My son has four good-sized plastic boxes of Lego and he is not even six years old.

Between the two of them, they have dozens of toy cars, sackfuls of soft toys, hundreds of books, plus puzzles, plastic animals, blocks and enough train track to cover the lounge and right up the hallway into the bedrooms. They also have a lot of outside toys like balls and bikes.

Despite this, for a considerable period of time over the past weekend they took turns hiding in a large cardboard box. So…

Please don’t give my kids birthday presents.

 

No Downsides

Once we all get over a little social awkwardness at my incredible appeal, we can probably all agree that there are no downsides to this plea. I don’t have to pick up as many toys, my kids will grow into happy and healthy adults and the planet, with less stuff cluttering it up, will live to see another day. So, for the final time, I am imploring you:

Please don’t give my kids birthday presents.

 

 

Other Articles

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/80155246/the-tyranny-and-expense-of-modern-childrens-birthday-parties

https://raisedgood.com/extraordinary-things-happen-when-we-simplify-childhood/

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_happens_when_we_shield_kids_from_boredom

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/bunmi-laditan/im-done-making-my-kids-childhood-magical_b_5062838.html

Please Don't Give My Kids Birthday Presents Blog Post - D and E Mar18

 

 

You Know You Have a Toddler When Blog Post - Eloise 2nd Birthday

You Know You Have a Toddler When You Say These Things

You Know You Have a Toddler When Blog Post - Eloise 2nd Birthday

Happy 2nd Birthday, Eloise

“Eloise, please, for the last time, get your head out of the toilet.”

As soon as the words are out of my mouth, I realise my baby daughter has grown up. I now have a toddler. This new stage in Eloise’s development means many things for me as a parent.

It means toilet training, hence the sentence above.

It means Eloise now spends some of the week in childcare.

And most importantly, it means uttering bizarre sentences that have probably never before been spoken in the history of humankind.

Our beautiful daughter Eloise turned two this month. A milestone for her and a celebration for our little family. For the world this means the English language will be collated together in sentences that are both innovative and eccentric.

 

Don’ts

I know this to be the case, as when Dylan was a toddler, I had to say some ridiculous things. Mostly in the form of commands to stop him doing something that as a grown-up I wouldn’t have thought of doing in a million years.

For example:

  • Don’t pick your nose with the Minion toy
  • Don’t stick the bean into your croissant
  • Don’t do yoga in the shower
  • Don’t dance on the toilet seat
  • Don’t bring the deckchair into the bathroom

At least I do not feel completely alone in all this. A friend of mine said she had to tell her young boys to “stop licking the TV”.

 

Just a Phase?

I am not saying such surreal things to Dylan as much any more, so I thought that this original take on language construction might only last the toddler years with Eloise. I do find it interesting but it is also a bit exhausting and will be glad when this phase is over.

However, I have found out these weird sentences may continue to produced with older children, even if only occasionally. This story is from another friend who was in the middle of telling her school-aged daughter off for something inexplicably strange, but was corrected:

‘Went to the supermarket with the kids and was looking at bread rolls in the bakery section. I turn around and Lucy is head butting the lamingtons!

“Don’t head-butt the lamingtons, Lucy!” I growl at her in an urgent stage whisper.

Lucy looks offended and somewhat haughtily returns, “I was NOT head butting them, I was kissing them. I LOVE lamingtons!”’

 

Does anyone have a similar story? I would love to hear them. Please share in the comments below.

You Know You Have a Toddler When Blog Post - Lamingtons
Lamingtons

 

 

Parenting Cliches Blog Post - Nearly Five Dylan

Parenting Clichés are SO Irritating!

Parenting Cliches Blog Post - Baby Dylan

The Days are Long But the Years are Short

Tomorrow, my gorgeous son Dylan will turn five years old. Where have the past five years gone? He has grown up before my eyes. I can’t believe how fast time has flown. I can’t believe my first-born baby is five years old already. I can’t believe I am stating all the parenting clichés to explain my incredulity at how fast time seems to pass.

Aren’t parenting clichés annoying? Lets take a look at some of these old chestnuts. Then tell me if you don’t find them irritating. And true. And irritating because they are true.

 

The ‘Life Will Never Be the Same’ Cliché

When you are about to have a baby you get a lot of statements along the lines that ‘life will never be the same again’. Well no shizzle, Sherlock, another entire human being is going to enter this world. Then somehow I will have to keep him or her fed, warm and dry. That is epitome of a description of a life that is about to change.

When baby arrives, you get on the cliché bandwagon and state the obvious like ‘I can’t imagine life without him’, or the slightly more surprising observation ‘It is like she has always been here’. Thus perpetuating the ‘life will never be the same’ cliché.

Before baby arrives, and you get told that you life is likely to change, it is often followed up with some advice along the lines of ‘do stuff now that you won’t do with a baby’ – like travel or go to a movie or sleep.

Gah, irritating advice clichés – lets tackle these next.

 

Unhelpful Advice Clichés

‘There is never a right time to have a baby’. Whoa that is a real zinger that one. What am I supposed to do with that? What am I supposed to do with that when told it while I am trying to get pregnant? What am I supposed to do with that when I am eight and half months pregnant?

‘Parenting is the hardest job in the world’. Oh really. I had no idea. I thought I signed up to sunbathing and cocktails at the pool every day when I pushed two babies out of my body.

‘You have to work on your marriage’. What does this even mean?

And my personal favorite, in terms of most irritating and clichéd advice: ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’. That is dependent on a number of factors like is there dinner to be made, washing to hang out, shopping to do, Facebook to catch up on, or simply whether I feel too frazzled to rest. It assumes that the baby sleeps quietly or for periods longer than ten minutes or in his own cot and not on me. It assumes the baby sleeps.

Does anyone in the whole world get his or her baby to sleep and immediately fall into instant slumber? ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’ should be banished, relegated to a far off land of outdated clichés like ‘a woman’s place is in the home’. Never. Uttered. Again.

 

Simplicity is Key

So if clichés about time, change and advice are all unwarranted and irritating, where does that leave us? What parenting clichés can we still find an ounce of wisdom in?

Take kids birthday stressors. When I am looking at Lego sets for birthday presents and trying to remember which ones Dylan doesn’t already own, or working out how much snack food we will need for the birthday party or worrying if we bought enough balloons, then remembering this parenting cliché often helps: ‘Its the simple things in life that matter’. He is my son, I am his Mama, I love him. Not much else matters, except maybe cake.

So to my darling, delightful, dazzling boy, Dylan, happy fifth birthday. It is so clichéd, but that is what makes it true – I love you to the moon and back and always will.

 

Parenting Cliches Blog Post - Nearly Five Dylan

 

Husband Blog Post - Andrew and Eloise on Beach

My Husband Would Rather You Didn’t Read this Blog Post

Husband Blog Post - Andrew and Hammock

February

The shortest month of the year has just been and gone. With both Valentine’s Day and my husband’s birthday nestled in February it is a month where a focus on Andrew, our relationship and love seems unavoidable.

 

Uniquely Mr. S

I fell in love with Andrew a long time ago but have found over the years many of his idiosyncrasies interesting, even lovable. Here are a few:

He is a quiet, stoic man. Case in point – we had elected not to find out the gender of our firstborn so when our son was born it was an exciting time. Andrew called up his parents and in a calm voice said two words: ‘Yep, boy’. He does however become animated whenever he finds a typo in a newspaper article.

He has a lot of regulations about how a dishwasher should be stacked correctly will rain wrath down on anyone who attempts to wash the sharp knives in there.

In no particular order he loathes crowds, mushrooms, Facebook, horror movies, spicy food, and most bizarrely, pizza. Yes. Pizza. Everyone likes pizza.

He peels bananas from the bottom. Just because.

He doesn’t think people should wear t-shirts of the band they are going to see in concert but it is perfectly acceptable to wear another band’s t-shirt to that concert.

 

Grumpy Pants

I like discovering these things about my husband. But my goodness at times, I get grumpy with him! As usual it is about the tiniest things – he was telling me off about my driving this morning. But really it is always about the big things. Obviously he doesn’t trust me, thinks I am a terrible driver, always knows better… all the things my angry brain says to me.

To reduce my cognitive dissonance – I married this man and we produced two incredible children together so there must be something there – I find it helps to do an exercise where I list out things I like.

So here goes…

 

Love Letter

Andrew,

Sometimes I find it hard to unconditionally love you so I thought I would write a list of some of the reasons (conditions??) of why I love you instead…

I always think you are very handsome, especially when you have the right amount of stubble (I never notice or care that you are bald)

You are a fantastic daddy – you are a rock star to Dylan and Eloise

You are very practical and do lots of things I wouldn’t ever do myself like fixing doors, fridges and toys

You have great teeth

I am very grateful that you don’t follow sports or spend whole weekends watching cricket or motor racing

You show love through action and I am eternally in your debt for washing and vacuuming my car

You make a mean stew and a tasty lasagna

I like your intellect, dry sense of humour and your ability to pick up cultural references (you told me what ‘jump the shark’ means)

You freely give out good hugs and sometimes if I am really lucky a nice back massage

I love you, Julie

 

Just writing this list has put me in a better frame of mind. I guess I should do it more often. It is probably good that there are cultural institutions like Valentine’s Day and birthdays that remind us to love what is right in front of us.

 

References

The Five Love Languages Book: The Five Love Languages on Amazon.com

‘Jump the Shark’ definition via the Urban Dictionary:

A term to describe a moment when something that was once great has reached a point where it will now decline in quality and popularity. The origin of this phrase comes from a ‘Happy Days’ episode where the Fonz jumped a shark on waterskis. Thus was labeled the lowest point of the show.

Husband Blog Post - Andrew and Eloise on Beach