When my kids were little, we had gift rules. No, we didn’t give people a piece of paper with things they could and could not buy our kids. But if they inquired, my husband would say, “All I ask is nothing that can roll under the couch, nothing that has no on and off switch and nothing without volume control. Oh, and no teeny pieces that can get easily lost.’
Seems reasonable, right? We weren’t particularly anal about that sort of thing until someone bought my daughter a ball popper toy that spat plastic balls out of a hole. Oh, so fun! She loved that stupid toy. It made me want to jump off a bridge. The balls always rolled under the couch and I cursed our hardwood floors and those damned balls.
So, imagine my surprise when, fast forward seven years, my husband’s wonderful friend gave my daughter a full drum kit that had been sitting in his basement. Great…for her! Not so much for us.
What the heck, husband’s friend? Drums? WHY? Why would you do that to me?
Yes, it was fun for her. Not for me—aka the one with ears who has to listen to the incessant bang in the basement. Here I was dreading when my daughter brings home a recorder from school—meanwhile, she gets drums.
It reminded me of the time my mother bought her play makeup when she was five. She was so cute, playing dress up and dolling herself up. That was until she used it to draw on her white carpet. Because she’s a kid and kids do stupid things like draw on the white carpet with eye shadow. This only intensified when she got kid nail polish in a loot bag. Onto the carpet that went too (and there it remains to this day).
I know many of us cringe at gift giving times, looking at the glitter and teeny tiny toy pieces. One of my personal “favourites” was a My Little Pony dance mat that would play a tune and light up as tiny limbs leaped all over the pad to keep up with the lights. It was so loud and so annoying and both my kids loved it so much that I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it.
And I love that my son loves his Hot Wheels, but those tracks are huge and take up so much space! It entertains him and he loves his cars but I’m not going to lie, I hate that toy!
I know that people mean well (although, in the case of my husband’s best friend, I think he got a hilarious thrill out of knowing those drums would drive me bananas). My kids love everything they get, but aren’t there toys they’ll love just as much that are half as loud and annoying?
My husband keeps arguing the case for these drums as if it’s a super cool thing for my 8-year-old daughter to learn. Of course, I’d be the worst mother imaginable if I didn’t support her in her (ahem) musical interest. I suppose I should be happy it isn’t a violin.
I’m grateful for the generosity and creativity with which family and friends select gifts for my children. I’m also grateful for how much they enjoy all of those gifts. They are very appreciative kids. But I don’t love hearing the clinking high hat and pounding base drum in my basement. I can not put them out on the front porch for the garbage man, but I don’t have to like them.
But though my daughter loves her present, we all know who the real winner is—my husband’s best friend who must giggle to himself every day those drums are in my basement.