Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Birthday Monster

The Birthday Monsters are in town. Not really, but they are on their way. My in-laws have already confessed to buying a couple of extravagant gifts for Ben's birthday and my parents are not much better. Everyone wants ideas for what to give him. Surveying my living room filled with toy detritus, I am tempted to say "donations to his favorite charity".

I think toys are important and I love that we have such generous family members, but I also feel overwhelmed by the idea of even more things that flash and beep in my house. Not to mention my general feeling that giving him everything he wants will eventually make him feel like he should always have everything that catches his eye. I know that grandparents are there to spoil. All of the grandparents consistently remind me of this. But, this also means that if they do all the fun gift buying/spoiling, it's up to mom and dad to do all the practical buying. Like the training potty. And the toddler dish ware. And the big boy bed. Not things we necessarily want to spend money on, but things that are needed all the same.

The real struggle for me is how to make room for all this stuff? Is it wasteful to donate things that we just received as Christmas presents? Even if they never get played with? Is it better to box it all up and save it for a rainy day? As any good pack rat will tell you - the "what ifs" make it hard to part with a lot of junk. What if I need that again? What if Ben decides he wants to play with it 6 months from now? What if the next baby would have liked it? What if we meet someone else who could use it? The reality is (at least in this house) out of sight, out of mind. Once stuff gets boxed up, odds are we will not even remember that we own it. In which case, it could then be donated, right? This seems like an easier plan to me than trying to turn the tide known as the will of the grandparents. I might as well spit in the wind. Perhaps when the Birthday Monsters arrive, I will pretend we are not home.

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