Friendship, parenting and other fun

I have a very dear friend who likes to have a laugh and loves to give my children toys which she thinks I will hate and would never buy for them myself. For instance, a roller-skating, scantily-clad, busty wench and Dora socks. In a way she is right, I probably wouldn’t buy these things myself, but I don’t hate them at all and I love that we are close enough friends that we can do this sort of thing without risk of offending one another. The singing, talking chair my brothers gave us is an example of the “let’s bug the parents” mode of gift-giving. The important thing is that the kids like them and will play with them or wear them. My hubby and I are quite like-minded in many ways and agreed, more or less without talking about it, that we wouldn’t buy “licensed character” toys etc until or unless our child / children expressed their own preference. This is not entirely because they usually cost more. We did not want to drip-feed our little ones with mass produced, highly marketed and expensively advertised toys and teach them that these were the only things of value. I believe toys don’t have to be gimmicky or battery-powered or come from a TV show to be enjoyed. Don’t get me wrong, we have plenty of toys and they are not all of the hand-crafted, non-toxic, educational, multi-sensory variety. We allowed our oldest daughter to watch a variety of TV shows, on channels with no toy advertising, and find the shows that she liked. The proviso was that if we hated it, she couldn’t watch it anymore! As my dear Dad always said “This is not a democracy!” (Good-bye shrieky voices, adults pretending to be children and anything large and purple.) So far, so good. She loves Toopy and Binoo, Maggie and the Ferocious Beast and Harry & His Bucketful of Dinosaurs, among others. Two Christmases ago, all she asked for was a green dinosaur and a blue dinosaur. For her birthday she wanted a clean white feather. Last year she asked for a Little Mermaid suit and some Little Mermaid shoes and a pretend reindeer for her baby sister. She has definite likes now, but they are based on her own choices, not ones we have imposed (except by omission).

I must make this clear, each to their own. I don’t have a problem with what other people do in their own parenting or what they buy for my children. Buy whatever toys and books you like – we do what we do and it works for us. It may not be entirely logical or sound parenting, but it suits us.

I am not-so-secretly pleased that Pip wants to be a home-made super-hero for Halloween and not another Disney Princess. However, I wasn’t so thrilled when I discovered this was because she didn’t think I was up to making a princess dress!

On another note, Pip might not know what McDonalds is, but she recognized the Pizza Hut logo long ago!

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~ by Pip 'n' Milly Creations on October 28, 2008.

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