The other day I took the Blonde Bombshell to Kmart to buy a few essentials, like a Tinkerbell backpack (no, not for the Bombshell, for her Dad to give to someone at work for Christmas. Or so he says).
Naturally as soon as we walked through the doors she began asking for things.
‘What am I going to get, Mum?’
‘Is that for me?’
‘I want one of those Mum.’
It drives me nuts.
My girls have so many toys they don’t even know they own half of them. They have so many toys I have to rotate them in and out of storage so they don’t take over my life like multiplying gremlins.
Growing up I had my share of toys. It may have been a small share compared to my next-door neighbour, and yes, there were popular toys I am sure I wanted but never received (like a Cabbage Patch Doll) but I had something better. Imagination.
My parents, whether through necessity or sheer brilliance, installed in us a sense of creativity that did not depend on batteries or the latest fad. I could spend hours recreating a board game with a piece of cardboard and a packet of textas, painting the driveway with water, creating a mini-golf course in the backyard or playing with my imaginary friends and it didn’t cost my parents a cent.
My god, I sound like a bit of a loser. Oh well.
My point though, is that I want to know how to explain to a four and a half year old about concepts such as poverty, gratitude, generosity and not-asking-for-stuff (does that have a proper name?) without sounding like I am preaching to her. Which I do, regularly. So she stops listening.
In Kmart I told her to imagine that there were two little girls, just like her and her sister and that on Christmas they might not be getting any toys. Her face remained blank. No toys? Foreign concept.
I then told her that if we buys some toys and put them under the Wishing Tree, the nice people at Kmart would pass them onto Santa who would be able to give them to these other children.
It came a bit unstuck at this point. Why does Santa need help? What are these kids’ names? Do we know them?
My answers were ummmm, I don’t know and No respectively. Not good enough Mum. She lost interest and wandered off to look at Christmas baubles.
Luckily the Mop had been listening and helped me choose some presents for these unknown children. She even slobbered on the packaging, making it that much more special for them.
After I had paid for everything I sent the Bombshell on a mission to return the toys to the Wishing Tree. She disappeared out of sight for a few minutes and returned empty handed but with a big grin on her face.
‘I did it Mum,’ she said.
‘Did you put them under the Wishing Tree, like I asked?’ I said.
Her face looked blank.
‘What tree?’ she asked.
I have no idea what she did with the toys or where she put them. I hope they make whoever ends up with them very happy.
Merry Christmas everyone.