Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Easy Does it! Let's not Overwhelm the Poor Kid Because, Believe it or not, Doing so Might Start a Lifetime of Ungratefulness.

Well, Christmas is finally over!  I hope we all had a great time  too.  If you don’t celebrate Christmas, then I hope you had a nice holiday of your choice.  I truly do.  

Anyway, for my family this year was all about the little boy.  What a trip!  I can’t even tell you how many presents he had to unwrap in all, but I do know it took him three days to do it..  I guess we went overboard  a little bit, but being first time parents we couldn’t help it.  The anticipation of my baby boy waking up Saturday morning and seeing all the wrapped boxes and toys laid out just perfectly for him to find was just as exciting to me as the memories of Christmas morning I have of when I was little.  It was just great, a little tiring, but great nonetheless. 

My wife and I stayed up half the night preparing for the morning.  She loaded the presents under the tree then came to bed.  Then I got up and built a few of the larger gifts and arranged them in the order that I saw fit.  It was going to be awesome.  I envisioned him going nuts and ripping open all the wrapped boxes like I would have when I was little.  I smiled and sang to myself for two hours while I built the train table his Grandparents bought him, thinking all the while that the little man would be so excited.  

You see, I forgot that he is only ten months old and that this Christmas was primarily for us and not for him.  What really happened was close to what I had imagined then, kind of, because, realistically, what I had imagined was totally unattainable.                   

Well, when we awoke Christmas morning the first thing the little man did was stare wide eyed and open mouthed at all the fancily wrapped boxes and the train set that was built and laying perfectly on the train table.  Then he took his morning crap.  After that, all he wanted to play with was the new train set and table.  

Apparently, when we organized the Christmas gifts to look pretty we also arranged them is such a way that made them appear to be a perfect step ladder for a little guy too.  So, as you can probably guess, he quickly found his way up the gift ladder and onto the train table. 

The Ascent:

The Conquering of the gift Mountain:

The Glorious Destination:

Honestly, we did try to keep him off of the train table, but we failed ultimately.  We did manage to move the mountain of gifts to under the table so he wouldn’t attempt to climb down it.  Safety first right? 

As you can see, he truly enjoyed the train table and set that came with it the best out of all his gifts, but we just couldn’t allow him to stop there.  No, we had to try and make him open everything we got him.  That didn’t work out as well as I had hoped.  He started getting cranky.  Then he got hungry too.

Well, with all kidding aside my wife and I truly did learn an important lesson this Christmas.  We should have realized that the insane number of presents that we bought for the little man would stop being awesome and start being overwhelming for him awfully quickly.  Unfortunately, I do not have any cute pictures of him being really cranky, but I do have one of him pooping. 

This is what we call a PoopSplosion because it rocketed outside of the diaper.
Anyway, you are just going to have to trust me that there was a point where the little man was completely cranky and foul.  I never would have thought it possible, but my son received too many presents this Christmas, and I am vowing to never let that happen again.  I wanted this to be the perfect Christmas not a scary or overwhelming one for him.  There was just too much stuff going on for a little guy of ten months old.  Eventually, my wife and I figured that out and slowed down on the present opening, but I think I waited too long to do that even though the gift opening lasted two days or so.  

The problem was I was thinking of it like a race, so the poor kid didn't have enough time to enjoy anything that he opened before something else was thrown at him.  It was so selfish of me because I didn't bother to stop and think that he might want to play with what he had just opened.  I was too busy taking photos and getting joy from watching him open his presents to notice that he wasn't enjoying it as much as I was.  I feel like such a jerk.

My son would have been perfectly content with just a few gifts.  Hell, he is only ten months old.  Christmas didn't have to be complicated this year or expensive.  But, no, I couldn't allow it not be.  I wanted it to be the best ever, which in my mind meant that there had to be a whole shitload of gifts under the tree, or in our case in his pack and play.  As it turns out he didn't want all of that stuff.  We didn't need to buy three different train sets or twenty different trains or whatever else he received.  He was perfectly happy to sit around and play with us all day and gnaw on the Christmas ham until we all passed out.

With this in mind I began to wonder who I bought all the toys for him or me?  You all of course already know the answer to this.  I bought the toys for me.  Do you really think that he gave a shit if he had any Christmas presents?  No of course he didn't.  He is only ten months old.  He didn't even really know what Christmas is all about.  Now, thanks to me, he might believe that Christmas is all about buying stuff and getting a bunch of junk that you didn't need or even really know that you wanted.  What a terrible message to send to a child on his first Christmas ever.  So, it looks like I will have to work twice as hard next year to show him what it is truly about.  It is about being with your family and friends and celebrating each others companionship.  It isn't about getting a bunch of presents from people.  It isn't about spending a fortune.  All that does is display your greed and flaunt your supposed wealth, which cheapens the holiday.  

With this kind of attitude it is no small wonder that there are children who grow up being completely selfish and ungrateful.  This year I watched a kid throw a fit because some one dared to give them a gift that didn't have the right brand name or logo or whatever.  What a joke!  As I watched this child act like this I wondered what the hell is he thinking. How does someone as old as him, he might have been 13, act like that and not feel utterly ashamed of himself?  Then, I realized something.  Without knowing it, I am grooming my son to turn out exactly like that by buying him things he doesn't really need or want and giving them to him constantly.  Before too long he will start expecting it from me and then other people as well.  This is a problem.  Luckily, I noticed it before it went too far.  

I am afraid that my wanting to give him everything he looks at is teaching my son the wrong message.  I don't want him to feel like he deserves everything in the world while never having to earn anything.  I don't want him to expect to be given anything because in the "real" world it doesn't happen like that.  You have to bust your ass to get what you want, and, even then you aren't assured of receiving what you expect. I also don't want my boy to become so spoiled that he throws fits well into his teenage years when he doesn't get the right brand of mp3 player or gamestation or television or what have you.   I want him to have to work and earn things that he really wants.  I truly believe that that is the only way to ensure that my son will be appreciative of other people.  Hopefully.  

This consumerism mentality is just getting to be ridiculous!  Why does the accumulation of junk have to be some sort of "keeping up with the Jones's" type of competition?  it just seems like there are so few people that are satisfied with what they have anymore. 

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