So after dropping Charley and friends off at school, Henry and I took a slow stroll through the toy aisles of Target. While pondering what to give Charley for his birthday, Henry happened upon many toys that spooked him by purring, moving, or shouting robotic phrases at him....it kept him close at my side. We walked away with a few ideas...but nothing that really stood out as a GREAT gift. We do have a lot of toys in our house, Ed would say we have too many. However, we are here every day. We play all day, all winter in our house....we don't head off to daycare where a wonderful lady has a room of rotating toys. So we do need some things here to occupy our 12 hours of play, 7 days a week, during the day. And this winter we will be sticking close to home more than usual.
I think we have made wise choices so far in our toy investment....most have come as gifts or garage sales. I try really hard to invest and accumulate toys that will stretch their imagination and grow with them....Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, fort building kit, blocks, cars, "guys", kitchen, balls, instruments, dress up clothes, Lego's...etc. I have also gathered a TON of puzzles and board games because they are quiet family activities. There is a lot of stuff out there that the boys want but I know they would play with for a few minutes and then it would sit there. Now as Charley is getting into "bigger" boy toys I am stumped on what is the right choice...is it the star wars figurines that would make him happy and be played with for years...or is it the ships...and should they be Power Rangers, Star Wars, Transformers, or a few of each....sometimes I think more tinker toys then he can build bigger. Maybe this would be wiser than buying some new set of building toys. I just want to know what toys for this age are going to be "worth it" and meet my expectations of fun, imaginative, safe, and will occupy the boys for more than a season....oh, and most importantly make our house a fun place for play dates because those are key!
The other stress for a parent is making the day special. Charley has really been to only two birthday parties...I think....and those would be for his friend McKenna. Last year he had a small surprise party with our playgroup. His first birthday was of course a big family party. So this year when Charley started dreaming up his birthday he knew way more about parties than I thought he would. I started to freak out over how I was going to do this. Originally, I remember telling Ed that I don't want to do a big kid party thing until he is school age - kindergarten. So then I heard of a friend who does a party every other year and then the off year is a fun family activity. So since we did a party last year I figured I could convince my little boy that family time would be fun. It took a week or two but now he is convinced. Yay! However, he doesn't quite get it. The other day he told a friend that he won't have any presents on his birthday this year. I had to explain that he would still have presents on his birthday. Last weekend he told Grandma Charlie in a thoughtful voice, "I am not having a birthday party this year, I am just going to spend time with my family."
I just want him to have a magical day. I know he will. But I think most parents stress over these magical days. What is too much? What is going to make their eyes twinkle? What is going to make us, as parents, feel secure that we are doing the right thing...not too much that they are spoiled or set up for bigger and better every year. My hope for my boys' birthdays is that each year is different and special without the feeling of doing it bigger or better. I want Charley to appreciate his little life so far and know that we are glad he joined our world. I want him to feel special and loved. I want there to be balance and tradition....
So for the next few days I have to of course share a few old pictures that I love...I wasn't blogging back then....so can't help but include a few.