Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Lightness and Unbearable Weight of Birthday Shopping

Why do kids want the most inane, pointless toys out there on the market? Trevor has a birthday coming up. On Tuesday, I took him on a special errand (killing time before his afternoon class began) to create a wish list. As I went back to the store to do the actual shopping, I repeatedly found my head shaking, thinking "there is no way in the world that we would get our money's worth out of that purchase!"

He wanted several different Halloween costumes and masks. We already have two large buckets full of costumes. He wanted Halloween decorations. We have more of those than any family really should have. I think people might begin to wonder if we have some sort of Satanic allegiance or something, given the grandiose display hubby and my boys put up at the end of every September (I wash my hands of the whole affair).

He wanted a four pack of finger skateboards to the tune of $10. Who really plays with those things? I mean, come on ... a skateboard that you push around with your finger???? I'm pretty sure the only reason he wants them is because he noticed skull decorations on the bottom of the boards. Trevor and Sean both purchased finger skateboards at the dollar store (rewards for workbook completion) and the darn things fall apart within minutes.

He wanted Nano bugs ... little bugs that wiggle around. Walmart sells something similar individually for $6 or two for $10. However, I doubt the play value of the toy (wouldn't you tire of that quickly?? so it moves around like a real bug ... big whoop!). Plus, it appears that you are supposed to place the bugs on some sort of arena with various off-ramps. The plastic arena runs $15. Ridiculous!

He wanted Bakugan and a Playstation 2 Bakugan game. He didn't even know what Bakugan were until we went to CBLI and a few boys there carried around the small circular toy. It is supposed to open up into a small monster when you gently drop it. The key word there would be GENTLY. I can't say my boys do anything GENTLY!

He wanted the "Cuponk" game. I did save the Target ad because our Target is too far away, but our Walmart will match the price as long as you bring in the ad. Target was offering this game for $9. Walmart's price this week is $14.95. FIFTEEN BUCKS for a ping pong ball and a plastic cup. O.K., it does have an eyeball painted onto the ball and the cup has skulls, but come on.

I outright told Trevor there was no way in the world I was paying that much money for a game we could recreate at home simply by purchasing a $1 packet of ping-pong balls. Trevor and Sean spent loads of time this afternoon and evening bouncing the ping-pong balls into a cup. Trevor did also inform me that the actual Cuponk lights up when the ball goes in the cup. I offered to shine a flashlight inside the cup when his ball went in.

There were $200 worth of "suggestions" on his finalized list. I think the poor kid is going to be disappointed. He already bears a grudge against the man in the red suit because he didn't bring something that was a "must have" last year. Disappointment is a part of life, kid. Get used to it!

We will remind him that he has so much to be grateful for, including a daddy to play Cuponk with.

This morning, in the town where we visit the library, a firefighter was returning home from his night shift. He was waiting to turn into his driveway, when the vehicle behind him smashed into his car, forcing it into the pathway of an oncoming truck. His wife and 3 year old twin children heard the crash from inside their home (as did his parents, who live next door).

We are reeling from this news. John and I keep going back to it and feeling again the devastation of such news. Our prayers go out to this grieving family. We hugged our sons extra tight tonight.

And, when Trevor's birthday arrives, we will thank the Lord for six loud, interesting, endearing years that we've had with our middle son. We will also thank Him for safety and protection and the chance to play Cuponk, without paying too much money!

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