Do you ever feel like, as a parent, you have to make “educated” decisions about the toys that come into your house?
Like, my daughter wants a Barbie dream mansion. I could just get it for her. It’s on sale right now. But I feel I have to make sure that I’m not just giving in every time she wants something. I have to weigh the benefits of having this toy over another toy. Will this toy be something that will stand the test of time? If we have another girl, yes, two kids will get enjoyment out of it. If we have another boy, it might not be so worthwhile. The boy that we have may play with it, but he’ll be in direct competition with his older sister for it and, therefore, fights will result.
Kids tend not to play with their toys for very long, so it’s hard to imagine that spending any amount of money is a wise choice.
Here’s where I tell my story about what I played with as a child (tongue in cheek):
I wanted a Fisher Price workshop. My dad fashioned a wooden mallet for me out of some scrap wood he had lying around, blunted some nails and gave these to me with a turnip and said, “Here’s your workshop. Hammer those nails into the turnip.” (I may be exaggerating a little bit. But I did have a turnip and a mallet.)
Now, I know that when I tell my kids that story, I embellish a little to enforce the point that they can’t have whatever they want. And by using that story (which is basically true), I make it sound like I didn’t have any toys as a kid and my parents wouldn’t buy me anything (which is definitely not true). But it’s like everyone’s grandpa’s story about walking to school in the snow, uphill, both ways. We know it’s not true, but each generation gets to tell how much harder it was for them. My generation is no different.
So what do I do? Give in and buy the Barbie mansion?