Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Quest for Cool

I absolutely despise having to purchase birthday gifts for the friends of my children. It is not because I don't want to be generous, and it is not because I have anything in particular against gift-giving, but typically the types of gifts I enjoy giving are not the types of gifts that children like receiving. Today I found myself in the typical minefield of the toy aisle of Target - torn between the art supplies that I want to buy and the flashy new toys that the kids have seen on a commercial. Whether it was the bliss that this cooler weather has brought to my demeanor, or the warm fuzzies that I am experiencing from being able to spend quality time with my littlest children (school started on Monday), today I caved and bought the Bakugan that my 5-year old wanted to buy. Not only did I buy one for his friend but I bought one for him so he could play along. An uncharacteristically "cool" gift from the Steele kids. I justified it by telling myself that the little kids would just basically toss them around and soon forget about them - and the big kids wouldn't be interested in them anyway. They've never had any Bakugan, the wouldn't care about it, right?

Here's the thing: I don't want to buy cool gifts. (I just realized how stupid that statement was considering that I was shopping at the Target. What did I expect?) That stems from the fact that I have no real interest in my children being cool. I want them to think outside of the Pokemon, fight the Clone Wars. But more than that, I don't want them to feel like they need to do what every one else is doing in order to have validation. Yet everytime I dig in my heels and really own what I espouse, a little something inside of me imagines my despondent kids pushing one of these things around the neighborhood -

while the rest of the kids are lighting off bottle rockets and riding around on motorcycles. I feel sort of bad for them - but if having an unwavering faith, a working knowledge of literature and art, and the ability to hold intellegent conversation is wrong I don't want to be right. I just hope they don't want to be right, either.

So Michael brought home his Bakugan and just as I thought, he tossed it around for a while and moved along to something else. I sighed a little bit of relief and went to gather my big kids from school. Upon seeing Michael's toy, they screeeamed with delight and said "Michael, let me show you how to play this. All the kids in school play Bakugan at recess!" Then Josh ran up to me and hugged my legs tightly and said, "Mommy, you're the coolest."



Christi said...

Ok,apparently I am so "uncool"...Bakugan?

Anne said...

This one made me laugh out loud. Maybe you'll find the perfect balance between digging your heels in and still being a little cool. I happen to think Bakugans are the dumbest toys (we have 10) ever made and the game is just ridiculous. However, I cannot say the same for Transformers. I am obsessed with them. But then, it's for a nerdy reason...they are really just 3D puzzles. An idea for next birthday perhaps?

Emily J. said...

I am with you, Sharon. I'm afraid our birthday invites have declined since we're known as the family that always gives books . ..

Claire is sitting here saying "Can I see my cousin Annie again? I want to see my cousin Annie. I can pick her up." Can't wait to see pictures of the newest Steele cousin before too long!

Sharon Kieffer Steele said...

Christi - I still have no idea what Bakugan are. They are these little transformer-like balls that have points and..... ah, I don't know. We're not buying them anymore - that's for sure.

Anne - I am glad you share the disdain. I am with you on the Transformers but I really love Legos. I could sit and do Legos all day - but I really hate stepping on them. And the laugh-out-loud is awesome. I love that.

Emily - HI! I love "I can pick her up." That is so funny. What is that? I remember that is all I wanted to do as a little girl, pick up other kids. 3 months to go for the little one...! Feels like forever and tomorrow all at once.

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