Note to self: On buying birthday presents - FamilyEducation

Note to self: On buying birthday presents

July 11,2008
Skaddadle
Todd Lieman
One of K-Man’s friends is having a b’day party tomorrow. As any parent can attest, there’s nothing all that unique about a birthday party on a weekend. In fact, as the kids grow older and get involved in more programs (or school), it seems the number of birthday parties grows exponentially. And, as any parent knows, the growing number of birthday parties means buying an equally growing number of birthday presents. Since tomorrow’s party is for one of K’s better friends, I thought I’d bring him along to pick out the gift. Bad idea.

For starters, although K-Man assured me that he understood we were shopping for his friend, J-Man, that understanding clearly went out the door the minute we stepped into the store. “Where’s the fire truck?” he immediately asked, in reference to the mini fire truck that he likes to drive. Unfortunately, the truck had been sold, and all searching for J-Man’s present went straight out the window. What I thought was going to be a quick jaunt into Toys"R"Us for a LEGO set instantly turned into a HUGE test in patience.

Since I’d been gone for a couple of days, my patience was at its peak. K-Man’s “ooh, what’s that noise?” attention span (or lack thereof) was almost amusing. Every time he heard something new, whatever he was playing with was dead to him as he went in search of the sound.

Throughout this exercise, I kept asking him what we should get for his friend, J-Man. I asked him if J-Man liked Cars? “Yeah, yeah. Lightning McQueen.” Okay, safe bet. Should we get this? “No.” How about this? “No.” How about… And then, K-Man saw exactly what he wanted to get for J-Man: a Home Depot mini-saw. As soon as K pushed the “test me!” (or whatever it says) button, he was hooked. What kid could possibly ignore that much noise? He pulled it off the shelf and proclaimed, “For J-Man.”

Great. Although I knew that J-Man’s parents would ostensibly hate us for buying him an endlessly loud noise machine disguised as a toy Home Depot saw, I was pleased that we had our gift. I asked K if he wanted anything and he pointed to a Lightning McQueen toy car. Naturally. It was reasonably cheap and, more importantly, devoid of any sort of sound effects, so it was a no-brainer. “You got it K-Man. Whatever you want.”

Normally, getting out of Toys"R"Us is an exercise in meltdowns and pseudo tantrums, but not today. K-Man seemed pretty happy with his choices, and he was all-too-happy to pay for the gifts and head home. I was somewhat amazed and surprised, but equally skeptical. Rightly so, as it turned out.

The second we got into the house, K-Man asked, “Where’s MY saw?” I tried to explain that the saw was for J-Man. I tried to remind him that he had picked it out especially for his friend. I tried to give him the Cars toy that he picked out for himself. I tried to… Well, it didn’t matter what I tried to do. He wanted the damn saw. Seems that K-Man had actually been partaking in a bit of what an ex-girlfriend of mine dubbed, “me-ology” (purchasing a present for someone else that you really want for yourself!). And, before I knew it, K-Man was the proud owner of a new toy saw. The house was soon alive with the Sounds of Not-So-Silence. Not only that, we are without a present for J-Man’s party tomorrow.

Had I just gone to the toy store by myself, J-Man would have his present, K-Man would have his and all would be right in the world. When the next friend of K-Man’s has a b’day, I’ll know better.