Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Over recent months I have been busily developing a complex that I am the aunt who gives the dodgy birthday presents. For all I know, I have the reputation for foisting the kid equivalent of soap-on-a-rope or a seven pack of beige undies upon nieces, nephews and other birthdaying school-aged persons.
I am also the aunt who upon entering a large toy shop has been known to mutter like a crazed nutter. Plastic McDonald’s play food to instil an early understanding of nutritional balance? Bratz doll to teach your young diva a healthy respect for her body and pine for an ever larger head? Branded, co-ordinated outfit to match bedlinen, television viewing, books, schoolbag, lunchbox, breakfast cereal, toothbrush...?
Only the third paragraph in and I’ve come across all wholegrain and soap box. While I would infinitely prefer to steer well clear of branded toys and cheap plastic destined for landfill within two weeks, we do have some of this stuff around our place – often gifted by concerned relatives at birthdays and Christmas. If they aren’t used, these toys are donated at the earliest opportunity to the local op shop, (although a screechingly vile musical instrument will one day realise a less worthy demise, when this Mum finally comes over all heavy metal and guitar thrashing).
I’m pretty sure a computer game or two, would make things a lot easier these wintry school holidays, but so far, as far as I can tell – and my radar is up – my kids aren’t ‘missing out’. They attend a Steiner school, so the pressure isn’t yet there to own the latest fad or gadgetry. To date, they do have an appreciation for far simpler play things and, oh so importantly, they do have imaginations that soar up to the sky. I know the clock is ticking before they start to spread their wings wider, but in the meanwhile I am very happy to protect a childhood for as long as I can. Plenty of time for the real world later.
So what to give my seven year old’s three birthdaying classmates on Sunday? After detailed art direction from the party goer and strict quality control...
... these wheat bags were given the thumbs up (no doubt only because our house is FREEZING). There is every possibility each wheat bag is competing with the complete set of something highly kid-covetable that I wouldn’t know about because I’m living with my head in the sand. But three birthday kids will be warmly tucked up in their beds and I’ll be sleeping soundly at night.
Wheat bags based on the pattern by Claire of Loobylu fame and found in Pip’s excellent book. Stash fabrics including bits and bobs of Auntie Cookie.