I’m the Mama, I Make the Rules

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. ~ Sophia Loren

Dear Family and Friends,

Baby’s first birthday is coming up. Can you believe it’s already been a year? I know I can’t.

He’s such a great kid, it’s hard to imagine that we ever didn’t have him in our lives. I know you feel the same way, and are joyously diving into the toy stores looking for lots of wonderful presents to give this sunshiney little boy for his first birthday. You want to get him something that will make him smile and laugh, something that will help him to grow and learn, and most importantly, something that will make him choose you as his favorite non-parent grown-up. Yay, fun!

I, too, am looking at presents for him. I also want to get just the right presents, things that will give him hours of enjoyment and enrich his little life. I’m following some rules, though, and I thought I’d share them with you. You know, just so that we’re all on the same page with the present-giving.

Rule 1: All gifts should be age appropriate. Okay, yes, he’ll be twelve months old, and such-and-such a toy is recommended for kids age eighteen months and up. That’s okay, he’ll be 18 months before we know it, and I can hold it in reserve for him until he’d ready for it. But if the packaging says it’s for kids ages four years and up, then it’s not appropriate. It can wait for another birthday.


Rule 2: All toys that contain plastic need to be free of BPA, PVC, lead, and all those other nasty toxic chemicals. I look on the packaging, and I check online to see if the manufacturers use these things in their toys. They can get away with being pretty dodgy, since the US government doesn’t much care to regulate them (I’m really bitter about this). So I don’t buy toys from yard sales or made by companies that include potentially harmful chemicals in their plastics. Yes, it’s more expensive that way. It’s cheaper than the copays for Baby’s medical treatments if we spend his toddlerhood poisoning him, though.

Rule 3: If the toy requires batteries, then it’s probably not for us. Kids can make lots of noise on their own, they don’t need toys that are constantly yelling at them and causing their synapses to misfire with flashing lights. Self-induced seizures can wait until he’s a teenager.

I know that it’s a lot to think about. I do. And I don’t want you to think that I’m not grateful that you want to shower my son with gifts. Just be good sports and follow the rules, okay?  You can always ask me if you’re not sure about something. Or you can go ahead and buy whatever you want, just keep the receipt and don’t be offended when I return your gifts and get something else instead.

Also, if you want to call me a Crazy Damn Hippie Intellectual, go ahead. I’m used to it.

Lots of love,

The Mama

4 responses to “I’m the Mama, I Make the Rules

  1. Birthdays are so bittersweet! My little one turns one in 6 weeks and I’m already sad! Where does the time go?

  2. Love this! Our rule back when the 1st babe was born: No Barney. I didn’t have any ideological problem with Barney, just that his voice, HIS VOICE!, made me want to pull out my eyelashes one at a time and poke toothpicks in where the eyelashes used to be. So we banned Barney. Sure enough, someone who had heard about the ban showed up at the hospital with a Barney outfit! I looked at my Honey through narrowed lids, and he said, “I’ll just take this straight to Goodwill.” We were merciless. My eyelashes remain intact, and our children are none the worse for their Barney-less childhoods. You stick to your guns, Mama!

    • Ha! I feel that way about Elmo. Obnoxious little red rat. He makes me want to commit horrific acts of violence on my television. But the way I figure it, I’ve picked other rules to be hard-and-fast on, so I might just have to live with some Elmo. We all pick our battles, right? (I’ve already got family members a bit freaked out by it all, saying, “Uh, I guess we’ll just get him a savings bond, then … “) Thanks for the pep talk, Jenn!

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