But Michelle got so excited about Halloween this year that she ended up buying Celia two different costumes. One is a Pegasus/unicorn. The other is a pumpkin. I’m sure Celia will end up as the pumpkin, don’t ask me why, I just think she likes it more. But seriously, two costumes? I don’t care if they did only cost $2 at the thrift store. She only needs one a year. When else does anybody need to look like a huge pumpkin?
Maybe I’m wrong. Perhaps we will find that moment in our daughter’s life, before next Halloween, where someone says, “Hey, we’re filming a scene where we need a baby who looks like a cross between the Ancient Greek flying horse Pegasus, and the unicorn. Know anyone who has not only an adorable and happy child, but also has that kind of costume? We’re desperate!” And we’ll say, “Wow! It’s your lucky day! Our daughter already has her Pegasus costume all ready to go!”
I think the costumes will remain a one-day affair, and unless she ends up wearing two tomorrow (which is a definite possibility with kids and their messiness factor), I think we’ll have that extra costume lying around for awhile.
Of course, now that we’ve got another “pumpkin” on the way, I don’t think we’ll declutter our lives of all this crap anytime soon.
I think that’s probably the biggest parenting shocker for me, actually. More than the lack of sleep and the achy back. When we were still pre-baby, I actually swore in front of Michelle that we wouldn’t buy any plastic toys, and we’d try to stay away from mass-marketed brands (like Disney, Barbie, etc). Ha! Ha! I laugh even now. How naïve! I was a pre-parent newbie. I didn’t realize the full extent our culture has captured us.
Not only is our house completely full of plastic toys, there are trademarked big-brands all over my kid’s stuff! I’m still reeling. Everything is plastic! Everything! And the branding! “Get them while they’re young!” you can just hear the executives at every major child-marketing institution telling each other.
They’ve succeeded with my daughter. Her favorite toy, sure enough, is the one passed along to her from a friend. Plastic Mickey Mouse and his friends who pop up when you press, squeeze, or twist the buttons. Egads.
But here’s the craziest part. Although when I first saw the toy I thought, “There’s no way that’s going into my house!” now that I see how much Celia loves it I smile when I see her play with it. In fact, I even have sunk to naming the well-known names of all the characters as they pop up.
“It’s Mickey Mouse!” I declare. Celia bounces happily. “It’s Pluto the Dog!” I shout. Celia squeals in delight. Yes, I’m participating in the branding conspiracy! But my daughter is just so cute! I can’t help but engage with her.
There is more “stuff” in my house than has ever been in my possession at any other time of my life. I constantly tell Michelle to off-load things, which she is more than happy to do (she just sent another package down to my nephew). But then, of course, she always wants to buy something else when she sees it. And so the cycle will probably continue for the rest of our child-filled lives.
I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing for Celia’s mental well-being. She definitely isn’t anything like kids from the old days, where children only had a few toys so they played with them till they got ragged and worn. Celia doesn’t bother playing with any one toy for very long. It’s like we’ve taught her to get bored easily. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe not. It scares me, but that’s the culture she happens to live in, so perhaps I need to accept it at some level.
For now, I’m not going to throw away half her toys (which would still leave her with more than I had at her age). And I’m not going to throw away her extra costume. In fact, when I think of what I really need to do next, the most important thing I need to do is come up with some sort of costume for myself that will match my daughter’s pumpkin.