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ONE FOR MY INNER CHILD
I think that it must be some sort of parental overcompensation to want to buy your children all the things you never had when YOU were a kid. Especially the toys. I mean, I ALSO want to share with them all the things I had and loved, like certain books,* and Spirograph, and Etch-a-Sketch. But when I stop and think about it, who did I really buy that Slip-n-Slide for last week?

We've been kicking around the idea of getting one of those gigantic bone-breakers trampolines for the kids for the last year or so, and I think if we ultimately break down and get one, it won't just be because all the other kids in Sweden have one, or that if we had one, we would know exactly where our children were when they were outside (not a bad argument, actually), but because neither one of us had one when we were children.

Sometimes, though, it totally backfires, because the things that were so COOL and GROOVY and the BEE'S KNEES when we were little sprats are jaw-crackingly-yawn-inducing for our over-indulged, modern, technologically-savvy offspring. Wooden Brio trains? Eye-rolling. Winnie-the-Pooh? That's for babies, mom! Spirograph?? *collecting dust on the shelf*. Who needs a nifty stand-up 2-sided easel with CHALK when you have Paintshop Pro Kids on the computer?

We don't want our children to be DEPRIVED. But, by not buying into the latest "keeping up with the Svenssons" must-have summer accessory, I don't necessarily think we are depriving our children, since I think that they will learn to use their imaginations and their creativity much more if they DON'T have every piece of plastic-electronic-fad-trendy-pokemoniacal THING that all the other kids have. I can remember the feeling of complete deprivation when I wanted something so bad my mouth literally watered, and the only real reason was because all my friends had one. You can't be part of the cool kids club if you're a have-not, and I don't think that's true for just the modern generations. I'm pretty sure that Laura Ingalls Wilder had some angsty moments about the number of crinolines the other girls were wearing at some barn dance or something.

So, I feel this sort of vicarious treating of MYSELF when I buy something for the kids that is the current must-have toy of the moment. Thankfully, most of the fads around here seem to be about 30 years behind the times...the latest hot toy is marbles, for crying out loud. My daughter has been nagging us relentlessly for a Gameboy or TV game console, but I'll be damned if I'll add another thing to our house that encourages sitting in front of a screen. They get enough of that bad role-modeling from me/computer and Anders/television, plus their own library of children's computer games (they're English! They'll help with spelling! And vocabulary! And, uh, cognitive recognition!...and in all fairness, they HAVE, but, well, still.**)

So, they get a few Pokémon cards, and marbles, and a Slip-n-Slide once in awhile. But they also have a playhouse, and wooden trains and an easel, and I share the good books too, the ones that taught me to dream and imagine and play and laugh, the ones that will teach them, too.

Slip-n-Slide!

Wheeee!

Julia over at Hippogriffs wrote a delightful bit about things we're good at and things we have to work at, which reminded me about my recent musings. Her thoughts are much more succinct, and infinitely more amusing (warning, if you don't want to read a hilarious, but lengthy, treatise on potty-training problems after you click on that link, stop after her 3rd paragraph).

Really Great Writing Out There Right Now: Vicious Gossip

More Really Great Writng Out There Right Now: Too Many Books Isn't Enough

*It's a firm belief of mine that no child should come into this world without their very own copy of Winnie-the-Pooh, for example.
**Copyrighted Slaughter-family argument ender number one.
 cynical
mood: cynical
music: Small Faces—Itchycoo Park


Comments

"I'm pretty sure that Laura Ingalls Wilder had some angsty moments about the number of crinolines the other girls were wearing at some barn dance or something."

Haha! That made me laugh out loud.

I think you're totally right about the parents buying thing for their kids that they secretly want. I think that's why stuff like CareBears and Rainbow Brite and Hello Kitty have been back recently. It's nostalgia for all the 20-something year old parents!!

Nice to see their have been advances in Slip-n-Slide technology. We had no soft cushion at the end of ours. Sliding off the end and crashing into the shrubbery or getting grass-burns on your knees was just a risk you had to take. ;)

With the trampoline can you get the kind where a hole is dug into the ground, so the trampoline surface is ground level? Those seem much safer to me.

They did end up with grass all up their butts, though, so things haven't changed all THAT much! :P

It's funny how short the Slip-n-Slide looks in the photos. It's actually quite long :)

I've never seen trampolines that are ground level. The ones here are all about chest-high on me, and HUGE. You can buy these net enclosure things that go all around them, but they cost a fortune on top of the fortune the trampolines already cost.

*there have been advances...

(wish you could edit comments for typos!)

me, too! I wonder if the LJ staff has THAT improvement under consideration?!

Marbles, wasn't it yo-yos two years ago or so? I remember being asked to bring one with us for a friend of G's whose son was desperate for one and the local toy store was all sold out. I'm secretly hoping Ingrid will just love to play jacks when the time comes.

We used to just wet down the grass in the backyard for our Slip 'n Slide. There was a small hill at one end of the yard and if you got enough speed going, gravity combined with wet grass would work just as well. Or so we told ourselves because we never had the real thing. ;-)

This morning Ingrid asked for a pogo stick. She's much too little still but if the day ever comes that I get one for her, you can bet that I'll be taking a turn on that one.

I'm secretly wishing for those big rubber bouncing balls that you sit on, with the handles so you can bounce around...I can't remember the name. Why don't they make those in adult sizes??

by not buying into the latest "keeping up with the Svenssons" must-have summer accessory, I don't necessarily think we are depriving our children, since I think that they will learn to use their imaginations and their creativity much more if they DON'T have every piece of plastic-electronic-fad-trendy-pokemoniacal THING that all the other kids have.

I have only to look at my sister's children, happily growing up without television, video games, or electronic toys, to know that your kids are not deprived in the slightest. (Of course, she has an easier time of it, since all the other families with whom they get together socially are following a similar "no tech" approach.)

I have no doubt that drawing the line somewhere in the middle is far, far trickier. How much is too much? How much is too little, and only serves to tantalize the little ones with unattainable entertainment?

It's one of those areas of uncertainty that make me relieved not to be a parent, but it sounds looks (to my unqualified ears eyes) like you've managed to lay out a rational, objective analysis of your motivations. ;-)

I have no doubt that drawing the line somewhere in the middle is far, far trickier. How much is too much? How much is too little, and only serves to tantalize the little ones with unattainable entertainment?

It's true, it's really difficult sometimes. We do have fairly strong ideals about what we think is and isn't appropriate for our children to play with or be exposed to at this age. I don't think there's anything wrong with going over to a friend's house because you want to play with a certain something that that particular friend has. There's something to be said for the character-building that envy and ambition can create. At the same time, you are right that we don't want to go overboard in the other way either. Everything in moderation, even moderation! :D

First, these are wonderful pictures! Just what I needed to see on a hot summer day. Now I want to play in the hose, too...

Second, I went back and read your Musings link, and we seem to have much in common! I, too, sing in the choir, and when I worked I did graphics and web design.

Well, hello!

I knew you sang in a choir (from your map) but did't know about the graphics / web design. Cool! Kindred spirits are always welcome round these here parts. :) By the way, I just went back and edited this entry to add another super link to some really great writing :)

I wish they made a Slip-n-Slide for grownups. But then again, it'd take up a little more space than I have out on my inner-city balcony, so I'll just come over and hog the one your kids are playing with. Not much room for the Slide part, but the Slip should be pretty easy to do.

Heh! Considering that this body will never see a bathing suit again, in all likelihood, it's definitely a vicarious thrill I'm having. :P

My sister always talks about toy overcompensation for her children. Growing up, neither of us had that many. Slip N' Slide, though, is not a yard luxury, it is a MUST. My best friends had one when I was little; ohhhhh, did I covet. Slip N' Slide encourages exercise too and is thus useful. Not like those booger-sized Polly Pockets toys that are only good for stepping on and getting stuck between couch cushions. Martin and Karin look like they're having the best time in the world!

p.s. Laura Ingalls had doll angst over at Nellie Olson's, lol.

They had a blast, but man, the water was SOOOO cold! What you can't see in those pics is the uncontrollable shivering :D

Polly Pocket is an abomination. A little, rubber abomination.

Thank you for bringing back some wonderful memories of our family's slip 'n slide :)

this was a wonderful entry, thank you. i am a firm believer that (as far as is possible without alienating your kids from their peers) you should encourage them to make their own entertainment - whether this is with a traditional game/toy or simply with a book or paper and crayons. yes, i'm old fashioned. yes, i'm biased because i HATE computer games and all they stand for. and yes, i don't have any children of my own so this is all hypothetical. but i admire you for it and back you 100%.

although i admit, too, that my opinions may be a tad selfish in that i'd probably spend more time on the Spirograph (yay!) than they would ;)

the first paragraph of Too Many Books Isn't Enough is priceless..PRICELESS i tell you.

great pictures..
My daughter in Portland [26] is organizing the second annual team slip-n-slide competition to be held in Oregon park [I think.. anyhow thats where it was last year]
They had a blast last year in their silly costumes, all these twenty-somethings dressed up in funny swimsuit costumes with funny team names all wet and shivery.. I hope I can make it up there this year to watch.

Slip-n-slides, the best!!

What a hoot! I wonder if I could manage to organize something like that for the AWC sometime! :D

(Anonymous)

re trampolines... My brother and sister-in-law have one in their backyard and the kids love it. The 7-year-old could spend hours on that thing (but then, she's the gymnast in the family). But the 14-year-olds also likes it...in other words, it's still 'cool' to jump. And yes, if you drive through their neighborhood, it seems like you see one in every other backyard. But I think they're great because anything that encourages the kids to GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY is okay in my book. :) ~Marilyn

I agree :) AND they are made for adults, too, not just kids... Hee!

Slip an dslide rocks. The kids here love them (includng my child.)

Wehn I was home last week I found my old Magic Window. I played with the toy for hours. My poor daughter could not get me to share it!

What's Magic Window? Is that like a Viewfinder?

Itchycoo Park!!! You are a goldmine for obscure oldies!

One of my LJ friends gave me a pile of oldies :) I love them!

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