Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy birthday to Emma, happy birthday to you....

It is not Emma's birthday today, although I hear a lot about her birthday lately.  Ever since Mandy's birthday last month, Emma has been obsessed with her own pending celebrations on November 9th. She's had plenty of birthdays in between to remind her how much she wants her own.  

You see, from September to December we have a corridor of birthdays of Emma's family and friends:
  • Mommy
  • Josh, cousin
  • Benton, cousin
  • Nora, friend
  • Paul, uncle
  • Grace, friend
  • Priscilla, cousin
  • Daddy
  • Kelly, aunt
These are just the birthdays between Mandy and Emma. There are more after her birthday in November and December. It is quite the corridor for us. At each celebration, Emma gains new ideas about what she wants. She talks about her wish list all the time and every store we enter is full of possible birthday gifts that she wants. Here is a sampling:

  • Barbies
  • horses like aunt Juli
  • princess pj's
  • princess belt
  • All the kid stuff from the Avon catalog including High School Musical slippers and bedding.
  • dancing dress
  • shoes that light up
  • shoes for Sunday School
  • shoes for working
  • pretties for her hair
  • drawing things
  • paint
  • motorized John Deere mule
  • cow girl boots
  • princess movies
  • candy
  • play kitchen
Emma has so many nice things already, I try and try to remind her of the toys she already has and the lovely clothes she already owns, but nothing sways her from dreaming/coveting nice new stuff. Her birthday will come and go and then it will be Christmas and she'll get more new great stuff that will get old before we know it. Any idea about how to teach a child to appreciate what she already has instead of wanting new and better? I still have this problem, so I feel pretty ill-equipped to teach her the principle. 


Shawna said...

Sounds like you need to find some light up cowboy work boots that she can wear to Sunday School! I have no answers to offer. it is a tough situation. We are so fortunate. How about giving some things away to allow the new to come in? (I think I remember you saying you did this already)

I loved her list by the way! Madison got a play kitchen for her birthday (today) (It is a tiny version made for little little girls) and Daddy is playing with her right now and I can't get over the pretend play that is going on right now.

My Mom used to take us shopping for a child our age from a giving tree at the mall. We would pick a child our age and then go pick out something we would like and give it to the other child. Emma might be too young to get the principle of this way but it worked for me but I was older. I know one thing that my Mom always tried to instill in us is a love of giving. Some of the kids I am around now are all about "What did you get me" and one year I didn't get them anything and I said back "the same thing you got me". They are older but I just got tired of hearing the "me me me" because it just wasn't like that when I was little. I sure hope I am able to instill a love of giving for Madison.

Good luck, wow you have a lot of birthdays this time of year!

simplykersh said...

Yeah, ditto! Let us know when you find out the answer.

Anti-consumerist Jeff has suggested taking her out of the American culture, but we haven't even succeeded in that. Although it has crossed our minds to join an Amish community, but if not that at least a nice hippie commune.

Lindsay said...

This has got to a constant struggle in the world we live in. Just being aware of how blessed you really are and sharing that with Emma will rub off.....eventually. I think most kids are pretty self-centered. Every time we walk through Walmart I hear all about the things Anna wants for her bday, too!

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Melanie said...

This doesn't directly answer your question, but one of the ways my mom tried to switch the focus of Christmas from GETTING gifts to GIVING gifts was this way:

Christmas morning, when it came time for gifts, we divided up the things under the tree according to who was giving the gifts rather than according to who they were for. Then, we would go around in a circle and take turns giving a gift. It made us all a little more excited about what we were giving.

Andee said...

I like melanie's idea a lot. I might have to steal that one. This year we are going shopping for Operation Christmas Child. I don't know that Benton really gets the concept yet though. He loves everything about presents.
I heard a lady on the radio say her mother used to make them give away one toy they loved every year. It taught them that things are just things and shouldn't be held onto so tightly and cultivated a spirit of generosity. I don't know if I could do it, honestly, Make Ben give up a Bob the Builder toy? It seems this approach could backfire rather easily.
So I'm no help at all. But I do look forward to reading other people's suggestions.

Kari Wright said...

my kids know I give away a lot of our know the syndrome, clean out the closets and piles of stuff. unfortunately they think that I give away broken things. I replaced Caiden's umbrella last week and he wanted to give away the broken one...generous!

Cathy said...

That's always a tough one with kids. You have some good ideas posted here. I really like Melanie's too. Even though our "kids" aren't kids anymore, I think I might try that this Christmas! Sounds really cool. Sorry I don't have any ideas for you. It's always been a struggle and one of those things that I feel like I've tried but failed to teach my kids. Once in awhile, we see a glimmer of hope though and I latch on to that!