Thursday, April 13, 2006

Nano, No Nano?

We are celebrating Kira's 10th birthday this week. It's hard to believe that a whole decade ago my oldest child came into this world, her ten-pound self necessitating an emergency C-section and rendering our stockpile of newborn-size diapers completely obsolete. TEN YEARS. Three more years until she's a teenager. Six years away from Sweet Sixteen. Almost halfway to drinking age. (Hear that? It was the sound of doors being bolted and the liquor cabinet being locked up.) Oh, and I forgot to mention - only twenty more years until the age we've decided she can begin to date.

While us adults have been tossing around warm fuzzy memories about birthdays past and musing on milestones to come, Kira has been hard at work, putting into words the essence of this important day: her birthday gift list, detailing not only those items she desires but also where they may be found ("Naruto GameBoy Advance cartridge [order from Naruto store, located at Or call my mom.]") I agreed to use the list to discreetly provide ideas to inquiring friends and relatives, but I put my foot down at her idea of having the fifty page tome collated and bound at Kinkos and delivered to everyone via UPS.

The first item on the list, and the thing she has been requesting for the past two years is an iPod. Rigel and I have been thinking about getting her one, but every conversation starts with, "When I was her age..." As in, "When I was her age, I got a piece of old leather for my birthday" or "When I was her age, I was hard at work in a Malaysian rug factory to earn the money for my 8-track." Lies, all of them, but I guess it was a way to help us sort out the feelings of guilt we were having in maybe overindulging her, and feeling like we had fallen prey to the electronics frenzy that has overtaken our lives. Should we get her something more practical? More socially responsible? Rigel had some ideas, but I told him I didn't want to be in the room when she opened that composting kit.

When the girls were small I tried my best to take the sensitive, low-tech approach to parenting. Talking Elmo? Bah! Come take a look at this fine Amish wooden doll! Remote controlled pony? But why bother with that when I've set up your play town made out of recycled pegboard and corn cob people! It didn't take long for the cold hard truth to dawn on me - boring, PC toys were no match for anything that lit up, spun around and spewed soap bubbles out of a spinning princess hat. Soon I was buying electronic toys by the cartload and cleaning out entire inventories of AA batteries at Target. To our credit we did hold off for three years in getting them Gameboys, but only because they were starting to wise up to the 'BoyGame' I had fashioned out of a sardine can and a transistor radio and tried to pass off as 'the newest thing in electronic handhelds!"

So, we've decided to give in, to fly our materialistic freak flag and get our oldest child an iPod Nano to mark her first decade on this earth. To show that even though we live green we can still effectively contribute to the global landfill. To say to the world, 'you don't always have to earn your children's love, sometimes you can buy it.' Call us shallow, call us overindulgent, call us jelly-spined pushovers buckling to peer-pressure, but I can't wait to see the look on her face when she peels back that wrapping paper and sees the Apple logo peeking out. And I'll bet all the money in the world that at that moment we'll be happy we didn't buy her those mutual funds.

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  1. I wholly support the Nano. I remember getting my first boom box, a sad little thing, not much bigger than the Nano, when I was eleven and graduating from sixth grade. So if they're up to "my first music-playing electronic thing" now at ten, that doesn't seem quite so bad to me.

    I will call you none of those things by the way. I think you're just a cool mom whose edge has yet to be dulled by ten years of child-rearing. You give the rest of us hope.

  2. She'll remember it forever. I still remember the great birthday gifts that I got - makes me smile!

  3. Yeah, Emily is pushing hard for an upgrade to her Ipod shuffle. Damn kid. We had VINYL for christs sake! VINYL!

    But seeing as you and Rigel will be chaperoning every school dance until they take the nun vows, I suppose it is a small price to pay.

  4. I soooo understand your mixed feelings on this. I went through something very similar when we got our oldest son a GameBoy at Christmas. She'll love it.

  5. I never pegged you for a Sucker.

    I'm so just kidding. You get that Internet, right?

    I'm pretty sure you can take sarcasm, but if you can' accidentally spilling a drink on me at BlogHer.

  6. I'll be throwing no stones. My 17 year old is perusing the internet to place his order as we speak.

  7. Yay! I love that you got her what she wanted!
    I swore I wouldn't let MY daughter get her ears pierced until at least 12 (I had to wait until I was 16 after all!) but after much discussion, debating, and deliberation ( i swear she should be a lawyer!), my husband and I agreed that she was responsible enough to take good care of the ears and the bling. It was our gift to her for her 8th birthday. It was a really special day and I'm so glad we did it for her!!
    Good for you mom! You rule!

  8. Are you getting it engraved? I've bought P a couple of Nanos - she specialises in losing them - the most fun is thinking up a message to put on the back.

    I don't believe kids should live tedious lives simply because I had to when I was their age. You don't get justice by punishing your children with "no TV" policies, carrot sticks and compulsory paper rounds. It's like saying "I had the mumps so you will too".

  9. I totally understand your struggle with this...but, I totally second Moobs comment above!

  10. I think this will be one of those presents that she never forgets getting. I remember when I was younger and Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage. I wanted one *so badly* but my mom was a single working mother and back then CP kids were expensive. She surprised me at Easter, I think, with one and I was just THRILLED. Like, beyond happy. I'll never, ever forget it. I mean, I got nice gifts from her, but that doll, man...that was the SHIT.

  11. You're my hero. Seriously, you think like I do. So glad to have some internet validation of me. Our similar experience was when we gave Girlie an EasyBake oven when she was five (believe me, she LOVED the fact that the thing was rated for eight year olds). I will NEVER forget the look on her face when she got what she wanted. I'll take that to the bank any day.

  12. i think i got a red leatherette encased record player. all hail the Nano, is all I can say. i mean, there is only so much you can craft out of recycables and chicken wire. At least she's not asking for makeup case (yet).

  13. I know how you feel. When I heard my step-sister, who is 12, is wearing makeup and reeeeally wants a cell phone. I was like "What the hell! I didn't start wearing makeup until I was at least 15 and who the hell does she need to call on a cell phone??" It makes me feel old and I'm only 26. I guess we can't compare them to us because things have changed a lot in just the past 10 years alone!

  14. This post was too funny, especially the made-up toys. Have you seen those Crafts for Kids books that suggest 1001 fun things to make with paper plates? Riiight.

    I tagged you for the 6 Weird Things About Me meme. Details on my blog. Thanks!

  15. at least make her kick it old school - gift #2 for her to ear buds,no, no, no.... get her the big, puffy, Princess Leia-style headphones. (tho dang if they aren't comfy - I'd buy th eBose if I coudl afford it).

    You're geting her the Nano for chrissakes - ya gotta mess w/ her a little bit. Or, or, you could get a very 70s macrame (sp?) Nano protector/holder.

    seriously tho, she'll remember this forever. my dad got me one at age 31, and I'm still all, "my dad's the coolest man!"
    Oh Like Jess Riley, I had same rxn to the CP kid at age 11.

  16. She will be sooo thrilled. She might even be willing to give up her cherished corn cob people dolls when she opens that Apple box.

    You are the coolest mom evah.

  17. Actual conversation with my husband in the Exotic Land Store last week:

    Me: "Oooooh! Look at those iridescent bouncy balls they have on sale! I always wanted one of those shiny balls as a kid. Wouldn't Isaac just love one?"

    Hubs: "Jae, he already has like eight different bouncy balls, and he's not even two yet."

    Me: "But he doesn't have one in exactly that size."

    We didn't buy it, but I see a Nano 5.0 (it will be the size of a nickel, hold 5,000 songs, and project holographic video, I am sure) in my son's not-too-distant future . .

  18. Mwaaa ... I WANT AN IPOD, TOO! I'm turning 30 in July, do you think I'm too young?

    No, seriously, what a cool mom and a cool kid. 10 years is worthy, I think.

  19. There's GOT to be a door prize somewhere in the hereafter for all the parents who painstakingly make an effort to balance "healthy" with "pleasurable"... and I'm not even talking about the kids!

  20. You could have always regifted the one I brought for Rigel 2 years ago that he never opened up -- I'm sure that it is still perfectly packaged and you could use the money you would have spent to buy a gift for yourself.

  21. oh- double digits! where is the rewind button? (I know you're looking for it.)

  22. Happy 10th b-day to Kira. Ten seems so far away to me. Getting her a ipod was a good idea, she'll love it. If you want to be the coolest mom around, also get her a 15 dollar gift certificate for iTunes. Sometimes you can buy happiness. I know, I'm bad, but I really see nothing wrong with the purchasing of gifts that they will love. Especially for important milestone birthdays.

  23. We can't compare what we had and did to our kids haves and do's. Today it's all about balance - a little culture, a little pop, a little veggies, a little ice cream. I think the problems ensue when something, anything, is forbidden. JMHO.

  24. I agree with the last comment. I got my Ipod last year from my husband and I was STOKED! My mom made me wait til I was 12 to get my ears pierced. So arbitrary. All the other girls had theirs pierced but I felt left out. I'm going to be a sport and let my daughter be the first to do something at some point rather than the last. Except have sex.

  25. We gave her the iPod last night at dinner. As expected, she let out a scream that made the whole restaurant take notice. I didn't realize the thing is so small - I'm just waiting for her to lose it.

  26. mom101- Thanks for the kind words. And while my edge may not yet be dulled, I do feel like it requires more frequent ‘sharpenings’ as the years go on...

    Dawn – Nun vows! I never thought of that. How does one sign their daughters up for that? Is it available online?

    Mega mom – It is my experience that the Internet is built on sarcastic wit. And with the collection of people I’ve noticed are going to BlogHer (including me) I don’t think any of us will be willing to part with even a drop of our drinks.

    Tracey – My daughters have decided (on their own) that they will get their ears pierced when they’re 16. I’ve dodged that bullet for now.

    Moobs – We didn’t buy it from the Apple store so we didn’t get it engraved. Looks like I’ll be busy tonight with my nail file and a straight edge.

    Mama_tulip – Ah, Cabbage Patch Kids. Never had one, but I do remember being slightly afraid of them. And this from a woman who used to have a collection of troll dolls when she was little.

    Liberalbanana – My girls have already asked for cell phones, but we put the kibosh on that idea when we asked them if they had enough in their piggy banks for the monthly fees. The newest thing is the Firefly, which all the younger kids have. They can only dial out to pre-programmed numbers.

    Elizabeth – Seriously, I can’t even think of ONE fun thing to do with a paper plate.

    Jen – if you lived here you would be one of their ‘fun’ aunts who introduces them to all the fly accessories. Me, I’m making her case out of paper plates.

    Norcal sis – You will be so thrilled to hear that the whole Nano episode has inspired Rigel to crack open his iPod that you gave him. Of course now it’s outdated – the handcrank in the back looks very odd.

    Melissa – iTunes cards are on her list. I believe it’s item #474.

    Stefanie – Thank God you threw in that last line.

  27. Awww. You WILL be happy you didn't get her those mutual funds because the smile she's going to give you will be priceless! Congrats on the bday.

  28. Such a bittersweet moment when we think back on our once babies.

    btw- i found you in blogexplosion and Ilove your blog! I will be visiting often. :-)

    Oh yeah, 10 lbs????? ouch.

  29. When I was her age I got a lump of coal in my stocking. No, wait, that was for Christmas.

  30. Aww, you are the sweetest mommie ever!! Only the piece of old leather could've topped that gift!

  31. The smile of appreciation from a child makes the "chuck the idealistic, simple living, anti-materialism out the window" moments all worthwhile!

    Happy 10th to your kiddo!

  32. Ughhh. My son will soon be of an age where he sees all of these cool gadgets and will WANT THEM ALL.

    He has a serious chase of "The gimmes" as it is so it will all be extra fun in a few more years...

  33. This is such a complex age for children.

    At times, I feel so much sorrow for this generation of children, as they will never know the thrill of unwrapping Christmas wrap to unveil a no-frills Cabbage Patch Kid to call their own ... nor will any millenium-child ever likely understand how it is humanly possible to enjoy spending hours throwing a Wacky Wallwalker against the wall and watching it crawl down.

    On the other hand, children of this generation are exposed to so many opportunities that were not available in previous generations. They have access to learning tools that will facilitate their utilizing an even greater percentage of their collective brains than generations before them have been able to use.

    It sounds as though you and Rigel balance the competing considerations of simplicity and modern technology very well.

    Keep your readers updated on Kira's reaction when she opens the iPod. Can't wait to hear.

  34. "but I told him I didn't want to be in the room when she opened that composting kit."

    ROFL...I'm voting for you AGAIN for CHBM MOTW because you always make me spray my beverages all over my keyboard while laughing out loud. Thanks for that. I do so appreciate it. Really. As for the gift, I don't know. Mine always gets the crazy expensive shit I won't buy her from her Grandma.

  35. I own a Nano, and I am in my twenties. When I was 10, I received a $5.00 toy for my birthday, and I think it was passed down lie.

    I am not sure how a Nano can be useful to a child. Recently, there have been cases of people robbing other teenagers for their Nanos, so that would be the only reason I wouldn't want my kids to have something so is for their safety.

    Oh, god, please buy her some mutual funds. They are so much more useful!

  36. Ack! An iPod?? There are other Mp3 players out there that are MUCH less expensive, and more durable. My husband and I have iPods, I wouldn't get one for a kid. They just don't hold up. The rubberized ones are a better idea.


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