'Tis the gift to the simple...

Hey friends! I am at Reedman-Toll FIAT (Langhorne, PA) this week talking about the New Year's Resolutions we should
make as vehicle owners and drivers! Resolve to make some changes to be the safest and happiest 
driver on the road! Stop by and check it out! 

Our holiday decorations are down and the tree is put away (much to the chagrin of my husband and son, who would leave it up until Super Bowl Sunday if I let them). Our living room is done being a joyful repository of Christmas magic and is back to being the place where I routinely leave my pink Uggs in the middle of the floor.

That said, the aftermath of the holidays are still strewn all about our apartment in the form of PJ's presents. His books and trains and hockey helmet and the cement mixer he had coveted. It's a first world problem, and I am a little ashamed to admit it, but here it is:

PJ is spoiled.

I don't think that he is spoiled in terms of behavior. He knows there are rules, he is expected to share, and he understands the consequences for his actions. Autism-related meltdowns aside, we do our best to make sure he's not the kid getting the stink eye from Applebee's patrons because he's climbing into our neighbors booth. But PJ has an alarming amount of stuff, and that gives me pause.

Books are a perfect example of something I rarely say no to. 

There are a number of reasons why this got out of control. It started with being first-time parents who could not resist all the cute things. While I was pregnant, I swore I would not go overboard with infant toys because babies could give two shits about them. Then PJ was on the outside, and I spent his first Christmas, when he was all of 30 days old, trying to get him interested in the wrapped gifts under the tree. Spoiler alert: He. Did. Not. Care.

It went on in the same strain until PJ was diagnosed with Autism. Then it became a race to try and somehow out-buy what was happening to my baby. Flash cards? Dolls to encourage pretend play? Games to help with interpersonal interactions and practice with turn taking? Bought it, bought it, bought it twice.

Now, we have our rookie mistakes in addition to our Autism guilt and it all is contained in closets, shelves, and random space dedicated to toys. On top of that are all of the beautiful, thoughtful gifts that PJ is showered with for his birthday and Christmas. Those gifts, if I really face the truth, are not the problem. Those are not the gifts that are sometimes trying to either bury or lift up the things going on with my son. We tell ourselves he doesn't need all of this stuff, that it is all too much, that it, in fact, causes him to be completely overwhelmed sometimes. But still, our guilt hands seem to reach for the wallet every. single. time.

He's blurry, he's opening presents that fast! 
I'm trying to scale things back- get rid of the stuff he doesn't play with, try to keep what he does have organized so he doesn't get overwhelmed, and most importantly, trying to segue my Mom Guilt into something that won't clutter or house and/or leave us broke (or me fat, ie, stress eating). We need to realize that trips to Toy 'r Us need to be for the big earners and not because he took two bites of meatball (well, I would use a cookie to bribe him for that, but you get my drift). It would be one things if we were spoiling him just to spoil him. Not a great parenting choice, but something that happens. But in our case, we're trying to somehow use Toy 'r Us to take the edge off of Autism, and that's a losing battle.

So, even though I said I was going to pass on making New Year's Resolutions this year, rethinking what we buy for PJ and when will be an improvement we will try and make. We want PJ to grow up with an appreciation for the things he has, along with an ability to be satisfied with the things he needs and a little extra. And, as it turns out, we're the ones who will guide him that way.


  • Snow Day Bingo Printable

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    Rachel said...

    I totally know what you mean about all the "stuff" because Carter has tons of stuff too! He literally has toys from his first birthday still in their boxes I forgot about in the closet and more toys than a day care! I am having a hard time going through it all and getting rid of stuff though!

    Lou Lou Girls said...

    Hello cute lady! Thank you for hosting such a fabulous party. Please take a moment to stop by our party. We would love to have one of your amazing posts at the party. Happy Tuesday! Lou Lou Girls