When our first son had his first birthday I remember going all out on presents. When my second boy turned 1, we did a lot less for him, as he had his brothers toys to play with, but still we got him some cool expensive stuff to call his own.
When Soren turned 1, I did something totally different.
One thing I have learned after having three kids is that no matter how many cool toys you buy them, what they really want is your stuff. Specifically:
- Your wallet
- your cell phone
- your car keys
I have battled with every child to retain my stuff as my own and not their chew toy. I have tried buying each child their own toy keys, their own toy phone. And while the interest is there initially, their excitement wanes fast. And they go back to attempt to steal my stuff.
Over the past few months both J and I have waged war on Soren as he tries to take our wallets and hide our credit cards. I keep mine in my purse high up, but anytime I pull out my wallet at a store the battle begins as he tries valiantly to swipe my wallet. I'm sure it's quite the amusing scene to the cashier and people waiting, as he and I lock hands over my wallet and play tug-a-war.
My keys are another topic. Once in awhile I will hand them over to keep him quiet when we're out. And he chews on the lock pad. I have been waiting for the day when his slobber short circuits my lock and I cant get into my van.
And my cell phone. I recently got a Droid and I'm sorry but I will fight to the death before I let him have it. However he's sneaky. I'll be sitting on the floor catching up on email when he comes in from behind, trying to snatch it out of my hands.
So instead of buying him a toy, seeing as we have enough toys for 30 kids already and he loves his older brothers toys more than his own, J and I made him a set of "real" things he adores.
J found him a mini bag, the same color and fabric as my purse/bag (olive green so it's not feminine). And J found him a real wallet. I filled the wallet with plastic cards and expired passes to the zoo and museums.
I found a bunch of keys to nowhere and a lock pad keychain to a car we no longer own. I found a couple more cool keychains and strung them together.
And then I dug up my old cell phone.
His birthday present cost a total of $15. But his happiness since he realized what was in it, and the fact we werent upset with him tossing plastic cards around or chewing on a real cell phone has been priceless.