I have never bought toys for my two children, in their presence.
At their ages - now at six and eight respectively - for some yet-to-be-explained reasons, I would rather not put them in a situation where their mind would swing to and fro in deciding which toy to get, if we decided to buy one for them. And it would certainly break my heart if I saw them get disappointed over the toys they had chosen, regretted their decision and feel unhappy about it.
At this stage, I want them to learn to be happy and contented with what they get and make the most out of it. Although we do have a reward system where they can earn points to get what they want by doing various assignment.
Our excursion at the toys department during shopping trip is when I collect hints and tips on their objects of desire. The children’s sparkling eyes on the toys, their blossoming smiles when they are holding them, their unwillingness to let go and leave, and the departing over-the-shoulder-longing looks, all help me to identify my targets. And, of course, the prices play a major part. Though I would not expose my intention to purchase to them.
When the time is right for me to give the reward, I’ll buy the toys, spring the surprises, sit back and enjoy the moments.
Their looks of surprises, the broad smiles that follow, and the occasional I-can’t-believe-it screaming and non-stop-jumping, out of the unexpected rewards are parts of what make me very happy as a parent.
One such recent occasion was when I felt satisfied with their performances during their last exam. I bought the items of their desires, and put them in their drawers for them to discover when they changed into their nightgowns. Oh, the happiness that they felt then; the happiness that I felt then; and the happiness that saturated the room then; blissful.
The same effect would never be achieved if I had told them that I decided to get them toys as rewards for their performances, then brought them to the toy store, asked them to choose, paid for the toys, and let them bring the toys home. Never indeed.
In a way, that’s how I make the most with what I’ve got. 1 + 1 doesn’t always equal 2.
These joyous moments are there to be cherished. Because, at their ages, inexpensive toys or items will do the trick. As their ages grow, the sophistication of the toys, and the accompanying price tags, will get higher. To extract the same degree of surprises and happiness from them will dig a deeper hole in my wallet, and thus, will come further in between.
Of course, kids being kids, the happiness brought by the newly acquired toys, and the ensuing excitement that make them lose sleeps at night will last no more than two days, if you're lucky.