Some humor for your day.

Among parents and relatives of parents and friends of parents, there exists a unique flow or exchange. This reciprocal event can be found near birthdays or holidays and usually involved bags, ribbons, paper and bows. The cycle goes back and forth until all children within a group are above a certain age, which could take years. Yes in some cases the cycle has never been broken.

I of course speak of gifts, but no ordinary gifts. Ordinary gifts consist of clothing, cash and computer accessories. For your dad you buy a beer stein, your mother a necklace, your wife a nice camera, your husband a Playstation. For your coworkers, if you’re so inclined, you offer desk calendars and for you close friends you purchase items tailor made to their desires, habits and needs.

But for children that are not your own, you buy the loudest, messiest, bulkiest gift you can find. You know that you’ll never hear the sound of a professional drum kit. You’ll never experience the wonder of 2700 crayons. You’ll never enjoy the rapture that is the bubble-pop mower. Sad to say you won’t have these joys to drool over in your own household because, well first of all you’re not mentally challenged, and second, it’s just fun to watch the faces your friends make when you buy their child of 2 years a puzzle with 4000 pieces. “Wow thanks,” they say trying to hide their mix of shock and dread. “They’ll really like this."

And they will. The children will REALLY enjoy these gifts that bark, beep, honk and tweet. They will revel in putting one of the 256 blocks in enough small places that will ensure you will be looking for them for the duration of you owning that house. They will celebrate the cacophony of hand made musical instruments at 5 am on a Saturday. The problem is, you won’t.

And that’s to be expected, for you see the cycle is vicious and unspoken. You don’t actually say to a friend or sibling, “I’ll be buying your daughter the biggest loudest thing I can find because I’ll never have to hear it, but it brings me joy to know that you will for the next 5 years.” No. You do it because you don’t have to say that. They know, you know, we all know. Loud presents, messy presents, complex presents are our way of saying, “I know you love your child and this will truly test that.”

With that in mind, I’d like to give you and instance, first hand of one such a gift. As thoughtful as it was, and as enjoyable as Little Miss Austin can find it, all it is to us is a big clean up every night. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate anyone for gifts like this, nor do I think anyone hates me for the 150 sound electronic drum set. This, in fact, encourages LMA to use her creative side, which is a good thing for both her and us, and that outweighs any malevolence; intended or otherwise.

Side story, I’m picking up LMA from school today and one of the teachers told her to sing me the song they were just singing. The song was “You are my sunshine” and she sings it beautifully, albeit without the You and My and most of Sunshine, but she has these little gestures that go with it and with that face you don’t even care that she can’t sing yet. Anyway, about half way through the first stanza and another (rather pushy) older girl comes up and pretty much hijacks her song. Well about a fraction of a second before the teacher or I could react, LMA stops and says, “No! My daddy! Go away!” Teacher and I busted up. Another minor cognitive step for my little butterfly.

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