A Paper Bag and a Piece of Bologna

October 25, 2009

Though it’s only October, I’m already in Christmas shopping mode. My hope is to distribute our spending over the course of a couple of months rather than cramming it all in at the last minute and starting the new year in abject poverty.

With Wyatt now three years old, I’m starting to feel that all-too-common parental compulsion to “go big” for him. Perhaps he’d like a Leapster. How about that creepy life-sized robotic horse? Or maybe one of those Hummer all-terrain vehicles he could use to run over the cats and destroy my garden.

Luckily, before I let these grandiose yet totally idiotic ideas get the better of me, my husband, Christian, told a funny story at the dinner table the other night that snapped me back to reality. He’s a PE teacher, and all year, he’s been struggling with the Kindergarteners, trying to come up with creative games for them that would keep them amused while also teaching them some sort of new skill. Unfortunately, his ideas have largely been disastrous, mostly because the little tykes can’t follow really basic instructions.

So on a day when Christian wasn’t feeling particularly jazzed about explaining a new game to the Kindergarteners for the umpteenth time, he decided to try something painfully simple. He lined the curtain climbers up on a blue tape line on one side of the gym, and on his whistle, he told them to run to a line on the other side. Then he blew his whistle again, and they ran back. Rinse and repeat.

To his great surprise, the kids loved this activity. They smiled and asked for more. He thought to himself, “What the heck have I been doing all year? Why have I been breaking my back to come up with all these new activities? I could throw out a paper bag and a piece of bologna, and they’d think that was the greatest game ever.”

Christian certainly has a way with words. 🙂

I have adopted his paper-bag philosophy as my guide while Christmas shopping this year for my own little dudes. I need to remember that Wyatt would much rather play with a cardboard box full of Styrofoam peanuts than the expensive electronics that came inside it. And Graham just has no clue.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not going to go totally cheap and boring on the boys this year. But it’s always helpful to remember that sometimes the simplest gifts are the most used and loved.

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Published in: on October 25, 2009 at 2:45 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I’ve been trying to do the same thing with the kiddie Christmas shopping, and I’m finding that some of the simplest toys are somewhat expensive, so don’t worry about cheaping out!


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