We go through
unusual lengths and efforts to prepare that perfect gift for
those we are fond of. If there is such a thing as the perfect
gift, I have never managed to find it for others. But certainly
not for want of sincere efforts from my side to scout around
town. It is just that it is often not possible to locate tangibles
that replicate the precise intangibles we had in mind before
venturing out for the most befitting gift for a person. With
children, I've heard many parents say, it is straightforward.
All toys, board games and books now come with their age specifications/recommendations
duly in place, which makes buying a birthday present for a child
not so difficult after all. But again, I am not so sure.
as the present is in sync with the child's basic area of interest,
children are happy with whatever you give them. I've been observing
my little one when he expectantly tears open his gifts. The
excitement value of uncovering a tiny car on wheels (even if
a mere pencil sharpener on wheels) is equal to receiving a slightly
bigger Hot Wheels, equal to a big car with flashing lights and
sirens. Unfortunately, we all go overboard in buying presents
their toy boxes with remote controlled cars and dolls that breathe,
dance and nurse, we have left little to our child's imagination.
Kids, with their overactive imagination, have the ability to
impersonate life as they see and experience around them, and
replicate these life-like situations with their toys. They can
conjure up mountains and rivers where there are none, castles
underneath a dining table, let a cushion suffice for their chariot,
and apply crayons on their lips to get mom's lip shade! Place
a remote control in their hands, and their entire will gets
concentrated on steering their vehicles without a bang. And
there, we've killed their imagination. We give them prefabricated
roads, bridges and tunnels. I know it's thrilling, but where
is the dexterity of having car races down the straight bars
on the floor tiles?
being aware of its shortcomings, I make the same mistake: a
conscious mistake, of buying these fancy toys as gifts for other
children. Call it social conditioning. Blame it on the embarrassment
of carrying a simple present for a child. Blame it also on the
unavailability of simple toys in the bigger stores.
I would stick to presenting them with books, I have seen my
book being tossed aside by the young eager recipient only to
make it a landing base for the helicopter he'd just received.
The plus side, that was pretty imaginative! I have given books
to kids who were happier breaking the limbs of their dolls or
wheels of their cars. The plight of the books only confirmed
my worst fears. On the other hand, I have given cars to children
who consider books their best friends. Perhaps a brief call
to the parents before buying a present for the child would have
helped me make better buys, more suited to the child's tastes.
But that may not be possible all the time.
my fair share of goof-ups too. I once took fancy bubble gums
for a young girl, only to be told in veiled terms by the parents
that gums are on a banned list for the child. Like it as I do
to play Father Christmas to little kids in the neighbourhood,
the exercise has backfired a couple of times. Christmas over,
I've seen the kids making the lives of the parents miserable
for the next few mornings for more visits from Santa. Only,
these parents have been too polite to complain.
time a parent was not all that polite was when upon opening
some presents for her seven month old daughter, she sermonised:
"didn't you know you shouldn't bring stuffed toys for children
under 10 years of age? They trap dust, which leads to asthma
and a lifelong assortment of allergies". My good lord,
I honestly hadn't seen 50 years in the future while buying a
little teddy for her.
we stuff our present bags with toffees and candies knowing well
that they are harmful for our children. I've seen parents steal
unhappy, but helpless glances when I am offering toffees to
kids; but then, so have I squirmed at the sight of my child
licking on candies which have just been presented to him by
his favourite uncle and aunt.
for children is hardly child's play. There have been occasions
when several exchanges have been made at a toy shop for that
one birthday present. Today has been one such day. There's a
birthday bash in less than an hour's time, and I am still wondering
what to buy for that little young man! But, as The Hubby says,
you should buy what you think is best suited to that child's
needs and interests. Leave the rest to the child. He's the best