All Too Much

We had a nice Easter. It was busy with family, but not in a make-you-crazy kind of way and we were able to round out the day with some quality time at home. I had a moment, though, on Easter Sunday when I realized that I might not be too awesome at this mothering thing. It was fairly fleeting and not too serious, but I thought I’d share.

So, this is Eva’s Easter basket:


For the record, I realized that it was too much stuff before I even packed it up into her wagon-basket. The overdoing of Easter was a little unintentional because a lot of this stuff was gathered over time and I forgot how much I had. It was a combination of redeemed Totsy credits, redeemed Gilt credits, free gifts from Etsy sellers, a free Shutterfly photo book, and a couple of coupon sales that I just couldn’t pass up. That being said, even with all my freebies and couponing, the remaining cost of everything took about a hundred dollars out of my pocket…more than I needed to spend on Eva’s second Easter.

It was all great stuff, though, and Kyle and I were both excited for Eva to open her basket. However, on Easter morning, we got up a little slowly and had to rush off to make it to church in time to grab a spot. From church we went down to my parents’ house, where Eva got an Easter basket and found plastic eggs filled with goodies. After that we came home and opened our Easter package from Kyle’s parents, which contained more Easter presents for Eva and some treats for us. It wasn’t until we were finished with all of that and well into Sunday evening that we got around to showing Eva her Easter basket and by then her entire day had been filled with opening gifts and receiving little presents.

Needless to say, she was not too impressed with what the Easter Bunny had brought. I think she was both gift-overloaded by that point and also only one year old, so she vaguely helped me take things out, but nothing was too thrilling, even when we assembled her new talking play zoo and dressed her up in her new princess dress and read all of her new touch-and-feel books. She didn’t care. The only thing she could get excited about was her new Radio Flyer wagon…and I’m pretty sure that’s just because we used it to take her to the playground. The rest was all just plastic noise to her.

After she went to bed, I was cleaning up the Easter carnage and I picked up one of the baby dolls she had received. It’s a little Madame Alexander doll with a sweet dress and a soft body and when I used Totsy credits to pick it up for her, I was so excited because I had a doll that looked just like it when I was little and I loved that thing to death. I imagined Eva getting excited about her new baby and carrying it around and having it be something that she’d have always. The reality was that I hadn’t even been able to get her to look at it twice before she tossed it on the ground and stepped on it to get a better look at the inside of the wagon.

Yes, I know that she’s one and it’s unrealistic for me to think that she was going to have a Clara and the Nutcracker moment with this little doll, but it’s not like this doll has very good odds of being loved. At this point, Eva has bins and bins and bins of toys. This doll is probably the thirtieth doll she owns and we already do snuggles and bedtime kisses and pretend feeding with other dolls in the house. So, having missed her shot at being this amazing Easter present, this doll just got kicked to the back of a long line if plastic items vying for her attention…even though it’s Madame Alexander and it’s darling and if some other little girl had gotten it in her Easter basket it could have been an amazing, special gift to be cherished. In our house, it’s a McDonald’s toy.

So, I had a moment where I really considered packing all of Eva’s new toys up and donating them. I felt guilty, because between Christmas and Hanukkah and her birthday and Easter, we’ve just been dumping new toy after new toy on her and that doesn’t even include the thrifted toys she’s received or the little surprises we pick up just because it’s a Tuesday. She has nine Breyer horses, six Little People playsets, five Disney princess dolls, and two Calico Critter homes (complete with families) but she has no favorite toy. There’s nothing that stands out for her because she’s constantly getting something new. The only thing she pulls out herself are her books and she’ll happily spend a half hour in the middle of a pile of toys reading the same board book over and over.

It was good that I had this little reality check and I did pack up a few toys to be saved for later. I think in our eagerness to give her everything she wants, we’re not actually giving her time to want anything. We’re also falling into the trap of collecting things that are free or discounted, even when we end up paying shipping or we don’t need that particular toy in our home. So, I’m on a baby purchase diet. No more thrifted toys. No more clearance rack outfits. No more little things just because it’s Tuesday and I love her. We’re going to make a real effort to focus on playing with the things she has as a family so she has time to cultivate a few favorites all on her own.

It’s a solid plan. I feel good about it.

spoiled rotten in her new ears from great-grandma and her Janie and Jack dress
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  • Reply Kyle

    Me too.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm
  • Reply Hope at Disneyland

    I never got an Easter basket growing up but I did look forward to new dresses to look pretty in on that day. I think you guys should just hide all the toys and re-gift them to her over time. She'll never know the difference and that way you can give her time to "want" things. That's sort of what we've been doing for Christmas to save money. We've given each other a lot of stuff over the years and some stuff gets forgotten so it's nice to be able to reacquaint ourselves with them for "free". 🙂

    Btw, I LOVE LOVE LOVE those Calico Critters. I used to love going to the Dept. Store where they were all set up in the Toy Dept in a giant dollhouse so I could play with them and I would get excited when I got a new one so I could complete the family. 🙂

    April 10, 2012 at 10:25 pm
  • Reply -J.Darling

    Sounds like a GREAT plan. It's not uncommon for "first kids" to get, well, buried in toys. But it's great that she is surrounded by parents who understand that "stuff" does not equal "love".
    I'm sure she won't notice if some toys make it into the hands of children who don't have anything. Sounds like books are really her things right now, and that's awesome!
    Stuff is just "stuff". It can be lost, broken, stolen, wear out, etc. But the love of her family will never wear out, break, be stolen, or lost. I wonder if you guys might want to consider a yard sale or bundling some toys and selling them to save up for a new family experience (like a trip or something) instead? Just food for thought.
    Great job guys!

    April 11, 2012 at 4:16 am
  • Reply Jones Family

    You are a wise mom! I remember the same feeling with my first girl, too. We started giving things like play tickets and swimming lessons for birthday's and such. Lyvia likes that so much more!

    Another idea for you to consider: I rotate my girls toys every few weeks. I just have a big bin in the closet that half the toys go in. Then at the end of the month the toys that are out go in the bin and out come the "new" toys. It's also a great way to see what really gets played with- and makes it easier to regift/give away/donate the rest!

    You are a fabulous mom and I love reading about your cute family.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:25 am
  • Reply Victoria at Figuring Out The Details

    Oh girl. This was a bit heartbreaking to read – I understand the desire to give your baby everything, and to pass down loving memories like those of yours with your own doll. So it sounds like a good thing you are becoming more self-aware about all the stuff and overstimulation that is leading to for your girl.

    I am unpopular with my mom and MIL on this topic, because I have been very blunt about requesting they rein it in with the gifts. But I know from watching George that he's happier and more focused when there are just two or three toys out. I agree with the above commenter about rotating stuff out – we keep a couple toys in the living room, a couple in the playroom, one or two in his bedroom, and the rest in a storage bin in the garage. He has favorites, and it's been awesome to see him light up and remember them when I bring them back into rotation.

    Good luck! You can do it, momma.

    April 12, 2012 at 2:08 am
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