Sophie’s first birthday is just a few weeks away, and I can’t decide whether to tell people that it’s a gift-free birthday.
She already has two whole toy-baskets full of stuff – and she mostly ignores it all. Her favorite toys this morning were the empty box that my teabag came out of and the wire whisk that I used to make cream-of-wheat. She does like some actual toys, of course. She’s got a push-rider that she always goes straight to, before anything else, and of course there’s her pink-bunny, some duplos, a water-table, a ball, a couple trucks & trains, a xylophone, an incredible indoor mini-gym-for-babies that we scored at a garage sale, some nifty stacking cups, and a few books that she’ll play with regularly. And that seems to be enough, especially since what she really likes to do is push the kitchen chairs around the room.
It would be nice to resist baby consumerism. It would be nice for the environment, and for our friends’ pocketbooks, and just for keeping the birthday a low-key celebration of what really matters, which is enjoying the company of friends & Sophie’s first year.
On the other hand, there are some toys or clothes or other baby-stuff that she might like. She doesn’t yet have a drum, or tambourine, or enough push-toys to practice her almost-here walking-skills. And I don’t want to stop anyone from getting her things that they might enjoy giving. Yesterday, before class, one of my Orange-County students was telling me about her niece’s exciting birthday party. When she asked about Sophie & I said I was thinking of making it a presents-free party, all my students gasped as if I were planning something tantamount to child abuse.
I know we’ll have a few people over for pizza, and I know that I’ll make a low-sugar cake that the babies can eat (maybe some cupcakes, so they can really make a mess & enjoy themselves). I just can’t decide about whether to have presents. Any suggestions?