I have no words for a title. Because right now I am just mad. I am ticked and I am hurt.
I got an e-mail from my sister in law saying that they don't like materialism and being that it "isn't fair" that we all have to buy for each of their three kids, they don't want it to continue this way. They have set up a new gift exchange routine that is just plain complicated, but essentially says who we will buy for with a strict amount. No draw. Oh and we will all buy for AB's sister... the one who the last two of the three years of the exchanges hasn't actually participated for some unknown reason. (She had AB each time, so I know this for certain.) But since she has no kids we are to shower her with gifts instead. How nice for her.
I hate that my kids don't know their cousins. But this is just another way to drive a wedge between already very distant cousins. "Sorry Leif, we aren't buying for those cousins. Oh and the one we are buying for, you won't receive anything from." No, I wouldn't say that. But do the kids all understand the dynamics of the exchanges? I am not sure I understand them.
As usual, I am the big stick in the mud that sent a big stick in the mud e-mail. I am on the bottom rung of daughter in laws, there is no place further to fall. I may as well tick off my mother in laws "best friend" (my SIL, aka the perfect mother).
Part of my job as a parent is to counter materialism with real parenting. It is also to teach my child that Christmas is not just about receiving, but it is also about giving and choosing items for people that are what THEY would like, and not what my son would like. And when receiving is involved since that is an inevitability (a joyous unevitibility for all kids out there) how to be a gracious recipient and to politely acknowledge the gift and the generosity of the giver.
On Thursday on the way home Leif told me he wanted to get N a surprise. We talked about this since his first suggestion was that he wanted to buy her Colorado. (Wondering if it is really... color yellow?) We decided after we talked about the logistics of "giving" Colorado, that he would give N a book, "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus". It is his favorite book and we just so happened to have a spare copy put up on a shelf as a Christmas gift for someone else (oh maybe a cousin I am no longer supposed to buy for?) He very excitedly picked out a gift bag and a big green bow to put on it. He was proud to take it to her. She said thank you and Leif was happy. He talked about giving her the book a few times this evening.
Then tonight we went to sit down to read books before bed. I asked Leif if he wanted to read the Pigeon book. He told me, "but I gave my favorite book to N", in an almost matter of fact way.
"No Leif," I told him, "you gave her a copy of the same book. See you still have the book too! You didn't give her your book." I pulled out his copy to his complete astonishment.
"Oh!" he told me excitedly. "Then let's read that one and probably N's mommy is reading her the pigeon book too right now."
I had tears in my eyes. I was so proud of him. My son did that well all the time thinking he was giving the one and only copy of his favorite book away. Even when it was time to read it, he accepted he had gifted it to someone else very matter of fact.
I do believe *I* am doing the right thing with my son.