When I was little, for my birthday in addition to gifts, I wanted a princess party or to go to Chuck E Cheese or some other kid play place. While I was thankful for the parties and gifts I was given, my little pre-teen self was also selfishly disappointed. As I grew up I definitely learned that my parents were doing the best they could and the backyard softball games that took place on several of my birthdays created memories that none of my ideas would have. I have also learned in my adulthood kids play place’s food is not nearly as good as home cooked meals and cakes.
As a parent now, I often struggle, with what is appropriate for my little John both in terms of topic and monetarily. While Ian and I are doing our best to make good financial choices, we are not well off and don’t want John to grow up with a sense of entitlement. Topic-wise there’s the obvious stuff , the blood and gore or sex or drugs of books, television and movies, but as a Christian is it damaging to watch kids shows or books where magic is implied or referenced?
Most days this is easy due to the fact that John doesn’t care about money or magic. He really doesn’t ask for a lot in either of those realms. Most of the television is PBS, which while not infallible, has many great learning shows and when we go to the store or are flipping through a magazine he is typically not a “give me” kid (as with all children some days are worse than others, but I feel he is already grasping that he can’t have everything).
However, when I started to plan John’s birthday (which was last week), I decided to go all out though. This kid love dinosaurs, He can tell you all about 50 or more different species and tells stories and plays with them all the time. His imagination has grown greatly by his discovery of these pre-historic being and he can point out and talk about features of people and animals because of his dino-shows and books.
John and I had so much fun decorating the house with dinosaurs. We had them hanging from the ceiling and on the walls. We had T-rex balloons and a little volcano. I made a chocolate cake and candy fossils with dirt in the frosting. We played pin the tail on the t-rex and made it a “dino-tastic” birthday.
While I may not know a lot about parenting and take most decisions one day at a time, I am so happy that Ian and I went all out this year. Even if it was just for a moment, we filled John’s world with dinosaurs and made a dreams come true.