Two Steps Forward...

You may recall me complaining about what I perceived to be the precocious push toward ____________at my son’s daycare. I don’t know what to call it. It’s, you know, when people feel the need to show their affection through sugary treats and junky toys, but it’s not even necessarily true affection because it’s more of an obligatory recognition of mostly meaningless consumerism holidays. Mothers of two year olds stuffing every child’s cubby holes with from-China-to-the-landfill “goodies” and stuffing their tummies with high fructose corn syrup. (Is there a word for that?)

I asked for advice on how to handle the situation, given my misgivings about it and was wholeheartedly told to stick to my guns and do what I believed in. So, for Turtle’s 2nd birthday, when I was reminded that I was welcome to bring something to school for a special celebration, I declined. When I was then asked whether I minded if the teachers created their own special celebration for him, I happily welcomed them to do so, as long as the focus was friends and fun, rather than unhealthy food.

I was happy with the result. They created a construction paper birthday “crown” for him to wear all day and at morning snack presented him with a banana with candles to blow out after they sang Happy Birthday. And there were somebody’s leftover monkey patterned napkins. 

That's it.  No cake, no crap, just a fancy banana.  We picked him up and his eyes were still sparkling under his crown from the excitement of being the center of attention for much of the day. Score one for us!

A few weeks later, I was reading the parent newsletter they send home and saw this:  

Now, I never even said anything to anyone, so I can take no credit for this policy change, but who cares? Score two!

Then we were out sick for a few days and apparently missed someone else’s second birthday. We returned to find --- (cue dramatic music) --- a goody bag in our cubby. And, to add insult to injury, it wasn’t some kind of hand crafted goody bag filled with thoughtfully selected items. I didn’t know this, but you must be able to just go to the party stores and purchase pre-made and sealed goody bags, every molecule of which are covered with licensed characters, which just personally annoys me.

When you are just shoving impersonal “gifts” in everyone’s box, including people who aren’t even able to attend the celebration, what is the point? And how am I supposed to respond? Do I need to thank you? What is the etiquette? I’m sure that if you are the person who bought these goody bags and brought them I sound really ungrateful and bitchy and overly righteous. And you were just wanting to do something fun and cute for your kid and their friends.

But we just don’t see eye to eye. I don’t appreciate having to accept the stuff and bring it into my home, which I am constantly trying to de-clutter. I don’t appreciate my son getting used to the idea that he will get gifts all the time from everyone or begging to have the junk that’s in the bag even though it might be unsafe to play with or I don’t want him to eat it. And I feel guilty just throwing away the bag directly, even though I truly don’t want it, because it seems like such a waste. Of course the real waste is that a pre-sealed goody bag was ever even created in the first place! Aaahhh, don’t get me started…

Well, at least the POLICY is that goody bags are banned.


Casey said...

Hey, score two!

And as a former preschool teacher, I'm 99.9% sure that whoever stuck that landfill bomb in Turtle's cubby hadn't even read the new notice.

Chelsea said...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I am one of the only people that even reads that newsletter. But I read the back of shampoo bottles because I get bored in the shower. So, that's me.