Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Somedays I am a 9-year-old

I was out shopping for a birthday gift for N's friend and I spotted an Elsa bag. What? You don't know Elsa? Elsa from Frozen ? Don't let N hear you say that, she wouldn't think much of you.

N has been in love with Elsa for some time now. She sings Let it Go till the rest of us beg her to stop, sleeps with her Elsa quilt and an Elsa cushion and has made an Elsa collage that she's stuck onto her cupboard. I have nothing against the Frozen girl. I loved the film as much as N. More importantly I shall be forever grateful to her for ridding (well almost) N of her Pink obsession. 

Blue-Green is the new pink, ever since Elsa came along.

Anyway so when I saw this slingbag I thought I just had to pick it up for N. But then something made me stop. I mean, why was getting all excited? Why on earth was I behaving like a nine-year-old? Wasn't it my place to think whether N really needed the bag at all? Which of course, she didn't.

If you're a parent and have been in my place you know why we do it - why we go to Mc Donald's and eat happy meal after happy meal and demolish our diets, why we buy Spideman bags and Chhota Bheem bed spreads, even when our kids aren't begging for them - all for that smile on their faces.

And then there are days when we complain about the obsession and the cost and about how marketing companies make children a target of their strategies. They are simply doing their jobs, though some amount of social responsibility wouldn't hurt. 

The kids are of course just being kids.

So then it has to be us who has to put on the brakes, even at the cost of that dear smile from our little one, for it is but transitory. I know I'm stating the obvious but I'm doing it because I need to hear me say it.

We have it tougher than our parents who had fewer choices and didn't have to struggle with these dilemmas. I wish I could summon my mom's classic don't-be-silly look, the one she would have given me, had I asked for something like this - the best ever antidote to smart marketing strategies.

28 comments:

  1. Elsa has made kids all over go crazy, and she's a total boon for the toy industry!

    I remember those stern looks my mom used to give me whenever I asked for a Barbie doll. Specially after I broke the heads of all my dolls :P

    Like everything else in life, there needs to be a perfect balance between buying toys for kids and not giving into their demands all the time. But isn't that one of the main challenges of parenting? :)

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    1. You're one cool girl. Mercifully N was never much into Barbies. Yeah it's the balance that's the tough deal.

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    1. Thanks Vasantha. I like that quote too.

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  3. I hear you, Tulika! This is exactly me. At times I wonder if they're as much excited about all this as I am. But Elsa is one addiction I have also gotten into. A bath towel each, a frozen themed alarm clock, plates, glasses, school bags and sling bags.They have it all.

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    1. We didn't have all of this when we were kids and their is such cute stuff available that it's a little bit natural to get carried away. But then we have to rein ourselves in.

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  4. Right.. i have done it many times.. bought stuff the children didn't ask or didn't need. Will keep this in mind.

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    1. I need to too. Thanks for reading Ls.

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  5. I have no idea who or what Elsa is. But I can imagine the obsession as my daughter went through the my litte pony and my son went through Thomas the tank engine.

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    1. Same thing Suzy. We've all been there.

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  6. ohh kids are so obsessed with Elsa and Olga ... that snowman thingy... I don't even know the name :P
    Yes, parents need to be strict because materialism doesn't bring true happiness.

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    1. That would be Olaf Raj :-). If only we understood that simple truth!

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  7. He he he, I hear you but this is one area I am very firm: no unnecessary purchases whatsoever :) Husband is another story though. His heart melts a little too often when out shopping for the darling daughter! Have to drag him away everytime!

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    1. Good for you Shailaja. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm a grown up! Sometimes it's something inexpensive and I think let me pick it up but that just encourages N to ask for the bigger stuff.

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  8. Lovely post as usual tulika....I also get excited when I see things my daughter is crazy about...especially if she has been well behaved that day....but like you said it is only us who can put the brakes on and do what is right....you know what has worked with my daughter and me...when she is in her obsession with cartoon character we have tried to create experiences about that cartoon character instead of buying things...like in her doraemon phase we made chocolate cake sandwiches and called them Dora cakes...now with Sofia phase we are singing songs (totally made up and tuneless of course) for everything... She seems to hold onto these experiences more than the merchandise....

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    1. That is just such a brilliant idea Gowri. We could try Elsa crafts .. ooh nice. Thank you.

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  9. Ha ha! I know of Elsa from another 5 year old's obsession. She is any ex-manager's girl and got a big birthday cake done for her. :)
    Tulika - be a Mum ;) By the kids gifts :D

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    1. Lol Parul there are enough people in the family to pamper the kids. The Buas and Masis are brazenly so. I need to have my head on my shoulders.

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  10. I have heard about Frozen but don't know Elsa because my lives are Lightning McQueen, Thomas, Superman & Spiderman and above all Lego. While I am all content watching their movies again and again, husband is the soft one when it comes to splurging on toys, irrespective of my high frequency diktats. We already have atleast 10 characters from the movie Cars 2. Apart from the toy, I have no intention of buying other stuffs with son's fav characters, not even the school bag. I am that one character the marketing guys would wish the world gets rid off :D

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    1. Good for you Anamika. I've been through the Lightening McQueen and Spiderman phase too. And now it's football jerseys for my son.

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  11. What is with Elsa, I wonder. Every fancy dress, every halloween party - they all want to be Elsa :)
    My father has that 'dont be silly look'.
    However when I try giving Rishi that, he responds saying 'Don't be silly daddy' :P

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    1. Lol.. I can just see that - a miniature you telling the bigger you to not be silly. That is exactly why this generation is something else.

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  12. I didnt have fancy bags or pencil boxes that are also a miniature piano.I didnt even have barbie dolls. I grew up to be a decent human being.
    I liked your mother's 'DONT BE SILLY' Look.
    We all can relate to that look :P

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    1. Ditto Red I didn't either. Our boundaries were very clear. We as slightly confused parents end up sending out confused signals to the kids.

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  13. Probably the reason why children's toys, clothes, books ..they are all expensive..even adults can't resist them! My parents used to give me and my sister the 'Don't be silly' look but occasionally let us indulge in the 'silliness'. The numerous times that they questioned 'do you really need it?' made the few 'go ahead' moments magical. They were probably amused by our surprised faces. The fact that they said yes made us happier than actually getting the article. On a more serious note, all those 'not so happy' moments made us a little more practical(it is always tougher to be practical while buying stuff when it is for someone you love!!!) and the 'happy' moments told us that we could go back and ask them for whatever we need and we didn't have to 'secretly' acquire it ;)

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    1. That's exactly how it should be Anitha. You have very sensible parents. The moments of indulgence have to be rare to make them magical.

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  14. Aaryan had the Ben-10 phase and he had bed sheet, comforter, toys, pencil boxes, lunch box, bag, bottles, sharpeners, T-shirts... His 9th birthday party was based on Ben-10 with cake, decorations, return gifts et al ... Of course, I fanned his fixation too. Thankfully, he is out of all this hullabaloo and I have become wiser too. LOL :D

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