As I sit on this rainy day, contemplating plans for my twin girls’ upcoming 4th birthday, I wonder at how quickly they are developing. They are picking up so many different concepts so quickly. One time this last Christmas, I was a bit surprised at how much one of them “understood.”
Before our girls’ preschool closed for winter break, they had a pizza party and a gift exchange. Each
parent child was instructed to bring a gift worth no more than $5 appropriate for either a boy or a girl. So off to Target I went to make sure my girls would happily participate. Memories of past corporate and friendly gift exchanges flashed by as I made sure I picked items that would inspire delight, not rejection by the recipients.
When I picked up my girls from preschool, all the kids were beyond excited about their newest acquisitions, especially my girls. One was the proud owner of an art kit (where’d they get that for $5 or less?) and the other excitedly showed off her new “blankie.” My daughter was so proud and excited about it – she wrapped her nap doll in it to keep it warm during our walk home, then let her sister borrow it because her hands were cold. Uuuuhhhhhh hmmmmmmmmmm. Her blankie kinda looked like a kitchen towel but I didn’t say anything then until I could take a closer look.
At home, she promptly dropped her doll and “blankie” on the floor in search of other toys that might have missed her since she was at school. I picked up her “blankie” to satisfy my curiosity. It said “Happy Birthday” on the towel. What? Some parent gave her/his kid a kitchen towel to offer up for the day’s event. Can you believe this?! At minimum, that parent could have picked something that at least had the correct holiday, if he or she were going to be cheap or forgetful about the whole thing.
By contrast, my other daughter had gotten a little artist’s kit (again, I wonder where those things cost only $5) and couldn’t wait to get home to open it up. Luckily, she was happy to share her gift with her sister and they happily drew and painted together for a while.
When my husband came home from work, he was wondering where my daughter had gotten the “blankie.” I told him of the day’s gift exchange and a “Huh?” look came to his face? Confused, he stated, “But it’s a kitchen towel.” The confusion turned into disgust. We didn’t discuss it as the girls were clearly happy with what they received and we weren’t about to burst any bubbles. Later though, we agreed we were both rather irritated at the anonymous
parent’s child’s gift for exchange.
But today, it’s different. I’m not irritated. I’m not outraged. Ever since that day, my daughter has been sleeping with it, warming her baby with it, loaning it to her sister for warmth and just all around happy with her first Christmas gift of the season. She doesn’t understand the idea of “regifting”, she doesn’t see the towel but the warmth it provides her baby doll as a blanket, and she doesn’t read yet so the words are only more decorations to her. What she does see are stripes in her favorite pink color and the cute little kitty cat smiling at her. So, I let it go. If she’s happy, then so am I. I’m sure there will be other occasions where my outrage will be warranted.
So, I thought that was the end of this incident. I’d almost forgotten about it. However, after all the Christmas gifts were opened and my girls’ new collections of toys and clothes were almost embarrassing, my daughter no longer wanted to sleep with her “blankie.” My husband was putting our daughter to bed, laying her blankets on top of her when she said, “I don’t want that blankie, Pappa.” My husband looked at her confused. She explained, “It’s a towel, Pappa.” What?
She couldn’t have heard our conversation. She was certainly completely asleep at the time. Hmmmmmmmmmm…had she always known it was “just a towel”? Did she feel bad for the other kid knowing that he might have felt a little embarrassed and want to make him/her feel better? Did she see the possibilities beyond its obvious purpose? Or did she grasp the entire situation and decide to make the best of it all? I’ll never really know but I did learn a couple things. First, I should remember that an almost 4-year-old’s perspective on things is a bit different from mine. Second, at almost 4 years old, our kids are likely more sensitive and clued-in than I think.