Monday, May 14, 2012


LB's PT is currently a major enabler of our baby-related consumption.  She doesn't push us to buy things, but when we bring up something like a riding toy she will tell us what skills it will help LB build.  Who can resist that pitch?  Enter the Wheelie Bug.  We love the Wheelie Bug, but unfortunately it seems to be part of the slippery slope to this:

[Edit-Badger says that I must specify to the internets that this picture is our BASEMENT, not a room in our house.] What you see here is a slurry of sports stuff, crafting stuff, beer making stuff, and a drum set, but mostly lots and lots of baby gear and clothes (and if you look very closely, one little baby).  I think we could easily outfit triplet girls in any season.  And this picture was taken after I gave several large boxes of stuff away on Craigslist (goodbye "Daddy's little princess" onesies), returned stuff we had borrowed, and gave and lent stuff to friends.  Lest you think we have a serious shopping addiction, we don't buy much, but we are given a lot-both new and used.

When did this happen?  Most people I know don't have a lot of money, but we all have a lot of stuff.  Materially, my growing up in the 1970s was more like the 1930s than like anything LB will experience.  I got two new pairs of shoes every year (school shoes and summer sandals) and two new outfits (one for the first day of school and one for Easter/birthday). When I look at pictures of the house in which I grew up, it looks almost empty.  My very frugal mom buys most of LBs clothes.  She takes her coupons down to the outlet stores whenever they have a big sale and buys a pile of clothes, and always tells me that it's almost as cheap as the thrift store.  LB never seems to get one outfit or one pair of shoes, it always a box of barely worn outfits, or five pairs of shoes.  I am very thankful that we don't have to buy everything LB needs, and that she has nice things, but it is all overwhelming.  It makes people happy to buy stuff for a baby, and I know my mom in particular loves her trips to buy LB's clothes.  But how do raise a child who still has the pleasure of wanting things in the midst of so much?  And how do you keep from turning into a hoarder house?  Is it just gross to have so much?

I hope that we can teach LB not to distract herself with shiny, pretty things, but that seems like a lofty goal.  The important stuff (education, healthcare, retirement) costs so much, and the stuff that doesn't matter is so cheap. Given the state of our economy, enjoying it while we can seems a sadly rational choice.

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