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Giving It All Away

Friends come to my house and often leave richer. Yes, my company is great, but they often take stuff with them, too. I don’t know how many times I’ve done it, actually. Food, old toys, clothing — you name it, I like to give it away. It should come as no surprise then that Big Girl keeps trying to give stuff away, too.

Almost every single playdate that we’ve had recently ends with our visitor getting something of Big Girl’s. On Tuesday it was a Littlest Petshop figure. Last Sunday, the give-away was a doll house bed. The time before that was a Silly Bandz. (Yes, I know those are meant to be traded, but still…) But when Big Girl gives stuff away she’s doing it, I think, to get the kids to like her. She wants them to come back so she hands stuff over.

We’ve talked with her, telling her that she doesn’t need to give stuff to people to get them to like her. That they are her friends, and that’s why they will want to come back. That she’s fun and sweet and caring, qualities that people look for when making social decisions. She says she knows all that, but that she still wants to give stuff away. She always has an excuse. Today, for example, it was a Barbie coat that she said she had two of. She had two of the Littlest Petshop, too. Oh, and she just didn’t like the dollhouse item.

It’s always awkward for me because I want her to have autonomy. I also don’t want to embarrass her. So I let the gifts go home, but I am aching inside wondering if I did the right thing. And then again how can I chastise her for doing exactly what I am doing? Me, I send stuff home because I like to make people feel good, or I am trying to rid my house of the item in question. But I still ruminated on that tonight at spin. Is that really the reason?

Yes, sometimes I just want to get stuff OUT of here. (I had two of the little toy cleaning trolleys, for example, and couldn’t wait to find someone who wanted it so I could clear up some floor space.) But could it be? Could I be sending stuff home with people to make sure they will come back? Am I unconsciously insecure about my friendships?

At one time, the answer was unequivically yes. I can remember getting a massage for a friend who quit smoking. Really? That even sounds crazy to me. Another time in the not so distant past I bought someone a suit. Two, actually. And mailed them to her. She had a job interview and couldn’t afford to go shopping. Thinking back, maybe I wanted the whole group of those people who would eventually find out about it to consider me a true friend. Because only a true friend would do something like that, right?

This goes to show that we can tell our kids whatever we want until we’re blue in the face, but the best way to teach them what to do is to show them. And with that I say: No, it’s not terrible to send people home with the Swedish Fish I don’t want in my kitchen cabinet. Yes, they will enjoy them, but my butt will enjoy staying smaller, too. But maybe I’ll think twice before I make another big gesture. Because friends like you no matter what, right? Even without gifts and plates of food.

Is your kid a giver? How do you deal with it? I’d love to know.

3 Responses to “Giving It All Away”

  1. Jackie Lee says:

    This is a really good post. I have been noticing this not only in what my daughter does ~ but the things she says. It is a huge wake up call sometimes ~ “OMG, is that really what I sound like?”! I think our kids are fantastic mirrors, and provide us with a great way to look at ourselves and see what we see. :) Great catch on your part.

  2. Shari says:

    Great post. I hear my kids get frustrated and angry and I only get MORE frustrated and angry with them. I realize I am not helping them but rather showing them how to behave poorly. None of us are perfect, we are all working hard to do the best we can, but it is interesting sometimes how much we can learn about ourselves by watching our kids’ behavior.

  3. [...] more is less. Natural as Possible Mom agrees, which is why she’s giving a lot of her family’s stuff away to [...]

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