Have you had this experience? It’s the day before your niece-baby cousin-best friend’s son-neighbor or some other kid’s birthday party. Maybe even an hour before. You call up the parent and ask, “So what should I get Lisa for her birthday?”
“Oh, she doesn’t need anything,” says parent.
“Come on. Tell me what to get.” You’re starving, you need to stop for gas, and the store is going to close any minute. You don’t have time for the back and forth about how said child really has everything that he or she needs.
“I really can’t think of anything,” says parent.
“What’s their favorite character?” you ask.
Big Bird. SpongeBob SquarePants. Captain America. I always get an answer to the character question. It doesn’t matter if the birthday child is one month old (usually Elmo) or 16 years old (think Twilight saga).
I have spent hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars, purchasing multi-colored, crime fighting, blood sucking, adorable, sugar-voiced merchandise for other people’s children. I pumped Disney and Sesame Street into many a household even as I had fantastic ideas about how my future children would not succumb to such commercialism. Boy was I mistaken.
The thing about Dora the Explorer and her kind is that they don’t knock on your door. They don’t ask to come in. And they don’t take no for an answer.
You can turn off the television to avoid the shows and commercials. You can skip over those certain isles at the store. But Dora, with her saucy blunt cut and doe eyes, will find you. In fact, she found me at a sporting goods store a few days ago.
I needed a life vest for my daughter. Wouldn’t you know the only vest in her size had a six-inch picture of Dora in a ruffled bathing suit. I bought it. I had a similar experience the week before when I got her a Hello Kitty swimsuit. I didn’t buy the matching Hello Kitty lunch kit.
Now that I have successfully rationalized my involvement, let’s get to the real reason that we, like you, have so many characters living in our house. It’s those darn birthdays and holidays and just because gifts from family and friends.
If Dora goes down for home invasion, the grandmas and aunts are certainly guilty of conspiracy. I guess it’s a good problem to have. People are being generous with my child. I suppose I could ask them not to buy my daughter characters. I could tuck away or give away such items. But honestly, I don’t want to.
Now that we’re here, I don’t mind it so much. I don’t want my kids to be stuff obsessed or character junkies, but I think we’ll manage even with the Elmo socks.
Do you have characters at your house? Who are they? How many?