How I Failed at Being the Cool Toy-Buying Mom

When I started having kids, it wasn't for the fame and glory. It wasn't for the sleepless nights or oh-so-glamorous stretch marks.


I had kids so I could buy them all of the cool crap my parents never bought me.


Now, when I was a wee lass, I wanted, more than anything, an EZ Bake Oven. I begged. I pleaded. I bargained. I promised I'd save up to cover the ridiculously overpriced sticker price.

My mother? She responded with the very practical, "It's junk. Those EZ Bake Ovens just use a light bulb to cook the 'food.'"

She followed it up, my face falling sadly, with, "If you want to bake something, you can use the REAL oven."

Except that she totally wouldn't let me use the big oven. And with my propensity toward walking into walls, I cannot actually say that I blame her.

The next thing on my conquest list was a Pow-Pow-Powerwheels. I mean, how cool is THAT? I could drive a car! And I was 6! My best friend had one that she lorded over me, always offering to let me drive it, then telling me I couldn't. At 5, she was an expert in manipulation. I fell for it every. single. time.

My mother claimed, correctly, that Powerwheels, which cost about the same now as they did in 1986, were "too expensive" and "junky."

She wasn't wrong. But I wasn't either. I spent YEARS fantasizing about popping out my first kid just so I could buy him all those cool things. In turn, my mother gave me some wooden blocks to play with. Because what 10-year-old DOESN'T love to build block towers?

(Answer: me. Also: probably most kids.)

My parents were the teak and fine china kind of people. I'm the tacky garish one of the family -- the only one who happily bedazzles everything she can get her hands on.

My kids are somewhere in between. I bought my son an EZ Bake Oven when he turned 6. (Hey, boys can bake, too.) He was very unimpressed by it, but I delighted in all the wee cooking implements. I delighted in it until his first cake was ready. It smelled like burning hair and tasted like Satan's ass.

Me: 0

My Mother: 1

For my second son's fifth birthday, I finally realized my dream and bought the kid a Pow-Pow-Powerwheels. He hadn't asked for it, of course, but I knew best! Mothers know best, right?



While I reveled in my victory, admiring the wee blue Mini Cooper I'd lovingly selected for my son, he was ... he was more interested in blowing bubbles with his brother and sister. Once I showed him how exactly to use the Powerwheels, he drove it into the minivan*.


Me: 0

My Mother: 2

Somewhere, my mother is sitting and feeling proud of herself for being right -- oh SO right -- so many years ago.

Maybe I should dig out those blocks and give 'em to my kids. They may appreciate them. Perhaps good taste, like other traits, skips a generation.

*Oddly, admitting that I have a minivan is the most embarrassing part of this story.


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