parens binubus

more than you want to know about a law school graduate/bar examinee who is also raising two children and doing her best at being a partner to her love.

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  • Saturday, December 30, 2006
    Christmas from Afar
    While I was visiting our friends, I was asked what my ex got the girls for Christmas. The answer? A magazine subscription. Jaws dropped. "What? You're kidding me? That's it? Does that bother you? Are you mad? How could he do so little? What do the girls think?"

    These are my first thoughts: I am NOT bothered or mad. And I don't THINK the girls are phased by it. he typically gets them A gift -- he doesn't create a Christmas for them. I think they spent one Christmas in his home (as opposed to his mother), and they were young ... there was no Santa Claus, and there were no stockings (this was pre-Solstice in our house). They didn't like that. But after that, they started going to his parents' house, where the fact that he got them one thing in addition to the several things from his mother and the few things from his sisters was lost and they were happy as can be.

    My nastier, later thought (which I did share with my friend) - I'm almost glad. To me, it's a chance for what I see as the overall situation (me pouring myself into them and him giving crap - emotionally, time-wise, geographically, ANYTHING) to manifest itself in a physical way. I certainly don't point it out to them, but there is a moment where they're going to notice. "Mom and [Beloved] spend a lot of time making us gifts, making a holiday happen, getting a tree, getting ornaments, (sometimes) baking with us (it's often Beloved), and they pick us gifts that we like and we never are wanting more .... while dad gets us a magazine subscription." It seems kind of fair.

    An even LATER thought was a bit more forgiving. I have made my pickiness be known since the girls were babies. I had pretty hard and fast rules as to what I wanted in the house at holidays. This is something that causes a good bit of debate in some parenting forums -- is it rude to set parameters? Or is it responsible and actually more respectful?

    I have always been limited by space. ALWAYS. I have always been interested in giving my children objects that stimulated their brains. I have also always been very committed to NOT raising materialistic little people. I didn't want kids who wanted more more more more, and I didn't want kids who would sit in front of t.v. and demand everything they saw in a commercial.* I also didn't want them to grow up to want something b/c it was "in style" even if they didn't like it or couldn't be bothered to own it if it weren't for its current popularity.

    I also was relatively interested in reducing waste, and in that vein, I didn't want toys that we'd be throwing away - things that wouldn't survive, or that I would need to get rid of b/c the kids didn't use it after a month. That also worked nicely with my ever-present space limitations.

    So both sets of grandparents (and that's it ... not friends, not extended families) were told (in a very loving and respectful manner) that we preferred not to receive character-based toys or clothing EXCEPT for pajamas and that we preferred wood toys to plastic ... and that quickly resulted in them checking with me on EVERYTHING. Everything.

    Now, I highly doubt that the ex chose one of the 4 suggestions I gave him (that he asked for) out of a concern that he would make ME mad, b/c I think he actually revels in doing just that, and wouldn't seek to avoid it. But I do wonder if it makes him and his parents curb their giving at the holidays - if they wonder if I'll just throw things that I don't like away, or whatever. I would never do that, and I do resent them thinking I would - b/c by thinking it, they're not thinking of "Zuska" - they're thinking of a "nasty ex-wife" --- which I strive NOT to be (at least, outside of blog posts).

    I also told my friend that one of the suggestions I gave the ex when he asked was that he invest in some board games and other 8-12 year old activities for them at HIS HOUSE, where they still have all the same board and pictures books that he took upon our separation - when they were 3 and 5. He has bought NOTHING age-appropriate for them, according to them. According to him, he buys them markers and pencils and pads of paper at the start of every summer (never books, never even a trip to the library .... grrrrr).

    I am not bothered. I do not know if the girls are bothered. The other day, we came home and had 2 bundles near the door which contained their new health insurance info, but j. saw it and said, "oh! i wonder of those are packages from daddy!" So perhaps when the holiday season is completely over, and there are still no "packages from daddy" she actually will be upset. I know he told e. on the phone that he sent them something, and that "it will come in the mail more than once."

    I wonder if I should let them know what it is? I got my dad a magazine subscription (in addition to the 2 other gifts we got him), and it said 4-6 weeks. If in 4-6 weeks the girl start getting National Geographic for Kids and Crickett magazine, it may not be enough for them to get over any disappointment they're feeling right now.
    posted by Zuska @ 2:14 PM  
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