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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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christmas shopping
The thing is, I get I spoil my kid.

No, really. I *do*. I try to balance it, but--I mean, he's it for me, it's not like I will ever have another kid. And there's the squee of getting some seriously awesome toys--yes, no kid needs a Playstation and a Gamecube and a freaking Gameboy, but you know, let's say a certain adult in the house really likes Resident Evil, Final Fantasy, and the multitude of Zeldas, okay? And there's nothing on earth as fun as leggos and logs. And hey, so maybe we have the same taste in DVDs and TV shows, so boxed sets are a present the whole family can enjoy! I'm raising him, I figured to make life easy for me, I might as well condition him in the right direction. So you know. Balance.

However. Christmas shopping. I got him a building set and some organizing things from Ikea and a Discovery Zone thing where you grow your own amoebas or whatever, art supplies, and was looking vaguely at the Nintendo Wii thoughtfully, because new Zelda (which can also be found for the Gamecube starting on the 11th, but still), and my mother got him a fairly nice telescope, so I was thinking, hmm, let us be practical this year.

So I ended up getting him a laptop.


Okay. My defense is, he's been using my old desktop, which my youngest sister also uses, and she's screwed it up pretty thoroughly. I've gone through and done mass deletions and a few fixes, but it needs a full format and reinstallation. She also goes to really inappropriate sites, and considering I'm a porn writer and saying that, you see why I wince a lot. Inappropriate sharewares, weird chat rooms, places that are kind of guaranteed to wreck your hard drive, and myspace, which I object to because she friends people that scare me. And worse, and this is what gets me, she does not respect the computer. She doesn't clean the cache or even help clean the keyboard, I ended up creating two identities for the computer to keep him from being able to access her stuff, and *that* bottlenecked easy downloading from yahoo games and Disney and other sites if he was logged in. When I first got the desktop, I'd given my mother my old computer, and when I got John, I put the desktop as open to all and used it to centralize the network in the house. After I got Mom a new computer last year, I gave my sister the one Mom was using so she'd stay off the desktop and I could give it exclusively to Child--and then she promptly sold it for twenty-five dollars.


Oh my GOD did that piss me off. I don't sell my computers. I cannibalize them for parts or give them to other people. Wow, I'm still pissed about that now. So I could never move the desktop from my room to his because a.) it runs the network, b.) I don't want her in his room and c.) having to look at it reminds me to clean it out regularly and lets me keep up where she's going so I can block sites if necessary.

So this solution works. It gives him his own computer he can use, it's small enough to fit on his desk, it won't require me to move around the router and the desktop, and when I move his stuff off the desktop, I can format and reinstall with a clear conscience, since I won't have to worry about him losing any of his stuff. And to be fair, it was really inexpensive, since I got it as stripped down as I could so I could pick what software would be installed and frankly, he's *nine*. He doesn't need a graphics gaming card, a DVD burner, or a 120 G harddrive.

But I just really wanted him to have it, too.

But pretty much, I feel like a parent destroying the values of their child. OTOH, Christ, he's going to have *such* an awesome Christmas day.

I think its's a perfectly resonable gift. Not only can he use it to play with, but when he gets a bit older, he can use it for homework, as well. Besides, this way you take some stress off your own shoulders with not having to worry about him finding something your sister left.
I think you're an awesome parent to get him that.

Speaking as a child who was spoiled much in the same way - I did buy all my laptops by myself, but my mother has always been incredibly generous - I can only say go you! My mother somehow managed to teach me the value of money anyway. Spoiling someone doesn't automatically mean they do not appreciate what they get and grow up to be generous and conscious of how lucky they are.

Spoiling is only detrimental if the recipient expects it. If, as I think likely, he'd be just as happy if you didn't get him so much, well, then.

Besides. That's so cool!

You are an awesome mom.

Christmas of 1993, when I was 12, my dad bought me a computer of my very own. (It was a Pentium I, it had a staggering 1GB harddrive and lightning-fast 64MB RAM.) The family was a bit scandalized (and they didn't even know about The Dangers of the Internet, because To Catch a Predator wasn't even on the air), but I will never forget that feeling of joy that was almost disbelief.

Translation: the awesome parents are the ones who hit their kids with the Tech Stick early.

IMO, the measure of 'spoiled' isn't how much one has or gets, it's how grateful their attitude is toward getting/having it. The person who sounds spoiled in this scenario is your sister, not your son.

And I too think you're an awesome mom; you obviously care about him and his interests and spend time with him and let him know he's loved. The laptop is icing.

It's fairly reasonable considering some kids are getting PS3s and the CHEAP packages for those are like $600 and all those can do is gaming. Yes I said ALL. Computers (as others said) can be useful all around and you might find he likes doing homework on the laptop as he gets older, it certainly helps to have typing skills these days. *g*

My parents? Kept the attitude of 'of course you're getting a job when you're old enough' and unless there was something really specific such as lunch money, that was really my money and all I was getting for the most part in terms of spending (it wasn't a big job, once a week, think like babysitting) and despite my parent's afluence, I DID NOT KNOW until I was much older. This? Will not spoil him.

It's not so bad for a nine year old to have his own computer. My parents got me my first computer in when I was eight. It was Atari 800XL and they justified it because I mostly asked for books so they were afraid I'd get bored over Christmas. Heh. So instead I got to play Frogger and some other stuff, which was awesome. (I guess my parents were strange that way in that they actually encouraged me to play video games rather being all "omg! the culture is doomed!") It had much better graphics than their older computer which I was allowed to play with too but that still had mostly text based ascii games. You could program the Atari 800XL too and it started me on a path to computer geekdom that lasted into my teenage years.

There's a BIG difference between a kid who gets showered with gifts but *appreciates* and cares for them, and one who expects those same gifts and treats them like crap becuase he knows he'll get whatever he wants anyway. My brother-in-law is the latter - he doesn't take care of anything because he knows his parents will replace anything that gets destroyed. My husband is like that to an extent, but he's improved greatly during the 7 years we've been together since he knows whatever he breaks he has to replace himself.

From your stories your son sounds like a great kid and you sound like the kind of mom all of us wish we'd have had growing up. Now your sister on the other hand... ;-)

Ok, on the one hand -- dude, he's nine?!?

But on the other hand, he should not be sharing a computer with your sister. Plus, you get to share most of the stuff you get him.

In summation: you win "Coolest Mom of the Year" for this.

(But you might want to look into getting an economical lo-jack program for his computer. Kids do have a tendancy to misplace things.)

Please destroy. You're teaching him other important values; like respect women, and be nice to your girlfriend when you get one, and appreciate things and take every day for what it gives. So go ahead and spoil him. It seems like he's good enough to survive a little rottening.

People on lj make me smile with their domestic moments; make me think I should buy my mother something for christmas...*guilty.* You might want to get him into the habit of spoiling *you* from now.

So I ended up getting him a laptop.


*thinks about her own 10 year old with a laptop*

*falls over laughing*

Whatever you have done to be able to trust your child's ability to not completely RUIN a laptop ... I AM SO IMPRESSED.

My step-son is no longer allowed to use any computer in the house after he broke mine TWICE. He has his own desktop but we refuse to set it up until he decides to remember the *simple* rules like...flush the toilet *facepalm*

(dude, *I* want a laptop for Christmas...)

until he decides to remember the *simple* rules like...flush the toilet *facepalm*

Oh. My. God.
What is it about ten-year-old boys? I just do not get it.

It's kind of nice to know that mine isn't the only one, though. *g*

I honestly see nothing wrong with this. I think a lot of it has to do with your attitude and his; I can't see you raising an entitlement whore, so I think it'll be fine. *g*

My kids usually get one or two big presents* a year—birthday and Christmas—but they know enough about the household financial situation to know which years are going to be lean. This year we're moving two months after Christmas, so it's going to be a lean year. Both of them are actually more excited about the giving portion of the holiday than the receiving this year anyway, and I'm having to smack onnakitty around to keep her from buying huge quantities of stuff for me and her brother. She makes over minimum wage, but she really doesn't need to blow her money on us. *g*

* Examples: last year onnakitty got a pair of Doc Marten 20-eyelet boots and a Palm, and shadowbat got a Nintendo DS and a boatload of PS2 and DS games.

So if your laptop is John, is this new one Rodney? My brain was flashing on 'Teacher's Pet' as I read your post, and a laptop for a 9 year old seems like such a Rodney McKay thing!

My sister and I had our first computer when we were young (though it was a Commodore 64 and therefore not up to much). Back then, they probably cost the equivalent of a laptop, and a laptop will be much more educational. And of course you can get all the Disney stuff... I'm still trying to explain to a sproglet of my aquaintance why she can't play the on-line Bob the Builder games when my internet connection isn't working.

So I ended up getting him a laptop.


Will you adopt me? I'm really quiet and tend to clean up after myself.