The Spoils of Grandmotherhood

So. We had this plan. My wife and I were not going to spoil our kids with too much stuff. The last thing I wanted was to deprive my children of meaningful hardship.

But we were first-time parents — to wit, clueless — and we had reckoned without grandparents. Particularly grandmas. Particularly grandmas with a first grandchild. Who’s a baby girl.

Grandchildren are like a fantasy camp for women. All the fun, none of the sleep deprivation. You can’t blame them for going nuts. I knew that. But that didn’t stop me from grumbling under my breath.

Then one day at work — you know, sitting in the playroom — I took a look around the room. First of all, you have to understand that our playroom is bigger than my first apartment. Literally. It was designed to be a formal living room but ended up as the island of misfit furniture. In time, several items either found other rooms to call home or were given away. All that was left was a puffy sofa.

So when the baby came along, we turned it into a playroom.

So there I was, with my now two-year-old, looking at the colorful rubber mat I had laid down over the floor, with it’s hundred or so interlocking tiles, including the alphabet and our daughter’s name around the perimeter; the plastic play house we bought her for Christmas as something to put in the corner but which could humanely shelter a third world family; the pretend kitchen we got her because it was blue (Why not? It’s blue! Where else are we going to find one that’s blue?); the wagon; the bookcase housing more volumes than any preschool library; the… the everything.

Everything we got her. Not her doting grammy.

We were the guilty ones! However innocently. And… well, at least I got a cartoon out of it. Though I probably used the proceeds to buy more junk.