The Wanting Machine

Susan Lazar & her daughter Mikah

One of the things that I’ve been trying to figure out as a first time mom is how many presents I should buy my four and half year old daughter, Mikah. It seems like she wants something new every day.  It’s a constant stream of “Mama can you buy me that present?”

Of course, a giant pang of guilt hits me immediately! I mean, I always want to make my baby the happiest on the planet to the best of my abilities, but how much is enough? How do I say “NO” and feel okay about it?  And how can I get this crazy present buying spree under control??

What I’ve realized most is that the toys she wants and sees are on a fleeting whim.  Her need to have each thing quickly fades and then she focuses on something else pretty quickly, so of course I’m not going to keep falling into that trap!

I’ve also realized that I don’t really have the answer and that’s also okay. One thing I can share is that lately I’ve been trying a reward system. One present a week (that usually turns into more, but at least the message is being communicated), and she gets it only if she is a “good girl.“  I’ve read that teaching this “delayed satisfaction” is a great way to prepare your child for success later in life too- so it’s a double win!

Another idea that I’m trying is to buy one special present meant to be kept for a long time. We started a charm bracelet and every birthday each grandmother buys a charm that we attach to her bracelet.  Mikah loves it and looks at it all the time! I do feel this is balancing the cheap toy fix in a beautiful, memorable way.

I’ve also found these great gifts that promote sharing. For example, there is a necklace that separates into two parts – one for Mikah and one for her best friend. She gets one and her friend gets the other, making the gift extra special.

For sure, I also just love giving presents and see the look of sheer happiness that a $15 Barbie can give my kid. It’s precious! To be able to return to that sweet childhood place, all about exploring something new is something we would all love to do. I hope I can manage expectations and keep her innocence along the way.

Until next month-Enjoy the beautiful summer days ahead!


Susan Lazar