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anyone wanna join my toy-free tribe? - Page 9

post #161 of 196
that is one of the cool things that my ILs, parents and i discussed recently--the idea of giving experiences rather than objects.

when i talked to them about some examples such as paying for rock climbing lessons and memberships or dance classes or music classes, i noted that these things were quite expensive and that it would be great if those were the 'gifts' that the grands were giving to the kids.

they also liked the idea of giving supplies for these activities, as well as giving things such as season passes to the local children's theater or what have you.

so, they are on board. they get where we're coming from!
post #162 of 196

Mom to be, plans for toys.

Hi all,

Im still pregnant with our 1st child but, as all you mommies know, when you have a baby everyone tries to give you STUFF! I'm grateful for everything we are given because everything helps but sometimes I think "wow this is excessive!". My baby registry was so small because I didnt need the Diaper genie, refills, legions of toys, accessories, etc. I certainly puzzled a lot of the excess I see. I find stores like Babies R Us overwhelming because I look through all the aisles and think "Dont need that, dont need that, dont need that".

Anyway! As far as toys, I have been given a lot of toys for the baby already and he isnt even born. Im thinking I should have established some simple toy rules before I started receiving gifts. Not to be ungrateful but we dont have a lot of space, we dont a lot of extra money to keep replacing batteries endlessly. What would all you mom's suggest toy-wise for a minimalist new mom who wants to keep life simple when it comes to her baby on the way? Anything I can make myself would be wonderful too!

Spider... Thank you so much for creating this tribe!

post #163 of 196
Originally Posted by Persephone View Post
I hate it that so many people treat babies as objects, and not PEOPLE. : My MIL commented as dd got older, "Oh, she's turning into a real person now!" Um, she was a real PERSON before!
oh my goodness! I love this thread. I completely relate! My MIL doesnt say "Hello Greer! Everyone Greer is here" when we arrive anymore. She says "My grandbaby is here!" or "How is my grandbaby doing?" "I love my grandbaby". And I think "what am I? Chopped Liver? OH WAIT, Im the incubator!" haha! I think to some people babies are objects or playthings or novelties to parade around. Its sad really
post #164 of 196
Originally Posted by mumkenna&lucas View Post
Thanks for those tips! We are encountering our first "selective" toys birthdays! And I am having a hard time deciding what to do about this! We are only having a VERY small party for my ds's 3rd birthday. Only close family members, I was trying to think of ways to "word" it kindly that we would enjoy a zoo membership for ds much more than any toys!
Did you figure out what to say? Im worried about this because when my husband's cousin's child (the first grandchild) had his first birthday party, there was this MOUNTAIN of toys. Im not kidding, when we walked into the house we were faced with the den and then shuffled through to the living room. The den was completely packed with presents, toys and a life-sized miniature pony! There was no more space to put anything. My jaw had to be scooped up off the floor. This little boy had no interest in the toys, and spent the day happily playing with the wrapping paper. I was just stunned and my worry is that when our little boy has his first birthday/christmas/etc, it will be a repeat situation. How DO you request restraint politely? I know they all mean well and all want to spoil the baby but, being that Im already the black sheep to my in laws, I wouldnt know how to put it kindly.
post #165 of 196


Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
so, i ordered a set of catalogues for both families, so they can have them. my mom said she would use them, even if they're less fun, because afterall, she can't just go and buy things and "taht's frustrating."
Zoe... which catalogues are your favorites to shop from or refer family to?
post #166 of 196
i can't recall right now. i believe it's somewhere early in the thread. . .one of the mother mama's mentioned it.


and, i'm the incubator too in my ILs house. it's really kind of weird. they don't even know that they're doing it.

other than saying "how is the baby?" when they "greet" me, that's all they say. seriously, that's it. they'll completely ignore me for two or more hours, having asked how the baby (in utero) is doing.

then, there was the "cake incident" of june, wherein we wanted a cake with a certain decoration and no words/lettering. my MIL was going to order the cake, and because she was basically ignoring me, i gave the info through my husband.

she wrote back saying "i ordered the cake that said 'Welcome Baby DH's Father's Nick Name based on his Last Name.'"

now, i never changed my name when we were married, so i still have my own Last Name, adn the child will be named Name MyLast Name HisLast Name.

i was livid, because it was as if i didn't even exist in this whole baby thing anymore. my husband noted that it seemed that everything was focused on them and the baby--to the point that my husband doesn't even relate to his father's nick name, and he was wondering where either of us fit into this picture.

they didn't even know that they were doing it. but it's so annoying.
post #167 of 196
Oh wow... are you sure we don't have the same IL's? LOL they sound the same! The cake incident made me laugh but sounds just like what happens when we go visit the IL's. I know my DH can empathize but he is SO scared of my MIL and she so much as flinches and everyone comes running to do her bidding. So... I have to tread carefully. (BLAH!)
I didnt change my name either when we got married. One of the recent IL discussions about my inappropriateness as a wife has been centered around the fact that my OBgyn has my last name on my medical records. So, for every ultrasound or picture that we get and my poor MIL has to show to her friends, it has my last name on it. So she has to explain to everyone "They are married I promise. She just hasn't changed her name yet which I think is so strange. The baby will be so confused!". I stare at the ceiling and count to 10!

This thread has really got me thinking about toys I played with as a child. I do remember the odd Barbie or two given by relatives. But what really sticks out to me were the things my mother made for us. I grew up in South Africa and we never had money. There was never a giant selection of toys available and that was good because it cut down on the amount of toys we had. I remember being overwhelmed visiting some wealthy cousins and wading through the armies of Barbie's, Barbie's various houses and cars and pools. And there I was clutching my one precious Workout Barbie!
Anyway my mother would make us such gorgeous toys but only one or two at a time. She made us these little clowns when we were babies. They were made from scraps tied together and trimmed with bells and beads and buttons. We did watch limited tv a little as kids so my mom would make us things that were related to our favorite shows. She made us each a Winnie the Pooh, complete with red tshirt. We also liked the Thundercats so she made these necklaces out of clay with the thundercat logo on it and we would spend hours playing "Cats" outside with them. Even Winnie the Pooh became a game ("I'll be Pooh!" "I'll be piglet!"). She would also make us dressup clothes from our older clothes and again, we would spend hours playing. As my mom tells me, we spent more time playing in the yard or swimming in the pool sans toys more than anything else. My sister and I had our favorite games. (Mermaids was the favorite to play in the pool)
When we were older, my mom made a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shell for my little cousin (of the army of barbie cousins) who loved them. He played "turtles" in his little costume far more than any of the other toys he owned. He was so cute. We had very few toys, but tons of books. I was never bored, never not stimulated or imagining or playing and I had a happy childhood. I hope to do the same for my son. If he is anything like his mom and dad he will have a big imagination.

OH as a contrast to our situation, my other aunt who is incredibly wealthy and could give her kids a whole house of toys, followed a very strict toy policy. For her little one's 5th Christmas we were at her house. He only got one present that year which was a tool kit. Nothing elaborate but it was a smaller version of his daddy's. He spent the entire day taking his wrenches and trying to fix everything. He had the best time. I think he still has the tool kit too and uses it! In fact her philosophy is still going. Her two boys just started their own business (at 7 and 12). They have a couple of beehives on their property and the boys collect honey, spin it, bottle it and even make little labels for them. They sell the honey for pocket money. And she didn't fund the business at all. They did odd jobs to earn the money for the bottles, they made their own little spinner, they made their own labels. Its adorable! But those boys are learning so much. I admire her for having all that money but using restraint. That is so rare these days and her kids are SO wonderful.
post #168 of 196
Thread Starter 
Wow, every time I start to feel just a little bit sorry for myself for never having found a supportive dh, you married folks cheer me right up again with the truth! The grass really isn't greener, it's just different grass.

Anyway, Terran is seven months old today so I guess this is as good a time as any for an update. He is still 100% toy free!


I'm not sure how much I should advertise that fact, because I cringe whenever I read a sensationalized abused-child-rescued-by-cps story that mentions the poor thing not even knowing how to hold a teddy bear or the neglectful parent locking the child in a closet without any toys at all.

However, I'm doing a bit of catch-up reading about pthalates and bpas (not an issue before since Terran doesn't use bottles either and really doesn't have any plastics in his mouth) and am simultaneously horrified and relieved that toy safety has been a nonissue.

He's growing up and becoming more aware of the world around him, but is still very people-oriented and i get a lot of positive comments about it. There have been a couple of incidents where I was embarassed: a coworker who was busy/ignoring him was treated to a very loud "HEY YOU!!!!!" that was intelligible to the whole room and there have been a few times in the grocery store when he has picked out a person he wanted to "talk" to and been a bit pushier about it than what I consider "normal".

Considering that our society thinks nothing about people my age or older walking up to strange babies and expecting them to be thrilled to interact with them, I don't think my son's behaviour is "rude" or something to be discouraged or distracted away with "Looik at the BUNNY! Hug the BUNNY love the BUNNY!" or jangling my car keys at him.

I have made an effort to stop saying "Hey you." to him quite as much and have identified my coworker as "Kaitlin. Her name is Kaitlin. Kaitlin is an easy word to say. Pretty soon y0ou'll be able to say Kaitlin." but that's another story for another thread; I already have support for precocious verbal development elsewhere.

Terran has cut two teeth with no meds other than an amber necklace and no plastic teething rings. I'm proud of our accomplishment! It has occured to me to wonder why we see teething rings as "toys" and therefore precursors to mountains of stuffed animals, x-boxes, and yachts instead of hygeine tools that are precursors to toothbrushes, dental floss, and braces, of course.

Another poster has mentioned rattles as musical instruments, and although we are no longer a musical family (I haven't performed since damaging my vocal cords in 2000 and the older kids don't play anything any more, although dd is a dancer) I would like to dust off my guitar when Terran can sing lead and provide him with whatever tools he needs for musical exploration--but no frustrating "toys" that can't stay in tune!

I'm thinking about a kalimba (african thumb piano) as a possible first instrument but a recorder might be a good choice as well, since they are inexpensive and safe.

I also had the opportunity to turn down the gift of a stuffed animal for the first time and I think I did okay. I do need more practice and next time I will give one reason instead of three or no reason at all, just "How very sweet of you, but I thin we'll pass this time."

I have some upcoming challenges in the next month and it's great to have this thread for support and even better that it has taken on a life of its own and doesn't need me to monopolize it.
post #169 of 196
Originally Posted by TeresaZofia View Post
What do you guys think about costumes/dress up stuff?
**Sorry for my disjointed replies- Im reading through the whole thread and answering as a thought occurs to me. Eventually I will keep up**

I personally think dress up stuff is very valuable. Probably more valuable than toys, movies, video games or any of the other things kids today are given. BUT kids don't always need the full fancy costume and sometimes a lot of things can be picked up at thrift stores and consignment. And I agree with what others have said about "real" things sometimes being more fun for them than the plastic child versions. Real "mommy" shoes instead of the pink plastic barbie shoes. And sometimes just a cape or a hat or a mask is enough to start a game that lasts the whole day.

If there is anything I will ever allow myself to "collect" toy wise for my children, it will probably be dress up stuff. I'm naturally a pack rat and I fight it every day. Maybe thats where this determination to stay minimalist with my children comes from. I don't want them to be like me! So, even if I collect costumes, I will still limit what comes in, monitor what comes in and go through and purge regularly I think.
post #170 of 196
NoOrdinarySpider--- I think you are so inspiring with how you are raising Terran. I have really enjoyed reading about his growth and progression. Personally I think the "Hey You" is rather sweet because he sounds like such a brave, open boy!

As I said before, I have this horrible pack rat tendency that I fight against every day. And its not that I like keeping things, or need to, a lot of the time I don't realize I do it. But then I open a closet and its full of junk. Its incredibly overwhelming and the chaos upsets me. Luckily, Ive learned how to purge and let go. I've become completely ruthless and learned that the only way to stay free of STUFF is to not bring it into the house in the first place. I find your decision to stay completely toy free with Terran so inspiring. You must feel such freedom! I would probably still keep some around because its hard for me to let go of that last little thing... I'm just not there yet. But the thought of being completely free of STUFF in my life, oh wow.... thats pure freedom in my eyes. Its a very admirable thing and I'm sure Terran is going to thrive.
post #171 of 196
Originally Posted by AislinCarys View Post
Zoebird, this is what we have used so far for our 20 week old:


- Nothing before 3 mths
- Small stuffed sheep
- 2 teddybears (not much use yet)
- plain wood rattle
- "Horton hears a who" boardbook (favourite toy!)
- Books


Much less than we thought and what anyone suggested! Used more tops once she started slobbering, but that's all. Lots of dribble bibs. And disposables. For a lot of reasons we have ended up using them, despite not thinking we would. (we do EC anyway). Lots of nappy squares for everything except nappies!!! And BabyLegs legwarmers are great in a sling!
AislynCarys, I love your advice to Zoebird and Im going to keep it in mind for myself as well. Im pregnant with our first child as well (32 weeks+5) and we are trying not to BUY all and sundry for him. We have bought incredibly little in fact. But I find I am completely clueless as to what I will really need and not just want. We have been given almost everything we have for him, including clothes blankets disposables (which Im keeping on hand but wont plan on using). What I do want to purchase however are books. We dont have any books yet and no-one has thought to give us any so...Im going to start scouring secondhand bookstores and yard sales for books.

You mentioned the type of sling you have for your dd. Do you prefer that sling over others you have tried? I havent heard of it before but then all slings are just lovely to me. Im restraining myself from buying more than one of them. My mother gave us one and I find myself falling in love with some gorgeous homemade ones on Etsy but...Im trying to restrain! Ha ha!
post #172 of 196
Originally Posted by safigee View Post
What I do want to purchase however are books. We dont have any books yet and no-one has thought to give us any so...Im going to start scouring secondhand bookstores and yard sales for books.
Just wanted to mention - People may give you books after the birth, and you really don't need any for at least a few months if not longer. Wyatt loves his book, but gets overstimulated if he looks at it too long or looks at all the pages so we can only play with it in small doses and I'm not even sure its worth it yet. Whats better for us right now is showing him the covers to books DH & I are reading, and different packages. His favorite is the package to the dehydrated apple crisps I eat.

So I guess all I'm trying to say is, it might want to take a wait and see approach. You'll have MORE than enough time to buy books before you need them.

ETA: Oh yeah and disposables: I thought I'd never want a 'sposie to touch his precious bum, but at 4 weeks old we took a 4 day trip to Canada. I had no interest in trying to wash diapers on such a short trip, and/or fly dirty dipes back home with us so they were put to good use. The rest I gave away as he out grew them.
post #173 of 196
Thread Starter 
Yea, Terran has kind of an abnormally long attention span for books (perhaps because I was tutoring a functionally illiterate 14 year old during my pregnancy and we read aloud a LOT, me to Stephen at adolescent interest level and Stephen at his own comfort level reading "to the baby") but we do best with one fairly long picture book at a sitting and sometimes we put it down in the.middle and pick it back up again later.

Also, going to the public library is and should be a special event in a baby's life. I find that my own books can sit around unread because "I can always read them later" while I make time to read the library books that have to be back the day after tomorrow.

That said, I am totally a pack rat when it comes to books, and books are one of the things I worry about CPS or nosy neighbours warping around into "the baby has no toys because this inhuman monster spends all the money on books!"
post #174 of 196
Originally Posted by noordinaryspider View Post
That said, I am totally a pack rat when it comes to books, and books are one of the things I worry about CPS or nosy neighbours warping around into "the baby has no toys because this inhuman monster spends all the money on books!"
That really got me. How screwed up is our society when there is even a touch of reality to that statement?
post #175 of 196
So I talked to my MIL about Christmas and birthdays. She was very gracious and made jokes about how, yea, she buys too much stuff for Scarlett. So we agreed on a dollar amount for books, and then if she feels she needs to spend more money, put it towards a class in the Spring/Summer. That should work well for now.

As Scarlett gets older, I really want her to take personal responsibility and learn how to earn the things she wants.
post #176 of 196
Hi there! In the interest of limiting FYT to subjects not hosted elsewhere on the board, we have moved your tribe here. You're still a tribe, which means you're still support-only. If you have any questions about the move, please do not discuss it on the boards. Rather, contact an administrator or start a thread in Questions and Suggestions. Thanks, and happy posting!
post #177 of 196
I'm not sure if this is the tribe for me, but....
I have an almost 4yo, and I'm quite happy with the way we have handled toys. He has enough, but probably much, much less than many children in middle-class households. He has both high-quality toys and also a case of MIC hotwheels.

In the living room we have two med-sized square baskets, one filled with wooden blocks made by a friend ( I treasure these), and the other filled with misc items. There is also a small container of instruments for him to use, an antique wooden rocking horse (old but functional), and a wooden farmhouse on a table. It all fits nicely into the living room so it is obvious a child lives and plays here but does not by any means dominate the space.

In his room are books, stacks of puzzles, a basket for his Brio trainset, a basket of legos, a small basket of lincoln logs, and a little suitcase of hot wheels. In the closet is the giant tub of tinkertoys and his easel. Art supplies all fit nicely into a small cabinet in our computer room.

I guess this does sound like a lot!! But I feel we've done a pretty good job weeding things out and keeping it under control. For Christmas he gets one big Santa gift, and a couple smaller items. Last year he got a wooden sword and shield from Santa, and mostly homemade things and books from me. In his stocking we put things like bubble baths, fun toothbrushes, fruit leather, etc.

The other day he found a Buzz Lightyear doll at a resale shop. He had already seen this doll at a festival where a little girl had one. It was love at first sight. I could see how happy he was when he saw it at the shop and for 5 bucks it was his. It is a plastic doll that talks, and for the last 3 days this nightmare of a toy has made my child ridiculously happy. So I am not hardcore, and I will follow his lead on toy choices sometimes.

I loooooove toys. I am already planning his bday and Christmas gifts! Because we don't acquire them year round (except books), it makes the special occassions so much fun. Probably an abacus for bday and a marble run for Christmas.

So maybe I fit here, i dunno
post #178 of 196
i would like to join although we are not toy free. we are pretty selective about what toys we do buy and well a lot of his "toys" are actually wooden spoons he plays with while i cook or wash dishes so maybe they don't count?

i want to be more selective and buy fewer toys and have fewer toys around as he gets older. the one toy i will not be really limiting is wooden blocks but thats because i love building with them and right now he is playing with those as they seem to be his favorite toy as well.
post #179 of 196
for those who seek.
post #180 of 196
Safigee[/QUOTE]You mentioned the type of sling you have for your dd. Do you prefer that sling over others you have tried? I havent heard of it before but then all slings are just lovely to me. Im restraining myself from buying more than one of them. My mother gave us one and I find myself falling in love with some gorgeous homemade ones on Etsy but...Im trying to restrain! Ha ha![/QUOTE]

I like the wrap-style sling. For one thing, they are so versatile! And I find, with a good tie, it's great for my back! The Storchenwiege sling is organic. The other thing I like about it is that it is woven (and therefore works with an older child as well) rather than stretchy, but it has a bit of "give", which means it the weave can be pulled sidewise to fit snuggly around a newborn.

We didn't plan to use disposables, but DD was tiny and didn't fit the newborn cloth nappies we got (they fit now!). She also hated the wetness, and it would wake her up. Disana knitted cloth nappies really do fit any size baby, but they do take some folding and arranging (prefolds and nappy squares didn't work at all on our daughter's tiny bum, wees would run down her legs...).

We started reading to DD when she was only days old. She has really loved it since she was about 2 months old, and can stay interested for at least 15 min.

DD's interest in toys, apart from being read to, is limited to sucking on them - and her favourite is still the boardbooks, although she likes her little sheep, and any towelling type fabric item (bibs, wash cloth, towel). Her "toys" now includes 2 empty kleenex boxes, sometimes she likes them, and a tiny porcelain cup (just like ours!).
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