While in Portugal the girls had two ponies each, two Littlest Pet Shop Pets each and a ball. They played happily with these toys for hours on end. I should mention that they also had some arts and crafts supplies as well as some books but the playing was done with very few toys. I asked Calla what she wanted for her birthday and initially she listed a couple of ideas. I explained to her that along with Auntie and Uncle we would be happy to get her these things. I then had a long chat with her about different kinds of charities and brought up the idea that perhaps she would like to invite her friends to donate to one of her choosing. Note: I did not use Georgia's death to try to guilt her into this. We discussed all kinds of charities and she was actually very interested in the Humane Society. Calla is a huge animal lover! She was still unsure about this idea and I told her that she could think about it as it was her decision.
Sometime between Portugal and making invitations she decided that she wanted gifts. I have bitten my tongue on the matter and am trying really hard to let it go but am still struggling. My girls have so much! They are surrounded by family and friends that love to shower them with love and 'stuff'. The have more ponies and Littlest Pet Shop that most kids their age. They have dolls, Barbies and stuffies. They have baskets full of arts and crafts supplies.
Mike and I have always tried to show our children how to be generous. We always have the girls donate a toy and food at Christmas time. When they have outgrown some of their clothes and toys we always donate them to others and talk about why this is important. When Calla's school was collecting for the Haiti disaster we not only wrote a cheque but made sure that Calla had some money in her pocket to hand over herself so that she see and feel what it is to give.
I am trying to remind myself that she is still only 5 years old and deserves to have a party like any other child. The one limit I have set is that for every one new thing that Calla gets for her birthday she will have to choose one old one to donate to others. The invites have been sent so it is too late for this year but if any of you have any suggestions about doing a better job of teaching charity please feel free to share.
Our Calla is thriving and we couldn't be more proud of her. We only want to help her to understand that all of these gifts mean very little compared to the joy of celebrating a birthday with people who mean the world to you.
Love to you all,