PLEASE NOTE: Author of this post is on the fourth day of family illness, has had three nights of broken sleep, had the second child become sick last night, and just spent an hour and half at CVS because they don’t have a pediatrician yet. If this post is incoherent, badly written, or there is much talk about penguins, please don’t judge too harshly.
For some reason, I worried about his bedding. I wanted something he would like. I wanted something that spoke to and for his personality. I wanted something he could use for a few years when he will be able to tell me what he liked. I didn’t want to force my taste and opinions on him. I didn’t want him to be sold on a corporate character. I wanted something that said little boy, that said smart, active, sweet little boy. I wanted the right bedding.
If a child was a blank slate, I was molding him into something with every choice. If I got him San Diego Chargers bedding, then he may end up loving football, playing football, not caring for anything but football. If I got him truck sheets, did I force him to a life of a gear head? If I got him space sheets, would he become a nerd? What if I gave him sheets that didn’t match his personality? Did I doom him to always trying to put him into a box to please me? Or would he resent me for trying to change him?
If a child already had dislike and likes, then he would have a personality that he was still unable to express because he was too inadequate with his language. How was I to guess what will interest him? How was I going to know what he liked? What he wanted? Would he hate it?
So how much influence do I have?
To find a bed set that was reasonably prices, wasn’t a character marketed to hell, held the interest of a toddler was quite the challenge. For Evan, I finally found a cute dinosaur set, which my husband agreed to by signaling he really didn’t care. Evan LOVED his dinosaur set, though not enough to override his want to sleep with his parents.
Every night, Evan hides in under his dinosaur comforter, waiting for me to come in and get him ready for bed. Once I am in the room, Evan starts to sing a song closely resembling the “Elmo’s World” song, and then he makes a cracking sound. Evan jumps up, shedding his comforter to announce, “Look! A Baby T-Rex has hatched out of his egg!”
Then it was Sean’s turn to get a set that highlighted his personality, that encouraged his imagination, that set the tone for his part of the room. I went back to worrying about how much influence I had on his personality, wondering if I knew Evan wanted dinosaurs in some deep seeded mother-intuition or that he liked dinosaurs because his bed had dinosaurs on it.
For some reason it was much harder to find a set that didn’t cater to some merchandizing scheme. It was harder to find something generic that appealed to a toddler, not a teenager. It was harder to find something for a reasonable price. After several stores, I finally found one that had some sets.
Me: Sean, which set do you want? Planets, trucks, or sports?
Sean: Moon! Balls! Moon! Balls! Moon! Balls!
Me: You’re right, Sean! This one has moons. And this one has balls. What do you want moons or balls?
Sean: Moon! Moon! Moon!
Sean: Balls! Balls! Balls!
Me: Ok. But which one? (I showed him both sets.)
Sean: (Banging his hands on both sets.) Moon! Balls! Moon! Balls! Moon! Balls!
So which do I pick? How much influence do I have over his personality? If he gets the space set, will he become a nerd who is interested in science, an astronomer working in Hawaii, an astronaut going to Mars? If he gets the sports set, will he become a jock, develop his arm to play for college and professional sports?
Sean: Moon! Balls! Moon! Balls!
Then I remembered when I held to acceptance letters, knowing that they weighed equally, knowing that I had ten minutes to jump in the car and get to the box that had a late pick up. I pulled out a quarter and flipped it.
Me: Balls, it is, Sean. But I’ll put up this really cool solar system poster I have. Oooo, you know what? You’re mommy still has a couple of star charts too that she painted with glow-in-the-dark paint. I bet she could find her old astroglobe too somewhere. Evan, put down the dinosaur. We need to check out and go home.