We just got back from your “destination birthday party” in Destin, Florida. Instead of having a party back home in Tennessee, the 3 of us (technically 4, if you count Baby Holly or Logan in the womb) decided to take a family vacation to celebrate your 5th birthday. To make things extra special for you, Lexus let us drive a Lexus GX for the trip!
Over the next week or so, I’ll be writing plenty more about your destination birthday party. But as for today, I should mention one of the overall themes our 4 ½ day vacation.
As we were leaving Tennessee, I Instagrammed a picture of you with the stuffed animals you chose to bring on the trip.
In the likeness of the 1985 movie Brewster’s Millions, you felt the need to spend all $100’s worth of your gift cards you received as birthday presents before we left Florida.
Mommy and I put the additional cash and checks that you received into your savings account, but as the $100 in gift cards, we decided it was fair to let you manage how it was spent.
After all, it was your birthday party and birthday weekend. Mommy and I wanted it to truly be a big deal to you.
So as soon as we arrived in Destin, we stopped at a Barnes & Noble where you spent your first $15; on a “Shark Week” shark.
I Instagrammed that event as well:
We took you to Target to let you possibly spend some of your remaining $85. While Mommy looked around for stuff she needed, I hung out with you for nearly an hour in the toy aisle; serving as your budget manager.
I helped explain to you how much things cost and how much remaining birthday money you would have if you bought that item.
For example, you were interested in a Power Ranger gun that you had seen on their show… but it cost $27!
You ended up buying a $13 Play-Doh ice cream shop. And boy did you have fun with that once we got back to the resort!
However, that was the only item you spent your $100 on that wasn’t a stuffed animal.
You later bought a baby shark while we were on the dolphin cruise. And then a baby penguin when we visited the Gulfarium. Then several more stuffed animals throughout the course of our trip…
Of course, we reminded you that you didn’t have to spend all $100 on the trip. But again, it was your birthday, so we wanted it to be your decision on how you spent the money; since it wasn’t cash that Mommy and I would have put in your savings account without you knowing it.
We reminded you had enough money to buy anything at all you wanted… even a brand-new bike!
However, the reality of it is that as a 5 year-old boy whose parents both work full time, there’s not a lot of time for you to ride your bike; especially since how weekends are often filled with running errands, like buying groceries and getting maintenance done on our cars.
When I considered which toys you actually spend the most time playing with, it’s not the plastic ones so much.
Granted, you love building Legos and you love your massive Hot Wheels and Thomas the Train collections… but ultimately, your exhaustive stuffed animal collection gets the most play time.
Every morning when we get ready for school, you always choose 2 animals to take to school with you.
I get it. You don’t see them as toys, but as real animals that you enjoy taking care of. You love pretend that they are babies that you are in charge of.
Granted, that concept goes well with the fact you have a baby brother or sister on the way…
I recognize these stuffed animals serve as tools for your psychological and social development. They’re much more than just stuffed animals.
So it doesn’t bother me that you spent $100 on stuffed animals (and a Play-Doh set) during your destination birthday party. I’m all for it.
I’m for whatever toys are going to help your development as a little boy. You spent most of your $100 on stuffed animals because in your currency, they hold more value than any other kind of toy.
Ultimately, a decade from now, it’s all the same anyway. Looking back, I’ll know that whether you spent your birthday money on stuffed animals or Power Rangers or Ninja Turtles, it made you happy as a boy on 5th birthday.
And that’s all that matters to me.