Mutual Wants and Needs




Back when Paco was born I had such high ideals. Cotton only, wood or natural toys only – no plastic, organic food only – no sugar or chemicals, and the list goes on.

Then comes along those feelings of love for the child. What is important to the child becomes important to me. What he wants, I want or I want to get for him. Both Thomas and I have probably bought more for Paco than we intended. I remember a time where it seemed every time Paco and Thomas went into the farmer’s market together Paco came out with something else. “He wouldn’t let go of it!” More often than not if Paco latched onto a toy and wouldn’t let go it would be well played with.

When Thomas bought his first Lego I was shocked at how much he spent and what he got him. Again, this was something that Paco decided he wanted and wouldn’t take substitutions. Turns out it was well worth every penny put into it and received hours of playtime.

Though Paco likes his trucks and vehicles (particularly construction of course) his wood trucks are his least favourite. I remember the time he was quietly playing (with small cars I believe) when he said “I need a digger”. This was before he was talking that much at all and something like that made me take notice. I told Thomas about that and started the search for the ultimate digger for Paco. Originally Thomas got him a simple cheaper one at the toy store but I wasn’t satisfied (note it’s me that wasn’t satisfied). I had seen Paco playing with a particular back hoe/front loader across the street and wanted to find one of those. I finally found it and got it for him. Both diggers still get a lot of play now 2+ years later. I also went on the search for a matchbox digger and have yet to get one (saw them on eBay occasionally but the price of shipping gets ridiculous). I have gotten him a small Tonka digger that was a disappointment in its mobility, a demolition truck but not a decent mini digger.

Thank goodness Paco isn’t a very demanding child! Now it may sound like we will buy anything and everything for him but it’s not that bad. We did have a meltdown not too long ago when I wouldn’t get him a particular truck that we saw at the drugstore. I’m sure he would have enjoyed playing with it but he didn’t need it and it just wasn’t appropriate ‘time’ for such things.

One morning Paco woke up saying he needed some signs. Signs? Yes street signs. So we got right to work checking out signs on the internet. Not much there except metal ones for actual streets and construction sites. Time to make our own. No easy task for this person that is artistically challenged. Around that time we received a flyer in the mail with a pseudo stop sign attached to it (6-sided instead of 8) which was attached to a stick and was acceptable for a start. Meanwhile my mind was in gear in an attempt to make signs. Got the Bristol board in the appropriate colours and practiced making octagons. Let me tell you to draw an octagon using a ruler and measuring the angles was no easy task. Again and again I would go around and around only to end up with an uneven shape. Sitting on the kitchen floor with the kids helping out, either their own paper or on mine or climbing all over me we spent hours as I attempted to get a decent shape. It wasn’t until I was cutting it out that I realized it would have been easier to start with a square and cut out the corners. All those days wasted but that’s kinda how I am – simple suggestions can throw me over the edge with an ‘Of course!!!’ So we got the shape then had to cut out the letters. Not perfect but good enough. We had one of Paco’s small signs from his train set – a picture of a flagman. Forget it – out of the question for me to attempt to copy such a thing in larger size. We showed it to Thomas and I asked him if he could do it and he said ‘ya’ as if to say ‘well of course – easy.’ I was shocked.

So I spent hours working on the ‘CONSTRUCTION’ sign. To get the right sized, even shaped square (or diamond) was one thing but the hard part was cutting out the letters to all fit within the diamond shape. The kids going crazy as we hang out more on the floor with paper bits all over. Letters are cut out on paper and then Bristol board. Attempting to get some unity in the letters. Finally I have a couple of relatively decent signs ready. Get them laminated and attached to sticks from the woods outside. I’m thinking Thomas will need some time to do his drawings and cutouts but no – in 10 minutes he has it cutout on the Bristol board. Pick my jaw up off the floor – and a very good drawing no less.

Now Paco has 5 signs – CONSTRUCTION, flag man, worker digging, STOP, and DO NOT ENTER. The kids like the signs. Linsy mostly gets the STOP sign. Now on the street she will recognize them and cry out ‘BOP!’, same as what she says while carrying her sign around.

A long story to say that what is important to the kids becomes important to me. Even with Christmas I wanted to get them gifts they would appreciate and I opted out of Christmas years ago because I didn’t like the commercialism and the need to buy gifts.

There is the idea that our needs can coincide with our childrens’ and that taking care of them needn’t be draining to us as the parents. I guess I’ve noticed some of that as my wants and needs have changed along the way. Now my desire for tidiness and order are being challenged but I need more clarity in that area in my own life! As usual it’s the back and forth dance as we journey along the path…

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