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Thread: Secular Confessions

  1. #43261
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    Holy crap, how do you stay sane and functional, L? I'm trying to think of what you can do - maybe quiet activities like puzzles or blocks? In the absence of a room for just him, man, it must be hard.

    I'm sure attitudes towards gift giving are cultural. It will come as no surprise to anyone that I had no baby shower. And my wedding invite said 'No Gifts'. Close family still gave stuff, but they knew me well enough to know what to get.

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    Quote Originally Posted by missychrissy View Post
    I'm weird with you. And I enjoy MORE buying something I know they're going to want. It stresses me out to no end to shop for someone when I have no clue what they like or might need.
    That's more along the lines of what I meant. I love buying gifts for people *if* it is something i know they are going to love, but get stressed out when I have to worry about what to buy/if they'll like it/if they aready have it

    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    Oh I had a baby shower too. I know it's practical and not unreasonable. It's just odd, one of those things I imagine a more evolved version of humans finding hilarious.

    Also, not even in the tiniest way did I mean that I don't enjoy buying gifts for people. That's just, I mean, no. That's not what I meant.
    I didn't take it at all like that!!

    Quote Originally Posted by AmeriBrit View Post
    I have noticed that the whole gift giving process is looked at differently in the UK. At birthday parties, you don't open presents that people have given you. You wait until you're home after the party when everyone else has gone home.
    Can I move there with you?!?! I absolutely loathe the opening gifts in front of people process. It takes so much time and I always have to pretend to be excited to get #3,4,5 of something and keep going

    Than again, I really hate being the center of attention, it makes me highly uncomfortable. That's why we are doing a co-ed baby shower this time, so I can make DH help me open gifts

    Things are a little crazy, but I'm loving every minute of it My Blog


  3. #43263
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    Oh yeah, opening of gifts, especially kids' birthday gifts in front of everyone, is considered extremely tacky. No one needs to know just how much people were spending on stuff.

  4. #43264
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    3andMe is offline Every day is a gift. It's just... does it have to be a pair of socks? Hopelessly Devoted
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    When he gets like this, no activity is quiet. Even a puzzle or blocks would get thrown around. Also, even if he had his own room, he wouldn't stay in it. If for some reason I felt like I could lock him in, he'd go ballistic. I was concerned about leaving him in the living room by himself, even in the dim light with a quiet tv show and a pillow and a blanket on the couch, because even though I put some furniture up against the front door, he could potentially move it and try to go outside if he was very determined, or he could maybe try to do something to the fish tank, or I had a bunch of camping gear set out on the kitchen counter ready to pack up. He can get in a lot of trouble if he's bored and restless.

    This is what he was doing during his CLANG CLANG RATTLE BING BANG GONNA MAKE MY NOISE ALL DAY phase. He snuck very quietly into the play kitchen area, got some pots and pans out, and then started BANGING them together as LOUDLY as he could to try to wake everybody up:



    I know I'm not going to be as patient as I would like today, and I'm already dreading that part of it. And my eyes hurt and my back hurts.

    It's been a while since he's pulled all-nighters. Well, actually technically these weren't completely all-nighters. He has done complete all-nighters before, but not for a long time.


  5. #43265
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    3andMe is offline Every day is a gift. It's just... does it have to be a pair of socks? Hopelessly Devoted
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    I've noticed the trend to not opening presents at kids' parties. I've only been to a couple of parties in the past few years where presents were opened at the parties. They usually tend to be younger kids, and Claire tends to insist on "helping" them open them. It's hard to keep her away. The last party we went to where it was a school-aged kid and presents were opened, some of the negative aspects of present-opening were seen, like other kids commenting on "lame" presents from his grandfather who traveled from another country to be there with him. It was horrible.


  6. #43266
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3andMe View Post
    I've noticed the trend to not opening presents at kids' parties. I've only been to a couple of parties in the past few years where presents were opened at the parties. They usually tend to be younger kids, and Claire tends to insist on "helping" them open them. It's hard to keep her away. The last party we went to where it was a school-aged kid and presents were opened, some of the negative aspects of present-opening were seen, like other kids commenting on "lame" presents from his grandfather who traveled from another country to be there with him. It was horrible.
    Wow that's so sad

    I would love not to open gifts in front of people and might even suggest it and see if I can sneak that by without people getting their panties in a wad.

    Things are a little crazy, but I'm loving every minute of it My Blog


  7. #43267
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    It's a good thing the little stinker is so cute, L! Mira has pulled a lot of night time shenanigans, but that's not one of them. On the one hand, I wish we lived closer, so the kids could wear each other out, and on the other, I'm glad they haven't had the opportunity to meet and compare notes.

  8. #43268
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    I've noticed the trend to not opening presents at kids' parties. I've only been to a couple of parties in the past few years where presents were opened at the parties. They usually tend to be younger kids, and Claire tends to insist on "helping" them open them. It's hard to keep her away. The last party we went to where it was a school-aged kid and presents were opened, some of the negative aspects of present-opening were seen, like other kids commenting on "lame" presents from his grandfather who traveled from another country to be there with him. It was horrible.


  9. #43269
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    S. slept all of about 45 minutes, after being awake from 3:30 to 6 AM and then falling asleep on the couch at 6 AM. I carried him back to his bed, and then at 6:45 DH brought him back out to the living room and S. was yelling about how it wasn't wake-up time yet. I told him he could lie down on the couch with a blanket again and he could go to sleep if it was still night, if he wanted, or he could stay awake if he wanted. It's going to be a long day. The twins are up.


  10. #43270
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    But how would you play Bingo at the baby shower if you didn't open gifts there?

    I wouldn't like to give gifts if they weren't opened while I was still there. That is part of the fun of giving it.

    Though I admit that I don't really exchange much anymore with anyone. I don't throw myself birthday parties, my wedding shower was 10 years ago. I just have the baby shower coming up. And even with xmas, we don't really exchange. it's all adults now and too hard to buy for people. Plus we don't always go back home for the holiday. This year my MIL might come up for xmas by us and we will probably get stuck buying for her but I have time to come up with something.

    Jennifer, 35, DH 36

  11. #43271
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    Oh L, I feel so sorry for all of you! That sounds so hard.

    Jennifer, 35, DH 36

  12. #43272
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    Bingo at the Baby Shower???

    I don't even plan to do Bday parties, at all. We did one for Nolan's 1st and will do one for this little guys 1st, but beyond that - we'll just pick an activity to do for their birthdays (like this past year we did the behind the scenes zoo experience for Nolan's 2nd). Speaking which, still trying to think of something to do for Nolan's 3rd bday, especialy since this litte guy will only be 5 months, that limits us. Maybe a trip to MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry) would be fun for Nolan and inside with frequent resting spots for me and the baby.

    Maybe when they get older and have little friends we'll re-evaluate, but for now - that's the plan.

    Things are a little crazy, but I'm loving every minute of it My Blog


  13. #43273
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smplyme89 View Post
    Bingo at the Baby Shower???
    That's what I was thinking as well. I haven't attended a lot, but the baby showers I've attended didn't have games or anything. Just good food, schmoozing, opening of gifts. The best I have seen, BY FAR - a hand made blanket, with the mom to be's horse on it. The ladies that put it together are from the barn where she keeps her horse, and clearly, put a lot of thought and effort into it.

  14. #43274
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    Yes bingo. So at the beginning you get a blank card and fill it up with baby things. Binkie, diaper, rattle, bottle...that sort of thing. as momma opens gifts you can mark off your card for the bingo. And of course there are prizes for the games. There are some other games that are played too but the bingo one tends to be a favorite of the showers my family/family friends have done.

    Almost every shower I have been too also has some homemade gifts. Usually knitted or crocheted baby blankets or homemade baby clothes.

    Food....my family will for sure have sloppy joes (homemade), a few salads, cake...that sort of thing. Long tables with decorations. Nothing super fancy or expensive to put together but usually pretty fun.

    I cannot wait to have one....will not be too huge or anything. Would probably invite 20-30? Depends on how many people my MIL and my mom invite since they go to showers for their friends kids/grandkids, their friends will probably come to mine. Plus my family...probably not too many friends for me though since most of mine don't live back home anymore.

    Jennifer, 35, DH 36

  15. #43275
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    Something like this http://www.parents.com/baby/shower/g...-shower-games/ Except we have always given the registery list out and let the players fill in the card themselves. That way they can put items where they want and use the items that they think were bought.

    Jennifer, 35, DH 36

  16. #43276
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    I've played tons of baby shower games, but that is a new one to me Jennifer!

    We will have a couple of games at the baby shower. Nothing too involved though. I want to keep it as simple as possible. With it being co-ed and more of a casual get together than traditional baby shower I am expecting quite a large group. Basically it is a 'hang out and eat food' event. I do need to come up with something for the dozen kids that'll be there to do. Probably a pinata or something (DHs family *loves* those things).

    Things are a little crazy, but I'm loving every minute of it My Blog


  17. #43277

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    L, you must be so exhausted. And now camping... wow. I'm sorry.

    We usually do open presents at the party, although we have few parties and they tend to be small when we do. Noe's 3rd bday was the biggest party we've had around here in years (and yes, C and R did get excited about helping her open her presents, but she didn't mind in the least! She loved it). For me, one of the most fun things about giving someone a gift is getting to watch them open it. I usually put some thought into it and have hopes that they'll like it, and seeing their face is the best part. I find it a bit of a let-down when I give a gift and never find out if they even liked it. But that's more about me than the gift recipient, I guess.
    At Christmas in my family, we always take turns opening a gift at a time around the room so everyone can watch each person open each gift. We just really enjoy that moment of opening and seeing what the gift is -- very joyful. I suppose that's just what I've always known.
    In the case of children being rude about gifts at a party, I suppose I'd see it as a teachable moment. Kids need chances to learn how to be polite in company. But I can absolutely see why parents wouldn't want to deal with it at a party, especially if there are a lot of children there. It can be chaotic.
    -- mom to DD1 1/98 and DD2 10/09


  18. #43278
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    We started a 'gifts only for the kids' at Christmas, years and years ago. Nolan's first Christmas me, my mom, and my one aunt bought for ALL the kids. My Uncle showed up with only gifts for his grand kids and none for anyone else. Considering his grandkids make up 75% of the kids at the get together (and we had bought for all of them) I thought it was pretty crummy.

    After that I made it clear we weren't going to be involving ourselves in gift giving. So last years get together didn't involve gift, which worked out perfectly.

    BUT I have a pretty self-centered and greedy family. We tried drawing names for two years in a row and people would show up without gifts for 'their' person. It's been quite a headache. Getting together, eating food, and hanging out together is much less stressful and no one feels 'put off'

    Things are a little crazy, but I'm loving every minute of it My Blog


  19. #43279
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    Yeah we take turns opening at xmas when we are around others.

    Dh's family tried to do names but than a few would show up with stuff for everyone. Than it go to the point where everyone basically just exchanges $25 gift cards which is stupid to us too. So now I pretty much try to avoid xmas presents. Except the dogs each get a present. LOL I have a bunch of empty boxes that I wrapped for under the tree to look pretty. I even finally got MIL to where we didn't have to buy her a gift and said we would do birthdays instead.
    I would just much rather do something, like treat the person to a nice dinner instead.

    It really is a lot easier when DH and I just stay home at xmas and enjoy some cookies and music and the dogs with their new toys. Plus it's hard to get off work that time of year and travel when it's snowing.

    Jennifer, 35, DH 36

  20. #43280
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    We haven't had any birthday parties for Mira yet. I figured, until a certain age, it's more for us, anyway. We just get together with SIL's family, and have cake. Not a whole lot different from every other get together with them :-) I don't think either of their kids have had birthday parties either, and they're 7 and 11. They don't seem to care.

    I am bothered by the kids' demeanor during the gift opening. You can tell, even when they are being polite, when they're just being polite, and when they are truly excited by a gift. And then there is the fallout of having to deal with the littles, who don't understand why one person got so much stuff, and they got none. At some point, we'll have to have birthday parties, I'm sure, and I'm considering specifying 'No Gifts' on the invite.

  21. #43281

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    We only celebrate christmas with my family, generally, so it's a small group. Just dh and I and the kids, my parents, my sister and brother and my sister's partner (my bro has never had a serious enough girlfriend for us to meet, and neither my sis or bro has kids).
    Dh's family is pretty far-flung, but if we see them around Christmas we might exchange gifts - his mom gets something for us and the girls, and we give her something, but usually through the mail since she's a few states away.
    So our Christmas is just 8 or 9 people and we've been celebrating together the same totally routine way my whole life (some might call our routines "traditions," but we always do everything exactly the same, and if anything is different, people make a fuss). Gifts have never been a problem since it's just our little group. Some years we have great ideas, some years not so much. I usually hand-make some or most of the gifts I give. Over the years there have been times one or another of us will suggest not giving gifts to the adults, or cutting back, or giving to charity instead, or whatever -- but there's always another person who says "But I have the perfect idea this year!" or "But I've already gotten everything!" and so it never ends up happening. Maybe sometime.

    This coming year, though, it just might be different. DH's been asking for years for us to celebrate at our house instead of my folks'. I totally agree with him, but the rest of the family has balked, which wouldn't be hard to deal with except that DD1 is the most vocal balker. She is really, really into traditions, and every year we've celebrated with my parents at their house, and the idea of not doing so has been very upsetting to her (remember, for many years it was just her and me, so extended family is very important to her). Anyway, last year we broached the idea of staying home and she was absolutely distraught, so we tabled it. We have been preparing her for a whole year that we're going to stay home this year, and so far she seems to be accepting it okay, although I don't know if she'll still be ok with it as it gets closer. She'll be almost 16 this year, so maybe she's mature enough to deal. We'll see.
    -- mom to DD1 1/98 and DD2 10/09


  22. #43282
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    Quote Originally Posted by pepperlru View Post
    For me, one of the most fun things about giving someone a gift is getting to watch them open it. I usually put some thought into it and have hopes that they'll like it, and seeing their face is the best part. I find it a bit of a let-down when I give a gift and never find out if they even liked it. But that's more about me than the gift recipient, I guess.
    That's how I feel as well, however not so much that I would be disappointed to not get to watch them open it. We also take turns opening gifts at xmas just so we can watch everyone open their present. It's fun. But that's immediate family (my kids, Rich, and perhaps my mom and brother). I don't expect to do that at any other party.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smplyme89 View Post
    BUT I have a pretty self-centered and greedy family. We tried drawing names for two years in a row and people would show up without gifts for 'their' person. It's been quite a headache. Getting together, eating food, and hanging out together is much less stressful and no one feels 'put off'
    Another alternative would be--if you want a gift, you bring a gift. They'd almost have to be unisex gifts, but anyone that didn't bring one wouldn't get one. No one left out!

    Mama to Bobbie 20 ~ Jesi 18 ~ Syd 14 ~ Conner 6
    I'm gonna be a Gramama! Jesi is due 11/22/13


  23. #43283
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    L, my heart is hurting for you. Hang in there. ((hugs))

    Mama to Bobbie 20 ~ Jesi 18 ~ Syd 14 ~ Conner 6
    I'm gonna be a Gramama! Jesi is due 11/22/13


  24. #43284

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    We always draw names with DH's family but this year we've decided that we are all going in on a big 10 person condo in the mountains for a weekend in jan or feb. We will all go away together for the weekend instead.
    AKA Lisa724

  25. #43285
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    3andMe is offline Every day is a gift. It's just... does it have to be a pair of socks? Hopelessly Devoted
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    S. is crying over everything. Every little thing. They saw me getting out the camping supplies and they each wanted to grab a mat and lie down on the floor and he wanted the one Claire was lying on, and he just screamed at her and tried to shove her off of it. I talked to her gently about how he didn't get much sleep last night and it would be the kinder and quieter thing to not argue with him today, and be as tender as possible, and she asked him if he would like to share her mat and cuddle with her and he just ran pell-mell at her with his little arms like windmills, full-force, intent on knocking her over. So I helped make another mat more attractive to her and finally got them all settled in on their respective mats, and I tried to start cooking breakfast and get some stuff in the cooler, and S. decided I'd made Claire's new mat so much better that he wanted that one. More crying and screaming.

    I lightened up the mood temporarily by talking again about how when people don't get enough sleep it's easy to cry over things, and the wrong mat will make a wah and running out of milk will cause another wah and a wah wah here and a wah wah there, here a wah there a wah everywhere a wah wah, but man, I feel like wah-ing myself right now. It's almost 10:30 AM and I've been up for 7 hours already.

    ------

    Gretchen, that teachable moment with the "lame" birthday presents didn't happen, not really. The kid who called them lame was not told anything and the birthday boy reacted with a distinct lack of enthusiasm to everything he got. He was told to thank everyone, and he came around and said "Thank you" in a monotone to everyone, one by one. DH and I looked at each other and said, in unison, in a robotic voice in reply, "You. Are. Welcome." I felt really badly for the grandfather who brought this nice stack of classic books and toys and I was the only one who expressed appreciation for his thoughtfulness.


  26. #43286
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    G...is the family spread out? Could you do say Eve at one place and the Day at home?

    Jennifer, 35, DH 36

  27. #43287
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    L, I hope that S takes a nap! Long enough that he's no longer grumpy, but short enough he'd go to bed tonight without histrionics.

  28. #43288

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    Well, he just sounds like a horrible child (joking, but not entirely). Not much you can do but be appalled.

    Warning: Crotchety, get-off-my-lawn, old lady, and at least partially off-topic screed ahead. (And one that is in NO way applicable to ANY child here on our board, as every child I've met from here is truly a delight.)

    I guess what I was getting at by "teachable moment" is that our society is doing away with many things that used to be common and normal because people, and in particular children, don't know how to handle them appropriately. Not just birthday parties, but lots of other situations too. Our expectation of kind, courteous behavior is eroding because we no longer offer opportunities to learn it. Rather than spend time and effort teaching children to respond appropriately, politely, wait their turn, etc., we tend to just be removing the occasions where that behavior would be necessary. As an example -- I know most of us don't attend church, but when I was a child I was expected to sit quietly during the service. My parents taught me to do this from a young age. But in recent years, going to different churches with my parents, I've noticed that children are not only not expected to do this, they're not even really welcome. They have their own play/sunday school, called "Children's Church," and all children are expected to go there instead of the regular service. This way, they say, the kids don't have to sit still, and the parents can be free to relax and sip their mocha while they 'worship.' Fine and good, and certainly makes parents' jobs easier and more enjoyable -- but a byproduct is that they've removed an occasion where, for an hour weekly, children used to learn to practice patience, impulse control, and quiet stillness. As we take away opportunities for children to learn and practice these attributes, when and how will they learn them? What will society look like when they are adults? How will they relate to each other?

    I think our generation was really the first where many parents did not take time to instill courtesy and manners into children, and I see every day around me parents who cannot teach these things to their children because they don't practice them themselves. Opening doors for others, saying "excuse me," "thank you," even responding when someone says hello. Around here, for example, it's become popular to say at the park, "We don't encourage sharing or taking turns. It's developmentally inappropriate." I have a friend who espouses this, and her kid is a brute. I understand that a three year old has trouble with the concept of taking turns, but if she doesn't start teaching him now, what does she expect? That when he is 12, empathy and patience will just magically rain down from the sky and make him a person others can stand to be around?

    I understand that most parents are stretched thin, exhausted, stressed and doing our best. We're just trying to get by (me too). And it totally makes sense to just say "I'm not going to deal with this, because it is uncomfortable, and I don't have to." We all do it, me included. When it becomes systemic, however, I wonder how it will change us. Maybe change is natural - our society has become so much more casual in the last couple of generations, and thanks to technology, less focused on personal interaction. I'm interested to see what things will be like when our kids are adults, and their kids. But a little scared, too.
    -- mom to DD1 1/98 and DD2 10/09


  29. #43289

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    Jennifer, we're 8 hours apart. We will probably visit my parents after Christmas, or they mentioned possibly coming up here to be with us if we insist on being at home. (I'm not looking forward to that too much because when they visit us they usually complain that our house is too small and cramped and not very comfortable for them - they may stay in a nearby hotel, but then I'll hear little comments here and there about the expense...)
    Their place is bigger, which is why we've always been there, because they say it makes sense for us to all "be able to be together comfortably." And it does make sense, which is why we usually do it, but DH has asked for just ONE year at our home. I don't blame him - I think it would be nice, too.
    -- mom to DD1 1/98 and DD2 10/09


  30. #43290

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    L, I seriously don't know how you're doing it. I'd be breaking out the videos and the popsicles with no qualms - anything for a little peace and quiet. That, or the benedryl.*


    *joking about the benedryl.
    -- mom to DD1 1/98 and DD2 10/09


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