Christmas gifts

Last night’s post was just too sad.  Sorry about that.  I actually hung on to it in my queue for 12 hours and then just said whattheheck, let’s post it as part of the honest record.  But if you don’t want to comment, that’s okay by me.  Here’s a happier thought.

Christmas gifts.  I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect “big gift” for my little boy this year.  You know what I mean.  The one that totally blows him over but he didn’t even know he wanted.  It’s gone through several iterations.  First it was a wooden dollhouse (More on this in a minute.  And yes, I do know he’s a boy.).  Then a dollhouse-sized fire station (Good alternative for boys, right? But where are they?  I could only find them online, and the materials and workmanship are apparently quite shoddy.  If only the fire stations were half as well put-together as the dollhouses out there, I would have bought one!).  A garage for his trucks (See fire station).  A plastic airport that he saw at Target that he loved and wanted me to buy him on the spot (His first “I want to take this home and play wif it” request — how could I say no?  But I did).  And then, I found it.

The Plan Toys wooden airport.  This thing is so durn cool.  I am just in love with it, and I even sprang for the matching little orange biplane.  I bought it and hid it and am totally ready for the big morning.

Or at least I thought I was.  Then, out shopping yesterday, we found it.  The Ryan’s Room Home Sweet Home doll house.  Just what I’d been looking for.  It’s three stories, 1:12 scale, natural materials, windows that open and shut AND shutters that open and shut, a swinging door, partially furnished, and the whole thing closes up with a magnet so that baby brother can’t get into it and eat the pieces.  I casually strolled over and took a look, and Widget ran to the box and glued himself to it like one of the magnets inside.  After careful inspection and a quick discussion, we decided to bring it home.

Yup, I bought my boy a dollhouse. 

And you know what?  I don’t even care what you think of that.  He’s been sad lately but can’t tell me why, and it’s starting to concern me.  I thought maybe a dollhouse, with a family that has people just like us (the family set includes a Grandpa and Grandma!), would help him work some things out and maybe reveal some things that are going on in his little head.  This little guy is everything to me, and it breaks my heart that he tells me sometimes, “Me sad,” or “me sick.”  Because he’s not sick.  I am.  And it makes him sad.

That makes me sad.  Very sad.

So last night, I decided to spoil him and provide him with tools to express himself at the same time.  We bought the dollhouse (at 1/3 the list price!), brought it home, and put it together all in the same night.  We played construction crew while we assembled it.  Mommy was the architect who read the directions and put it together.  Daddy was the contractor who held the parts in place and tightened the screws.  Widget was a worker like in his Richard Scarrey books and helped with every bit of the assembly.  (Little Bear must have been the foreman, because he mostly just watched and came over now and then to say hi!)  We had a great time building it together and would have happily spent more hours doing it, but it was quick work.

And then, he played.  For an hour and a half, he played quietly with the house, arranging the rooms and having his little people family walk up and down the stairs and perform everyday activities like eating dinner together and reading the little boy to sleep.  WhyDaddy and I watched in amazement and joined in occasionally at his request.

This morning, he got up and played with it again for an hour.

Of course, he also ran around, climbed into the fort in the back yard, painted, played with play-doh, helped bathe Little Bear, helped with laundry, and crawled in next to me to read big tough Tonka Truck pre-reader books at naptime.  He’s still all boy.

But I think he’s got some stories to tell, and I, for one, am all ears.


24 Responses to Christmas gifts

  1. Emily says:

    Who’s judging? What do you think Zachary got for Hanukkah last year? And his is pink.

    He played with it a lot for a long time. He plays with it less now that he’s so into trains, but now his little brother loves it.

  2. Ally says:

    Eli has been spending a lot of time playing with Sylvia’s Ryan’s Room Dollhouse. There is nothing that defines a dollhouse as being right for a girl or a boy exclusively, in my opinion. I’m glad that Widget is enjoying his, and hopefully it will allow him to express– through the little people– whatever it is that’s bothering him.

  3. mcgearstella says:

    How could anyone judge what makes a child smile and laugh and be completely entertained? My son had more Dora toys up until a few months ago than I knew what to do with!! But he loved her and loved all of her toys and accessories. How could you deny that!??! Your decision was wonderful one and it is actually an excellent therapeutic tool, apart from being a great toy!!

    You are more than entitled to be sad whenever you want and scared and overwhelmed and any other emotion out there. I’ve only been reading for a short time but in that time I never really thought of it as a terminal disease either. I don’t know that you can stop and think about it, it almost seems too daunting. You fight the fight and you beat the disease and you live each day as best you can because you want to.

  4. That therapeutic value is exactly the same reason I’m so glad I jumped right in and gave Acorn a puppy last summer — if you happened to read this post from a few days ago, you’ll see how he’s using the dog to explain what he’s feeling about being away from me, when he’s not comfortable saying so directly. The dog has been worth her weight in euros for the effect she’s had on Acorn’s emotional health.

  5. Coco says:

    I found you through 25 Days to Make a Difference. May I join Team WhyMommy?

    Also: I LOVE that you bought your son a dollhouse. Who says that they have to be for girls only?

    I got my son a kiddie kitchen for Christmas. He loves to “cook” and “help” when I’m in the big kitchen, and it frustrates him to no end that he can’t see everything. One of my friends made the remark that she’d been reluctant to get her own son a kitchen but later bought one for her daughter. Then her SON played with it more than her little girl!

    Kids like to play at grown-up things. It’s irrelevant to them what they’re “supposed” to play with.

    Happy Holidays.

  6. juliepippert says:

    Whatever else, cancer, chemo, or not, you’re still just a person, first and foremost. And I hope you know I mean that with kindness and caring and I hope it’s not offensive. I don’t have cancer and I have down days and get gripy and sad, morose in posts even. (Or worse, morose in poor Anne Nahm’s comments today.)

    So…you realized something tough and got down. It’s okay. I checked the Rulebook for Humanity and it’s allowed.

    (And oddly I am seeing this post before the one you are referring to!)

    As for the dollhouse, I wholeheartedly endorse that. I got it for my Patience and it was a GREAT outlet and spot for role playing. Of course, we ended up with no secrets, LOL.

    I think boys and girls both love dollhouses. So much to do! Ditto for kitchens FTR.

    Have fun playing!

    Using My Words

  7. jj says:

    I haven’t even STARTED yet…Gah!

    I have not ONE gift for anyone….It’s the 4th…Clocks -a- tickin’!!!


  8. Oh, Whymommy, I am THRILLED about the doll house… THRILLED!! I am the woman who defied her Brother-In-Law and bought her nephew a doll… AND a little tiny rocking chair, so that sweet, sweet boy could rock his baby to sleep. I am also the woman who stands up and CHEERS in the audience, when my best friend’s son performs in his ballet dance recital…

    Boys need this. Boys DESERVE this. Because boys are the next generation of Good Men, and we are all responsible for helping them to become Good Men.

    Someday, their wives and their children are going to be so happy, and so very, very grateful…

    lots of love to you and your boys– CGF xo

  9. Both my boys had them. Ben’s was a Bear in the Big Blue House house! And Jack’s was a Playmobil house.

    I think they’re so important.

    Good on you. And yes, I’m sure he has stories to tell.

  10. Stimey says:

    I’m going to come over, I’m going to shove all the kids out of the way, and I’M going to play with that thing.

    Do you think Widget will mind?

  11. maggie says:

    Boys should have doll houses. and girls should have tool belts. And vice versa.

  12. Marie says:

    I wanted to get my son a dollhouse, but my husband wouldn’t go for it. I don’t see why they are considered “girl” toys, boys live in houses too, and relate to family members. I thinking they’re excellent learning tools too.

  13. mayberry says:

    My son (age 2.5) plays with his older sister’s dollhouse FAR more than she does. It’s one of the advantages of having kids of both genders — no comments from the peanut gallery about having both dolls and trucks in the playroom! I’m so glad Widget loved his gift!

  14. Robin says:

    What a wonderful gift, and what a wonderfully in tune mommy to give him something to help him work through his emotions as he plays.

  15. Boo wants a dolls house. Why do girls get all the fun? Who says boys just want to play with cars?

    Too (a girl) only ever wanted boys toys. Her first real Christmas she got a tool belt – like Mummy’s – a Batman and John Smith from Pocahontas doll.

    She has only ever wanted boys toys. And that is cool. Boo wants a dolls house and a microwave. He is getting a cubby house, a BIG dolls house.

    You are a special mummy to not give into the sterotype and let your boy express himself.

    Oh and Boo got a Pixelchicks house recently. He loves it. And so do all his friends – boys and girls.

    (I didn’t comment on the last post cause I didn’t get a chance to pop in. Do you need a top up of the hugs? )

  16. I think its awesome. My son loves to carry my daughter’s baby dolls around (he is only 14 months, so no real “play” with them yet). And for Christmas we bought them a new kitchen set, and its pink. Oh well, he will love it anyway. And we also got a ridiculously cool old- fashioned roadster pedal car. Two joint gifts for the kids, and gender roles be damned! They will both love them both!

  17. Bon says:

    you needn’t apologize, either for the sad post, which i’d missed until now…or for buying your boy a dollhouse. i wish more parents would. i’m noticing how much O loves his baby doll and thinking that as he gets older he, too, would probably really like a house to play with just as he likes to point out all the things the rabbit family are doing in the Richard Scarry house…kudos for you to listening to your child, and being sensitive to what will help him express some of his sadness and his other feelings right now. i wish we had more gender neutral toys available these days.

  18. If it can soothe and comfort him, go for it. My battle with cancer was two years ago, and last night my 5 yr old son crawled up in my lap with tears in his eyes and asked, “When are you going to die Mommy?”

    If it makes him feel like he has some control, he’ll deal with things better…

  19. Melissa says:

    I’m so glad you stopped by my blog 🙂
    I LOVE that you bought your son a doll house! I think that is 100% aweseome. My little girl loves all things princess and all things cars, dinosaurs, snakes and army guys 🙂

  20. practiceliving says:

    What a great present! Aside from the fun and joy he obviously gets out of it, you’re giving him the gift of another way to “talk” about what’s going on in his little head!

  21. Sara C says:

    A few days ago you mentioned in your post and I just wanted to let you know that I was inspired by you and totally in love with the head huggers concept so I got a group of friends together over the weekend and we crocheted and donated (locally) 20 hats. We are already planning our next get together.

    Thanks for the idea!

  22. Dawn says:

    In my “other life” I’m a speech pathologist – kids always have better language samples when they get to play with things that are familiar and they are more inclined to “use their words” when they know how the toys work – so I can back up your mommy instinct 🙂

  23. […] have toy kitchens? They all eat; they all grow up in homes with kitchens.” And my friend WhyMommy sees her little boy benefiting from a dollhouse and toy family to help him process some of his […]

  24. Nicole says:

    I love that you got your son a dollhouse! I bought my son the furniture for a dollhouse and put it on shelves to act as the rooms. Check out my toy blog at:, where I review toys!

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