Having kids is a lot of hard work, but mostly, it's pretty awesome. Not only will I theoretically have someone to at least make sure I end up in a good nursing home when I get old, but we also get the thrill of experiencing childhood all over again through Madeline's eyes.
As a result, it gets pretty easy to spoil her. I get a huge thrill from buying her toys that she doesn't even particularly care about. For example, I picked up a set of tiny pots and pans from Ikea a few weeks ago because I just had to have them for Madeline's play kitchen. She's banged them together a few times, and uses them to put her princesses in the microwave, (ummmm?) but she really isn't that interested.
The concern that we might be spoiling Madeline first entered my brain on Christmas morning when she didn't even want to open her presents. It's probably a good thing that she isn't too concerned with material objects, but at the same time, I wondered if she was simply bored because she already has so many great toys. (Oh, another toy, Mumma? That's nice. Toss it in the pile.)
Yet, most of the time I don't think too much about spoiling her, and I think we really are setting good boundaries for her for the most part. It's just too much fun sharing all these new experiences with her, and in a couple of years, the magic will be over.
The thing that always amazes me is how much pleasure Madeline gets out of such simple things. For example, Eric had to work last Saturday afternoon. Since Madeline and I had the day to ourselves with no plans, I decided to take her to Friendly's for lunch.
I can't speak for other Friendly's restaurants, but the one near us? It's pretty gross. (However, the CT Friendly's are quite lovely.) It's like walking into a much dirtier, dingier version of the 80s...because you know, that was 30 years ago, but somehow they're still using the same silverware.
But when you're a little munchkin like Madeline, Friendly's is freakin' awesome. A greasy grilled cheese, chocolate milk AND a hot-fudge sundae? Just stop. Stop right there. Somewhere a toddler is becoming dizzy just from the thought of it. Oh wait, they also gave us a pink balloon on our way out the door. Boom! Drop mic!
Plus, I let Maddie sit in the booth across from me all by herself without a booster seat. She was so, so happy, and such a good girl the entire time.
Of course when we got home she immediately started pouting because she was not getting her way over something, and the spell was broken. Still, it's nice while it lasts.
The biggest indulgence last weekend, however, was going to see Sesame Street Live on Sunday. This was a total situation where I got more excited than Madeline did.
When I saw that it was coming to town, I actually let out an excited little squeal. You mean, we get to meet Elmo?! The real Elmo?! Yet, Maddie Bear didn't share the same level of enthusiasm.
I noticed a lot of the other kids her age jumping in their chairs and clapping their hands throughout the show, but that's not really Maddie's style. Madeline doesn't scream or dance when faced with new and exciting things. Instead, she very quietly watches and listens.
Her eyes lit up with a mixture of excitement and confusion when a giant Bert and Ernie walked across the stage. She stuck her tongue out in quiet concentration when they began singing. When Elmo finally made his grand entrance she quietly exclaimed, "It's Elmo! Dat's Elmo!" She spent the rest of the time cuddling on my lap while I stomped my feet and clapped my hands for her.
Somewhere right before intermission, she turned to me and asked very politely, "Can we go home now peeese?"
We got her spirits up with a bag of M&Ms during the break, and rallied for the second act, but by the time the show was over, she was ready to leave. In fact, she kept leaning her head on my shoulder and trying to sleep.
So although I think she liked it overall, Sesame Street Live wasn't the best thing since slice bread for little Madeline. Friendly's, on the other hand? Pretty darn amazing.
I guess I should learn my lesson and stick to the smaller joys, but I just saw a commercial for Disney on Ice...and. it. looks. awesome.