You should get him something “age appropriate” I have heard that since Noah was about 8 when he still wanted Blue’s Clues notebooks, Baby Bumble Movies made for toddlers and other preschool type gifts. I must admit I bought into that line of thought, hook line and sinker. I remember some discussions between Tina and I, as I pushed for what everyone told me he should want. It was a constant war within me, between the dad who wanted him to fit in and the dad who wanted to tell people to piss off. At one time or another both dads have won, but mostly it is a war of attrition. A war of exhausting myself trying to explain why a 12,13,14 and now 17-year-old plays with preschool toys. A war of trying to shed the guilt that I have felt because I didn’t get him something “age appropriate.”
Year after year Noah has asked for the same gifts and year after year we have provided exactly what is on his list. In previous years, I would brush over with friends and family what he was getting, it was just easier. This year something struck me, I don’t care if we get him an “age appropriate” gift, I want him to have a Noah appropriate gift. What does that mean? It means that for our son the gifts that make him happy are child and age appropriate for him, if they happen to be right for his age well that is a bonus. I am working on no longer allowing the guilt to wash over me for the values that others are placing on our son. How many adults play video games, are in softball leagues or other things that technically are not age appropriate? And, who the hell defines age appropriateness anyway? The gifts that Noah asks for are his most favorite things in the world and if they make his day brighter and better we will do everything we can to provide them for him. So, this year on his 17th birthday I am going to give an age appropriate gift of forgiveness and self-forgiveness, I am not going to carry the judgement of others for my family or our son. So, I still plan on signing the clue song from Blue's Clues and talk to him about things that are important to him becuase after all that is Noah appropriate.
*Update 4/20 10:53 AM – We still try to introduce new toys, videos and activities, but we don't beat ourselves up if he doesn't like them.