How to tell if a toy’s for boys or girls…

I updated the meme slightly…

children toys

If you like it, feel free to share. The original can be found here.

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Happy Birthday Jeremy!

It ended up being a day for just the two of us, and it was great 🙂

I got all the presents out last night then wrapped them…

the presents from me

My Mom and I went shopping yesterday and picked up the Jaffa Cakes (which Jeremy loves). I mentioned to the shop keeper that Jeremy was really into Doctor Who and was informed that all the teens who watch Doctor Who want Jammie Dodgers and Jelly Babies. Okay then, some more candy went onto the pile. And I couldn’t resist the puppy picture when I found it at BouClair (one of Jeremy’s favourite shops). Lately, every time Jeremy’s asked to guess something he asks, “Is it a puppy?” in blatant imitation of my friend M. I was thrilled to be able to tell him today that I did get him a puppy. He informed me this was the best type of puppy because it doesn’t need walking or cleaning.

Jeremy loved his card too although he was disappointed one of the balloons didn’t have a fancy string…

birthday card

I’ll work on that next time LOL. The card says “Today is going to be so happy… Today is going to make all the other days jealous”.

I made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, at Jeremy’s request then he built circuits while I baked his cake. And then we went to his favourite Japanese restaurant for lunch, followed by go-karting…

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I’d deliberately taken this shot from behind so I wouldn’t get Jeremy’s face in the shot, only to realize once we got out of the building that Jeremy had turned so his face would be in the photo. Crap.

“Jeremy?” I asked, holding out the camera. “Do you think anyone could tell this is you?”

He peered intently at the screen. “I don’t know. Maybe.”

“I was taking the picture for the blog,” I explained. “I didn’t think you’d turned. But it’s okay, I can blur your face.”

“But Mom! What if someone sees the background and recognizes the track? What if they think ‘I’ve been there before’ and look at the date and see my birthday was the same day? What if they realize it’s me?”

I look at the stats on the blog. At the beginning, the majority of the readers were in the States so I was able to tell Jeremy no one would know who he was. But I’m getting more visitors from Canada which means there’s more of a possibility.

“Jeremy? What is the worst that could happen if someone recognizes you?”

He stopped for half a second to stare at me. “Well, people would know who I am. People would know this is me on the blog.”

“Okay…” I drew the word out. As far as I could tell, he was stating the obvious.

He stared at me again. “Mom,” he said then paused. “What if I got disowned?”

I had absolutely know idea this was a worry of his. No idea at all.

“Jeremy, that’s not going to happen,” I protested. He didn’t look convinced. “If anyone ever disowned you, I’d disown them,” I promised and he grinned.

We walked a few more steps. “Hon, seriously. No one’s going to disown you. I already have two gay cousins.”

And he relaxed.

Then came Jeremy’s favourite part of the day. We went shopping. We went to Target, Value Village, Staples, Dollarama, and then back to Value Village. Well he went back to Value Village, I ditched him to go grocery shopping. Jeremy loves shopping and, well, it was his birthday so I tolerated it.

Also, I don’t know why I thought his birthday candle was pink, maybe because that’s the colour in every video I’ve found, but it turned out to be blue. It didn’t play music but it did spin so it was fabulous…

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You can see Jeremy’s new Doctor Who t-shirt and his brand new Doctor Who necklace from Emma. The necklace contains both a watch and a mirror. Jeremy loves it. And his shorts really are silver.

Happy 17th birthday Jeremy! You’re an amazing kid. I’m very lucky to be your mother.

And the presents are bought!!!

Jeremy’s so excited for his birthday but now that I’ve bought his presents, I might be the one who’s more excited.

I got off work early today and decided to stop in at the local mall on my way home to check out HMV. I don’t think I’ve set foot in that store in the past 10 years and was a little overwhelmed when I entered. Lots of loud music, lots of rows and racks. I noticed gift items along a nearby wall then immediately discovered a Doctor Who lamp. There was a sales clerk walking past and I asked how much the lamp was. Sixty dollars… that lamp went right back. Jeremy already has two lamps, he really doesn’t need a third. That was when I realized he was carrying a TARDIS mug complete with a lid. This one to be exact…

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“Oh wow,” I blurted, staring at his hands. “How much is the mug?” It was $25. I promptly took it. “My son will love this. He loves tea.”

“Here, why don’t I show you the rest of the Doctor Who items. I wouldn’t want you to miss any,” the clerk said enthusiastically. He proceeded to lead me around the store.

Now Jeremy’s getting the mug, a TARDIS bath towel, a Doctor Who t-shirt, a TARDIS bag (which claimed to be bigger on the inside), and a Minecraft Torch that can be placed on his wall. And I found a birthday card that says “Today is going to be so happy. Today is going to make all the other days jealous”… complete with sequined string balloons on the front. And my friend Lenny is mailing him tea so he’ll have something to drink from his mug. Very helpful considering how fast the kid goes through tea.

Whew… the party’s planned, the cake’s sorted out, the candle’s ready for spinning, musical pyrotechnics, and the presents are bought. All we need to do is give invitations to his two friends and wait for his actual day.

At least I don’t need to worry about Jeremy reading this. I read posts to him and he’ll make suggestions but he doesn’t actually read the blog. This is one post I just won’t mention 🙂

Pondering the past…

I was lying in bed one night, just on the verge of sleep, and found myself pondering toys or more specifically the toys Jeremy played with when he was a child. I tried to come up with a toy Jeremy had loved, one of those wow gifts… and failed. This wasn’t very conducive to sleep but I couldn’t stop thinking.

I remembered the car wash I’d bought him because he loved dinky cars and loved water (as long as it wasn’t on his face). I couldn’t remember him playing with it. Neither could I remember him playing with all the car tracks I’d bought him. He enjoyed playing with Lego but, again, it wasn’t an “OMG Lego” moment. The closest I could come up with were his stuffed animals and Build a Bear. Buying Pink Bear was definitely a hit. It confused the heck out of the poor teenager who helped Jeremy build it but the bear was a success.

Had he been wanting more *girls toys* and just didn’t know how to ask? I had no idea. And it was now edging close to midnight and I had to be up in five more hours. I tried to get to sleep.

It was hard buying toys for Jeremy. I remember reading a Christmas post on Raising my Rainbow with a touch of jealousy. To compare, this was Jeremy’s Christmas list when he was six years old:

Dinky cars
Lego
Ice cream
Flying reindeer
Cheese
A unicorn (note, he wanted a real one and not a stuffed animal)
The moon (also the real one)

So… dinky cars and Lego. Dinky cars were always a hit, the shinier and more colourful the better. I’ve got a video of Jeremy playing with his cars. He treated them like they were miniature people with wheels, placing them onto a bigger truck to drive them around while warning them to “be careful” and wait “just a second” until the truck stopped and they could get off. And he loved building with Lego too. The flip side was he already had tonnes of both.

It’s funny watching the video now. The whole room is a boy’s room. Navy blue comforter with cars and planes, Spiderman stuffie, big Bob the Builder stuffie, homemade Spiderman curtains, town and road play mat (perfect for driving cars and one Jeremy never used), table covered with car tracks (which again Jeremy never used). And, in the corner of the shot, you can see Pink Bear’s feet and legs, a musical wind up doll, and his favourite glittery picture frame with a picture of himself inside. Somewhere in one of Jeremy’s huge rubbermaid bins of stuffed animals, he has a stuffed unicorn. I never did get him the moon.

We went for a walk the next evening and I asked Jeremy what his favourite toys were when he was growing up. He stared at me blankly then admitted he didn’t remember. He couldn’t remember any of his toys. My heart sank.

With some prompting, he could come up with a few toys but it was obvious that none of them were his favourites. The one we both remembered wasn’t a toy, it was an online video game called Club Penguin. Jeremy could and did spend hours on this website; he absolutely adored it. He’d earn money by doing stunts on an old mine cart then he’d upgrade his house and his wardrobe. Every time Club Penguin updated their catalogues, he’d drag me to the computer to see everything he planned to buy. Unlike real life, he had extensive lists there. Light up dance floors, fancy ball gowns, toys for his pet puffles. Jeremy’s penguin was usually pink and dressed to the nines. It was a safe place for Jeremy. He could dress and act like a girl and no one would say anything. We lived in a large and rather rough complex so reality was quite different.

I spent that night wondering what I could have done different, what toys I could have bought that would have made an impact. What affordable place we could have moved where Jeremy could feel a bit safer. Then I reminded myself, again, that I can’t change the past and slowly went to sleep.

We went out grocery shopping the next evening and, on the way home I finally asked Jeremy what else I could have done. Would he have been happier if I’d bought him more toys aimed at girls?

“Mom, I liked having Emma’s old toys because they were hers. That made them more special. Besides, I was playing with them with her. I wouldn’t have wanted new toys, it wouldn’t have been the same.”

That made me feel a lot better.

Of course now his 17th birthday is in a month and a half and once again I have no idea what to buy him. Jeremy still stinks at suggesting affordable, easy to attain gifts. He wants a brand new, top of the line computer with a web cam and video editing software… like that’s in my price range. He might as well still be asking for the moon.

At least the cake he wants this year is easy, he’s asking for an ice cream jaffa cake he saw at the British shop. Which definitely beats the TARDIS he originally wanted me to make. And, sigh, scratch that thought. I just went to the shop’s site to find a picture of said ice cream cake and couldn’t find it. Neither could I find it on the actual Jaffa Cake website. Apparently Jeremy’s more organized for his birthday than I am. Wish me luck!

Christmas Gifts

I started buying my presents at the end of October and began to feel pretty smug. At the rate I was going, I’d be done shopping well before Christmas. Kait’s presents were bought by mid-November and I knew what I was going to buy for Colin. Then I stopped getting scheduled days off during the week. This was great for my pay cheque but stunk for shopping time. Colin loves to shop and would want to know why I was going without him.

As the weeks passed, I began to grow more worried. Eventually we got into December and I realized my next weekday off was one I’d booked months earlier. Christmas Eve. I pulled my boss aside and begged her to send me home early one day so I could finish my shopping. She looked at the schedule and told me she’d send me home early the next day. I was elated and told several of my regular customers.

True to her word, I got off after working half a shift and immediately went out to shop. By lunchtime I was done and everything was safely tucked away in my closet.

I went into work the following day and one of my regular customers greeted me with a huge grin.

“So, what did you get Colin for Christmas this year?” she asked eagerly. “I want to know what sixteen year old boys are into these days.”

I looked at her, feeling much like a deer gazing into headlights. She either wanted to know what I’d got Colin OR what sixteen year old boys are into. There wasn’t a lot of overlap. I took a deep breath.

“I got him a ceramic hair straightener and a fondue pot for Christmas this year,” I informed her.

She stared at me in disbelief. “You got him what?” she blurted. Her expression said she was positive she’d misheard.

“I got him a ceramic hair straightener and a fondue pot,” I repeated clearly.

She shook her head. “Well now,” she muttered as she walked away. Apparently she had been looking for a more generic boy’s answer and not what I’d actually bought.

As she left, I figured I could only be grateful I hadn’t managed to find the rainbow elephant stuffed animal he’d also half-jokingly requested.