Parents and grandparents always wonder what will most delight their kids and grandkids. What should they get them for Birthdays? For the Holidays? Should we buy what delighted us as children? Should we really cater to their Santa or Chanukah lists? Should we go with what is ‘in’ this year?
These are important questions and all I can say, is listen to the kid even if it seems strange! We did when our grandson was three. We knew he loved to help his mother vacuum. We had noticed that many times when we visited. But it still surprised us when he asked for a vacuum. A vacuum? Who ever would want one? I would love to give mine up if someone else would just magically appear and vacuum. Why would a tiny kid want one? Wouldn’t he rather have some trucks or a train set? “No.”
All he kept asking for was a vacuum. Did toy stores even have vacuum’s for kids?
We decided we had no choice. Off we went to look. And indeed we found a vacuum that looked just like his mom’s except it was half the size. We were amazed. It was a little pricey, but hey, he is our grandson!
So we bought it and wrapped the box and appeared on Chanukah. He didn’t have a clue what we were bringing.
After lighting the candles and singing, we brought out the presents. There were a few other presents first and of course some for his baby sister who was happy to just rip off the paper. Finally the big box was brought out by his parents and handed to him. I will never forget his face when he ripped off the paper and saw a picture of a stand-up vacuum on the box. There was such joy in his eyes and his grin was as wide as could be. He looked at us with love and recognition that said that even as a three-year-old, he realized that sometimes only grandparents, not parents can really get it right. Then the magical second passed and he ripped open the box.
Soon the vacuum was plugged in and he was busy. Off in a dream world of cleaning and pushing and doing what only a kid could experience. We were so happy that we had hit it right. We kept looking at him and loving every second of his eager pretend cleaning, even though he no longer had eyes for us. He was sweet though and did turn and look at us and smile every once in awhile. Even the noise didn’t bother us-because of course, no good mechanical toy, is without its sound effects!
That was a great Chanakah!
Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein is the originator of The Enchanted Self(R). She has been a positive psychologist in private practice and licensed in the states of New Jersey and Massachusetts since 1981. She is currently in private practice in Long Branch, New Jersey with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein.
She is the author of The Enchanted Self, A Positive Therapy, Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU! and There Comes A Time In Every Woman’s Life for DELIGHT.
Her newest book, The Truth, I’m Ten, I’m Smart and I Know Everything! is another first in positive psychology. Written by a ten year old girl as a diary, Dr. Barbara has been able to imbed lots of positive truths that we all need to remember and live by, regardless of our age.
The girl’s edition, titled: The Truth, (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) debuted February 2008 in bookstores nationwide. You can get your copy now at www.enchantedself.com.