It started with Halloween. There were all of those adorable, handmade costumes circulating. I was pretty sure I could craft my kiddos something cute and unique. But they didn't want cute and unique. They wanted to be super heroes. And even though I probably could have DIYed a superhero ensemble, I quickly realized it was a. not worth effort and b. it would never stand up to the very authentic ones sold in stores. Plus, I remembered how much fun it was each year to go and pick out that perfect Halloween costume, and figured my kids should have the same experience. So that's what we did! And they very happily sported their store-bought costumes! Sure, I cringed a little when we were at Colton's Halloween parade at school and there were those few kids in their mom-made originals, but I quickly got over it.
And now that Valentine's Day is here, I'm faced with another quandary. If you've logged on to Pinterest at all, I'm sure you've been bombarded with the adorable, hand-made Valentine options out there. The photo cards, the homemade, color-coordinated snack mix, the options for toys instead of candy...the possibilities are endless. But when we were at Target a couple weeks back, my boys spotted the boxes of Valentines and very quickly got excited about what box they were going to get (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spongebob, various superheroes...again the possibilities were endless, which is really weird cause I honestly can't tell you how they even know who the TMNT or Spongebob are!). So when it came time to sit down this weekend and do their class Valentines, guess what we ended up with? Yep, the good ole box kind.
And again, they were thrilled! We spent a few minutes at Target a few days before where they each excitedly made their final selection (Lego Star Wars for Colton and Superman for Levi) and proudly carried them through the rest of our shopping trip.
So here's the great debate: who is the DIY route really for? I kind of came to the conclusion that it was 100% for me...not to show up the other parents or anything, but because I genuinely enjoy doing it (and blogging about it!). But the kids...well, they're probably just as content, and arguably more so, walking into those stores and handpicking the most perfect Halloween costume/Valentine cards/etc that they can find! So why are we trying so hard to mess with a good thing? Isn't the joy of picking these things out part of the thrill of childhood? And at the risk of getting way overly philosophical/preachy, by picking for our kids the Halloween costume they are going to wear or the Valentines they will give, are we maybe, just maybe, taking away some of the independence and sense of self we are trying so hard to embed in them?
So yeah, we took the easy route, but you know what...I'm actually really proud that I did! I love that their choices will serve as a reminder as to where their budding personalities stand at this point! And I'm glad that they are so proud of the choices they made and so eager to share them with their friends.