Eldest son had his birthday recently, and of course, got presents. He’s older now, and it’s actually easier to buy him things, given his recent introduction to manga – he blew through the various ones I have that we parents deemed okay for him. He loves Card Captor Sakura – we pushed to get the 4 omnibus set; and is excited to learn that CCS: Clear Card is currently ongoing. His response when he found out that Skip Beat! isn’t over yet: “NOOOOOO!!! I have to wait!” Sometime recently he asked me if there were going to be any more books in Dave Freer’s Dragon Ring series (I don’t know.) and soon he’ll be old enough to be introduced to Monster Hunter International, and later, The Dresden Files.
Reading boy = happy parents.
He also loves video games, of course, but we don’t go out of the way to get the latest and the newest consoles (our house has a Sega Dreamcast, a Nintendo 64, Xbox 360/1, I thiiink we have a PS2, but that thing isn’t hooked up and is somewhere… maybe a PS3 now, inherited from my brother-in-law) because we tend to play on PC for the most part (insert PC Master Race joke here), but it’s the holidays.
Well, this was his big pressie – a full scale display model (ergo, it’s purely decorative and not sharp) of Frostmourne, the sword of Arthas the Lich King. Aff got him a small Arthas figure and some awesome tech swag – a desk-mat, a Genji themed mouse, and Heroes of the Storm Turtle Beach headsets – sort of a mix of birthday and Christmas pressies, really.
The sword replica is almost as big as he is too, and he had problems lifting it, remarking repeatedly that it was heavy and huge and he couldn’t imagine how Arthas would swing it around… then his father picked it up one handed, to his glee and delight.
We’ll have a ‘proper’ party for when some friends will be around (School holidays = kiddies go off to Grandparents to visit, usually.)
We had a conversation too a couple of days after the birthday. It was mostly talking to him about how he could earn his own money in his teens, and how it would benefit him to work weekends even just part time. He was quite excited at the thought of being able to earn his own money so he could save for the future, as well as buy books and games as he likes. I have to say, I’m quite happy with that response (He got excited at the thought of perhaps buying his own car, second-hand, outright, at 18.) We also chatted with him a bit about how we handle household finances and salary prioritising, and that he would get ‘practice’ versions of this while he was a teen (such as paying for his own cell phone contract, with it’s perks; or if he wanted to, putting something like $20 toward the electricity bill – used as an example for setting aside money for bills.)
I’m rather pleased about how he was quite attentive and asked lots of questions or interjected with his own examples when we were talking about prioritising his finances (lessons, we told him, that would be very useful when he was living on his own) – which, really aren’t that earth-shattering nor ground breaking, but important for a young’un to learn: 1) Rent 2) Bills 3)Food and household needs + petrol 4) savings ; then talking about how to split up any spare money left over for spending (things like clothes, household things like appliances, and chatting about what you could get second hand and cheaper; as well as pleasure spending and presents for Christmas and birthdays.)
Some folks might think he was probably getting overwhelmed by all this, but when the subject of setting aside a budget for each person he wanted to get presents for (at the moment, it was just the family we used as an example) he himself set a budget of A$50 per person. It’s interesting that he considered that manageable; but I guess that the tendency towards $50 gift cards being a standard gift he gets may have helped (it’s enough to buy a nice present.) We talked about the options of how he could spend that budget per person (either he buys 1 gift, or two gifts worth that; or he might find himself getting lucky on sales and specials and buying an appropriate present / something the receiver would greatly enjoy for cheap; and the leftover funds could be put toward a more expensive present to someone else perhaps.)
“So, if I wanted to buy you a present that costs $100, Mummy, I could do that if I had money left over.”
I laughed, hugged him and said that I’m pretty easy to buy presents for, since I like books, or he could just ask me since I don’t mind that. We used the ‘present for Mummy’ as an example anyway for that thought.
I have to say, I’m quite proud of him; he didn’t shy away from the thought of working at a job in the future, there was no whining or complaints. Then again, we haven’t presented working for a living as a horrible terrible thing, but something you do in order to survive, as well as get things you want/have a lifestyle you want. We haven’t hidden that it’s not easy, but it’s not a foreign concept for him either now.
He did pull a bit of a sadface at the thought of one day moving out (he’s still enough of a little boy, after all) but Daddy explained that he might have reasons one day to – such as landing a job that paid well, but required him to move away or stay in a city while we might have to move away. I felt a bit of a pang of course, at the future empty nest, but we’re trying our best to instil the lessons and values that hopefully will help him stand on his own two feet as a man… and that day is not very far off! Too soon, really, as time flies so fast. He was a curly haired smiling cherub – only seems like yesterday! Now he’s so tall…
And I better stop here before I burst into motherly tears.