Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Age Appropriate? Pffffft!

Tis the season for my mother to start holiday shopping.  Granny Fry, I am convinced, starts shopping for next year's Christmas on December 26.  Sometimes, she is so ahead of the game that she often forgets what it is that she bought until she stumbles upon it when hiding the latest thing she bought for one of her grandkids.  Mainly this applies to my niece who is very easy to spend money on because she loves girly girl stuff.  If glitter and sequins cover it, buy it.  My older nephew is the video game king and there is always a latest game to get around that time.  It's the kiddo that is the challenge to her.   Well, frankly to me too.  What else is new?

She's been asking.  (Yes Mom, as you read this, I do have a list, I swear. I will email it to you.)  I've discussed this here before.  Shopping for gifts for him is tough.  Just freaking hard.  I don't know what he'll want half the damn time and I gave birth to him.  Now I have all these well meaning relatives that want to buy him presents too?  Good lord, you all are driving me to drink.  (P.S. Buy Mama Fry more boxed wine.  Easy to wrap!)  As much as I want to say "Please he doesn't need anything." or "Gift cards/cash", I know it will be countered with "But he has to open something!!!!"

So I'm thumbing through the latest catalog from Fun and Function. (Go google them.  They do have some cool stuff for spectrumy quirky kids.  They didn't pay me to say this.  I just honestly like them.) I'm making my list and I'm reading all the online reviews, trying to figure out what he'll actually like.  I started to dismiss something as not "age appropriate" for him.  Not that he wasn't old enough for it.  Quite the opposite. I'm constantly catching myself doing this.  Deciding not to get something.  Or getting wrapped up in this idea that something is too young for him.  Babyish, if you will.   You know what?  I'm a big old hypocrite for even thinking that. 

As I thought "Oh he's too old for this.", not an hour earlier I had texted a friend of mine a link to a cartoon ad we both liked.  I did this next to the Star Trek Enterprise toy that belongs to my husband, not our son.  I enjoy watching The Polar Express with my son all the freaking time.  Going to new Pixar movies excite me more than him.  My husband builds forts and hangs out there with our kiddo.  I tend to get annoyed at those bouncy house places that adults aren't allowed on the slide.  I want to go on one! On vacation, my husband and I engaged in a battle royale with an air hockey table at an arcade.  Kiddo wasn't even playing. He was to busy stuffing his face with popcorn.  Acting our age? Not even close.  So why am I so wrapped up in this?  Why does it matter if a puzzle is considered to be not in the right age bracket for him.  Does it make him happy?  Will he use it?  That's all I really need to worry about here.

Recently, I started to see him rediscover some of the old TV shows and cartoons that I guess you could say are more in line with a five year old than a nine year old.   I started to see it's because he can actually follow the plot.  It's not just noise on in the background anymore.  So big deal if he wants to watch them.  Even the really trippy ones, like Yo Gabba Gabba.   (I'm still not sure what FooFa is and I'm not sure I want to know.) My husband is still searching for a copy of "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol".  If I ever find it, I'm buying it for him.  Why should I care if the kiddo wants to watch the Weird Al Yankovic "Circus" episode daily? (I think we can all agree that it was a superior episode of Yo Gabba Gabba.  Minus that whole making Broobie a clown because clowns are creepy.)  

New this holiday season, the kiddo has started a list!  He's never done that before.  I'm kind of stoked about that. One item, well I guess they are what a lot of nine year old kids would want.  A skateboard and all I can think is "Oh he's way to little for that. Nope. No way.  Too small.  He'll hurt himself! Not my teeny tiny baby who weighs 74 pounds!"  Man I like moving that whole age appropriate argument around to suit me when I need it. I wonder if I can get one with the Plex the Magic Robot on it? Cause why not balance it all out? We do as neurotypicals aka "Muggles".  And here I am referencing Harry Potter, a book series for kids.  See my point?  :-)


  1. They have the kind you keep both feet on and wiggle to make it go. Maybe that one is safer?

  2. We're lucky that we always have a fallback item that we can tell people to get our son. His autism interest since he was 2 (he's 7 now) has always been teddy bears. Doesn't matter if he already has one that looks like it, he wants them all. We tell people either Wal-mart gift cards (Brandon loves the toys there) or teddy bears if they don't know what to get him. We also tell them his developmental age and say to shop based on that, not his chronological age. It's worked for us. :)

    Oh, and...

    one left in stock!!

  4. I am not the only one! YAY!!! I find myself trying to find the RIGHT present for my kids, especially Silly because, well, the only thing that interests him is something with a downloadable app or digital game or something like that. Atleast with Bug I know anything dinosaurs or super heroes will tickle his fancy, and Buddy and Monkey, anything Thomas or Super Mario related will send them over the moon. I will check out Fun and Function though - any help is appreciated!

  5. What a great point Mama Fry! I totally relate to this. I let the age appropriate thing go ages ago. My special needs son will likely love Thomas the Train well into adulthood and I'm perfectly happy with that. The joy on his face will always overshadow the confusion and judgment on the faces of strangers that just won't ever get it. ;)

  6. Age appropriate. LOL.

    Developmental age is all well and good when they are consistent across most areas of development, but my social development is many years behind my chronological age, so is my motor skill development, yet my intellectual development has always been far ahead of what would be expected.

    At as long as I can remember I would have been just as happy with scientific models and journals as I would with a baby's teether, but you get me what would be expected for a girl of my age, like dolls or toy horses, and they would still be in the box tears later. (I still have the My Little Pony set that was fashionable in my primary school years sealed in its box)

    When buying gifts for Adam, I normally fill a big box with small, cheap sensory toys. he can pick the few he likes, and they are cheap enough to buy hundreds of if he finds something he really likes.

    if you don't like that idea, ask for clothes. give a list of approved items, and where to get them. if your kiddo is anything like us, there are never enough clothes that are comfortable to use.

  7. I had that same thing going on this year. My daughter's teacher is brilliant. Daughter is autistic, in a special needs classroom, age 8. This year, she started losing interest in the old standbys (cars and buzz lightyear.) I was having a horrible time figuring out what to get her that she'd like.. her birthday is a month before Christmas. We start getting her stuff before toy books come out, because it's birthday time. Anyway, shortly after her birthday, but way before Christmas, her teacher got each child in class a toy book. They all (some with help, I'm sure) cut out pictures of toys that interested them, and glued them down. Several of my girl's choices were toddler toys. We got her some good stuff, but, honestly, I had to get after myself several times for thinking a toy was too young for her. Ages 3 and up is a joke, because it wasn't til age 3 that things started going in her mouth (except food... we need to work on that still). Why should I be resistant to a toy she will love, because it's too young? at least she won't choke on it. (and I like kids books, teens books, buy toys based on my favorite tv series, etc. hubby does too. one of my favorite poetry books is "where the sidewalk ends" by Shel Silverstein for gosh sakes! lol).