Good Stuff

When my husband and I decided to have a family, I was nervous about all the STUFF that seemed to unavoidably come with kids. I feared a yard peppered with plastic toys and a living room where exersaucers replaced end tables. I dreaded a diaper bag that necessitated I do the hokey pokey to fit through a doorway.

It’s because I like space between objects in my home and it’s because I didn’t want to quadruple my annual consumption of fossil fuels. It’s also because I didn’t think we needed all that snaz. I am by no means a minimalist but I do like to live simply. I thought to myself and eventually said out loud that my kids would be perfectly happy with yogurt lids, wooden spoons and hand-me-downs.

I never imagined I’d make a special trip to Target to get my two year-old a brand new, shiny pink laptop that talks. But that is exactly what happened last week. And I was so excited to do it…click here to read the rest of this essay at

22 Responses to Good Stuff

  1. Melissa says:

    Every time I read one of your columns, I find myself relating in a big way. I love it!

    And I think it’s so sweet she wanted her own computer . . . so she can write her own columns and blogs, perhaps? xoxo

  2. Sage says:

    And it is so true! I found this out big time when annica was little, and I realized… wow, I am letting go of my ideals and living in the now, embracing who she is and accepting a new path. Just so humbling, and so crazy to have those moments when you realize ” ah ha… now I get it.” I was wrong to criticize. So releasing in a way.

    It is so fun to see you letting go and embracing. Good for you.


  3. Ah yes, that slippery slope we all walk. I find this especially true as the mother of daughters. Thanks for your insight.

  4. jen says:

    i swore, too … that my kiddos would live simply. that the box was often better than what was in it.
    but seeing their faces light up at something that you gifted them with … is amazing. i agree.
    and when kept few and far between … the smiles and thank yous are that much brighter.

  5. Adorable! Theo has a hand me down laptop. He lovingly totes his around too. “My computah” (think hardcore Bostonian accent!) Luckily, my sister had two boys, now 12 and 9, so we get just about every toy as a hand me down. Wonderful!

  6. TRB Holt says:

    Nici, this brings back fond memories of you, age 3 or so, spying a doll at toys r us that you HAD to have! This doll really wasn’t in our budget, so I told you we would ask Daddy when he got home from work. Just like you, how can one deny a sweet little girl something she is so passionate about ….you named her Jenny.

  7. Dakota says:

    *laugh* Yes, I can relate to this, as even now I am telling myself that my little boy will only have toys that he plays with, as opposed to toys that play for him… It will be interesting to see what fascinating thing breaks this rule…

  8. I can so relate to this. I was only going to the wooden toys and all that when I had my first…after the 4th it’s a battle that I am not winning. With 3 boys there is a steady stream of Bionicles and “other” that frequents our house…grrr.

    Nice to meet you, I have heard about you from Sarah, fun that you live down the street.

  9. Heidi says:

    love this post! i can relate. i wanted to be all organic with soft cottons, pans, spatulas, and blended steamed carrots. i wanted to be that mom. i kinda sucked at this though.

    i think i’m too lazy, but as far as the extra toys…we are so trying to minimize it all. it is so hard to say no to something the little ones want when they look up to you with their sweet questions and expectant faces…!!

    so glad you made that trip bc the exclamation to papa coming home alone, made me want to cry!

    happy vday!


  10. sarah says:

    so what does the computer do? it looks pretty high tech.

  11. brandy says:

    Only another mama gets it…That addictive, unavoidable desire to see, if only for a second, a blip of true joy in your child. There’s a half-second, organic, true moment where your and your child’s brains seem to become one and you can feel how that one little thing or moment has impacted them.
    I’m so impressed with how dedicated you are to being a good mom and that you seem to care about things like good home-cooked meals, handmade treasures for your girls, and lots of quality time, but that you don’t do that one thing that over-achieving hypocrite parents do that pisses me off: Make your kids’ live less happily, freely and totally in order to prove a point. I hate that so much it makes my blood boil. Before I had kids I wanted to be that mom who never let her kid have a fast-food burger or buy her too much crap at Christmas…now I love when she gets a cool toy in her Happy Meal…I went to a birthday party for a 3 year old once where the party favors were hard-boiled eggs because the mom wanted to be a neo-hippie, crunchy, earth-mama. Which is OK….the hippie part, not the depriving your kid of cake part! I wanted to smack the lady and give her kid a cupcake!

  12. Sue says:

    Think that’s why we have more Buzz Lightyear toys than we know what to do with! Thanks for sharing :)

  13. Joan says:

    Love the Pink Puter. Good job mama

  14. christine says:

    oh my, I love this article!

  15. Kelle says:

    Big smile.
    You are so real.
    And right…there is nothing like doing something simply for the joy it will bring your little.
    That pink puter is the bomb.
    And, just so you know…if you give a mouse a cookie.
    That puter just may lead to other things. I think she’s gunna want Photoshop. And a blog. And then she’s gunna be writing fabulous articles on that pink puter for really cool Missoula magazines.
    Watch out, World. Margot has a puter.

  16. Britta says:

    I know you embraced her having her own play kitchen – and I see this in the same light! She’s just practicing what she sees Mama do. We’re raising our girls to be ready for the world – and that play behavior now also includes role-modeling technology.

    Kuddos to you for picking out the right stuff and keeping it quality over quantity.

  17. Jeanna says:

    Omg the timing of this post is AMAZING!! Last year my mom gave my son some mismatched dinosaur socks from Little MissMatched. This weekend we officially retired them because of the holes. And what did I do? I promptly went online and started looking for replacements! My son would wear these socks daily if he could, and I never thought I’d be desperate to comply. :) So neat that I’m not the only crazy Mama out there!!

  18. Grace says:

    I bought Alden a fiddle when he was a year-and-a-half. It’s ridiculous. I mean, he was a year and a half. And it’s a a 1/32 sized fiddle. End to end, about the length of a ruler.
    It was like 35 bucks, shipped, and I felt like such a… what? a sucker? a pushy parent? Somewhere in between.
    Not every day, but eery few weeks anyway, he likes to “play” it, which means he hauls it around, takes it out of the case, puts it back in, holds it whichever way he feels like, and finally puts it ni-night, covered up by its plushy little “fiddle blanky” in its case.
    Best 35 bucks I ever spent.

  19. Terri says:

    Good stuff indeed!

  20. Cristal Ruiz says:

    OMG this is so funny my grand daughter is 7 months and one of her favorite toys when she comes here is a toy cell phone and some plactic keys that belong to my son 28 years ago. So I guess she likes the old and new. Thanks so much for sharing.

  21. Jeanne H says:

    Isn’t it funny how we have preconceived ideas about how we want to raise our children and how it changes as time goes on. Miss you guys! Hugs to you all.

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