My sister is up visiting with my adorable niece. I love my sister, but right now I love my niece more. She's simple...going on 10/months, wants for little, enjoys the simple things in life.
My sister is another story.
I am another story, while we're at it.
My sister is not my sister of blood, but of choice. We both like it that way, we ARE sisters in so many odd little ways. She's married to a man who reminds her of me (the "frat-boy version", but he's whiny, and I'm not...neither is she, generally speaking). They live in a suburb of a hub that is filled with tourists a good chunk of the year, and it's generally not somewhere I prefer to visit on a regular basis.
Her house is filled with clutter, baby things, work undone or forgotten, dirty dishes, electronics galore, forgotten cell-phones and mis-appropriated funds. This is her life...she likes her life, she says. I'm glad I don't have it.
She's up here visiting, as I said...and while I love having her here, it's always like a tornado has come through and strewn everything about, including my sanity. C and I are at each others throats this morning, and we had a wonderful day yesterday before they showed up. Why? Because we're in the storm, that's why.
My kitchen counter was clean, and now it's filled with various baby foods. My spare room that I use for working on the business was happy with it's various bits here and there, but has been re-arranged by me to accommodate baby et al, and now it's like the aftermath of Hiroshima. Yes, it really is that bad.
My sister used to come up and visit, pre-marriage and child, and would always leave things behind. One day I told her, "here is a stack of things you've left over the years, please don't forget to take them home." She was rather offended, honestly, that I didn't want her various artsy DVD's, random CD's, books that I had no interest in reading, and clothing that would never fit me in a million years (even if I did lose half my weight). She's preparing to do this again with the baby things...last night, while shopping, she was very possibly about to purchase a LARGE baby-run-about-mobile, and I was just thinking, "why? She's almost 10 months old, pulling herself up all over, pretty soon she won't need this type of contraption...heck, she doesn't need it now, really." Her response to my much more subtle, "why?" was, "well, she has one at my house and one at my mom's and is always in it." Ummm...so that justifies this baby-thing in OUR house for a once every 3-months if we're lucky visit? No, I don't think so. Thankfully they didn't have exactly what she wanted.
Now we get to the point of this diatribe. If it's not name brand, it's not good enough for the kid. That, to me, is really sad. C and I were discussing that when we grew up and didn't have a lot as our parents were broke on both ends, in both decades we were being raised in, second hand things and less was better and appreciated. This kid has baby-Gap socks, mini-jeans, boutique shirts, and "the best tested and safest travel play set"...is that really necessary? I bought "the kid" (as I've taken to calling my adorable niece who's being trained to be an expectant Princess) a simple Garanimal toy. I gave it to her this morning, attaching it to her car seat she was held in while her mom showered, and she LOVED it. Pulling on it, playing with it, laughing, smiling. Sis comes in and C says, "the kid really loves that thing." Immediately Sis has to pull up one of the other obnoxious, way too big, too much going on, in your face, all the bells and whistles toys and pop it up and says, "oh, it's like this, she likes this too", and starts waving it in her face. Okay. Point taken. If it's not what you want her to have then it's not good enough. Sad, really. When the kid was born we bought her some very useful items, like onesies. Are those in use? Oh hell no. Her kid CANNOT be in a onesie...ever. Said child is always full of gunk, by the way (her clothes, that is)...too much trouble to change outfits all the time, but the child, who can't walk and army crawls everywhere, has to have ***designer duds***. ::sigh::
The point is...what happened to simplicity? Where are the happy times in life? Why does everything have to be such a big huge production? This poor kid may or may not have any siblings, not sure yet on that front (the relatives and husband all want more...I don't think the sister is too keen on the idea, and since she can't do anything one handed with this kid and constantly needs someones help for a second hand, I think it's wise she just stick with the one). Today, sis went to an event with friends, and the kid had to have on a "related" item that coincided with the event...is that really necessary? No, not really. It would be like me saying, "we're going to the forest" and you dressing up in a shirt with trees on it to prove a point...that's exactly what the kid was adorned to do.
It's depressing, to me, to see how people are raising their kids to be fashion victims and needy little Princes and Princesses. Kids don't understand the value of money or how to take care of things around them, and they're learning at an early age that they can have anything they want. What happens when the castle falls down? They can't function. I'm also convinced that all this constant coming and going and the "oh, you don't like that? Let's try this and this and this and this and this" is causing more ADD type issues in kids...if you don't like something, discard it and try something else - try another toy, try another food, no schedule, no normalcy.
I love living simply...moving away from the life I was immersed in has been one of the biggest blessings - it's just taken a little while for me to start to really understand the gift I've been given. I'm grateful I'm finally starting to figure it out.