We had The Boy's third birthday party this weekend. Technically, his birthday was the week before and he woke up that day demanding cake. I had to explain to him that due to scheduling issues we were going to observe it on a different day, like President's Day, and if it was good enough for George Washington then it was damn well good enough for him.
That didn't seem to mollify him, though, so we went out to breakfast at the local diner and had cake for dessert. That was the highlight of the day, since he then proceeded to bang his head at the playground and get stung by a yellow jacket at the train museum, so all in all it wasn't a great b-day for him.
Anyway, the party went well and he really enjoys the gifts he got, including several Bob the Builder toys and a large concrete mixer. (You can tell he likes them because he's already trying to take them apart.)
Birthday gifts have always been a foreign concept to me. When I was a wee lad we'd have our cake and ice cream and that would be it. For a few years we'd get a buck or two in our birthday cards, during that sweet spot of our youths when the relatives thought we'd be old enough to appreciate cash and young enough to not be able to mow lawns to earn our bread. But presents were right out. I still remember one time, probably around age ten or so, when a friend of mine gave me a Peanuts puzzle for my birthday and I looked at him like he had two heads.
My neglected childhood aside, I do worry about how much is too much. As a New Englander it's been ingrained into me to resist frivolous spending, and a play room filled with unused toys constitutes "spoiling" the child. On the other hand, it wouldn't have killed me to get a freakin' Omega Supreme Transformer when I was a kid.
We've been pretty good up to this point, doling out gifts one at a time and only after The Boy has harped on it for several weeks, but I'm sure that'll get harder and harder as he grows up and learns how to push our buttons.
Or rather, push The Wife's buttons, since with me he'll be competing with several generations of New England breeding. Ayuh.