beth woolsey

mess maker • magic finder • rule breaker • kindness monger

A Gift-Giving Guide for Boys

My twin boys turn 5 today.

That’s a whopping 5 years of 5 kids.  Woohoo!

Planning parties for twins has, heretofore, been a snap.  I decide the theme.  I execute the party.  The end.

But this year, my boys have opinions.  And ideas. And preferences.

And I am just not up for screwing up my twins by making them conform to each other. I know, I know. If we mothers lose the right to screw up our kids, what will we have left? But I’m just SO TIRED.

When I asked my boys what kind of party they wanted, they did not hesitate.

“A superhero party!” yelled Cai, on top of his brother (both physically and vocally), who simultaneously yelled, “A pajama party!”


That’s right.

A pajama superhero party.  And also, we might shout “SURPRISE” at them because they agreed that having a Surprise Party sounds awesome, and apparently having it actually be a surprise doesn’t matter when you’re almost 5.

Now, I know I’m not alone here on the Weirdly Themed Parties front.  My friend Sally’s son had something like a Transformers Spiderman Jedi Rainbow party this year.  Which – hello! – is awesome.

Was I always so casual and relaxed about birthday party planning?  HECK, NO!

Back in the day, I was meticulous about my kids’ parties extravaganzas.  Why, for my first child’s first birthday, we had a circus theme.  I hired a juggler, for goodness sake.

But, you know, I also used to wipe jam off my kids’ faces before sending them to preschool.  So things change.

Now my birthday party philosophy is this:  make the child feel special.

Voila!  End of philosophical statement.  And it’s so… freeing!

So the boys turned 5 today.  And we’re having a par-tay.  And when you have a par-tay for a kid, people give them gifts.  Which is actually my least favorite part of birthdays because the Sheer Scale of Stuff we have to manage in a 7-person household is astronomical.  Someday, I’ll post on my efforts to try to get people to give my kids Less Stuff (let’s just say that my mother, bless her heart, is a hopeless failure in this department), but that day is not today.

And here’s how it works.  Before people give my children gifts, they ask me what the kids want.  What do they like these days?  Is there anything they’re just really hoping to get?

Which is exactly what I ask the mama when I have to get her kid a gift.

But that means that, before every party, we mamas must field myriad requests for information.  And my friends and family can attest: I am BAD at providing it.  “Oh, really.  They love everything,” I say.  “Anything is fine.  They’ll be thrilled with stale Cheerios.  Honestly.”

And my kids will.  It’s true.  They don’t lack the gratitude gene.  But the answer doesn’t help people who are, like, “Seriously. Just tell me to buy one packet of Pokemon cards and a miniature Star Wars action figure.  I do not want to have to THINK of something only to have it BOMB at the party.”

So, in case you’re like me, and you a) give crap information to your friends and family, and b) don’t know what to buy a boy-child for his birthday, I offer this, a gift giving guide.

You may modify it as you see fit.  Which goes without saying.  But, as you’ll see below, I’m not good at not saying the things that go without saying.  It’s a flaw.

My friend, Davida, wrote the following to me this week:

Gift suggestions?  What do they love? (I accidentally wrote loke, which is obviously like/love.)  And what do you want them to get or, more importantly, not get?

Important vocabulary lesson for the day:

loke (verb): to like/love (obviously)

And here’s pretty much what I wrote back:


Nice.  Nice.  Nicety nice.  Chatty niceness.  Pleasantry.  Pleasantry.  LOL.  Ha!  And…

Gift giving guide for my boys:

  1. Books About Stuff:  My boys are the sons of a geek and a word-lover which has resulted in an unhealthy interest in books.  Especially Books about Stuff. They really, really loke Books about Stuff.  In fact, they loke Books to the neglect of other things that are important for a healthy childhood, like, oh, endless hours of television and lighting stuff on fire. Seriously. Give them a children’s encyclopedia and a book of matches, and watch what happens. THEY WILL GIVE THE MATCHES TO A GROWN-UP and proceed to inhale the book.  Honestly, they’re such a constant disappointment.
  2. Pajamas:  My boys loke pajamas.
  3. That was untrue.
  4. Pajamas Again:  My boys love pajamas.  If they could, they’d wear pajamas all day long. Except when they’re wearing their sisters’ old, sequined dance tutus, of course.  That probably goes without saying.  (I wish I could resist saying all the things that go without saying.) (Also, do you like how I made it sound like I don’t let them wear their pajamas all day long?  I’m so sneaky.)
  5. Boy Stuff:  My boys loke Boy Stuff.  I’m a girl, so I don’t know about Boy Stuff.  I try.  I do.  But I just don’t care the way a boy does. I think it starts when they’re very, very young and they have to hold onto their penises for balance when they learn to walk. Some sort of brain-synapse fires in a way that cannot happen for we girls who find ourselves handle-less.  We miss out on whatever innate, fundamental changes happen to create the Boy Stuff Instinct.  But I’m sure if you corner any male person and yell, “Five year old boy!  Birthday gift idea!  Go!” they’ll list 5 things off the top of their head(s) that are better than any of my drivel.  You have a husband.  USE HIM, WOMAN!
  6. Pretty Please, Don’t Make Me Sandpaper Off My Ears or Clean Up Playdough:  My boys HATE toys that make repetitive, loud noises.  Oh, and playdough. They despise playdough and the gritty little bits that are IMPOSSIBLE to clean up.  They only pretend to loke loud toys and playdough at preschool and Grandma’s house to throw people off.  They’re crafty, crafty guys.


In conclusion,

Happy Birthday, super fine babes of mine!

I love you and love you.
Your Mama


P.S. Davida wrote back: “I want to compliment your boys on how well they feigned interest with playdough at my house when they visited.  Remarkable!”



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18 responses to “A Gift-Giving Guide for Boys”

  1. Okay, I totally just snorted at the holding on thing for walking… oy! I’m afraid I’m not going to know what to buy if I have a girl! Boy things… I can do that! 😉

  2. I love this. Especially:
    I think it starts when they’re very, very young and they have to hold onto their penises for balance when they learn to walk.
    Too funny; so true!

  3. My reply when asked what my kids want for their birthdays/Christmas: NO MORE TOYS! Egads, my kids have way too many toys so I now ask for books and crafty things for them.

  4. I am one who believes books are always a good choice. (Sort of) less clutter, and you have the chance to introduce your own favorites to new kids.

    PS just stumbled upon your blog via Crappy Pictures, and am already in loke with it.

  5. ps: I LOKE&LIKE&LOVE this post!
    pps: NEVER, I repeat NEVAHEVAH attempt or even think about resisting to say what goes without saying! On behalf of all of the readers of your stories (I’m guessing that kinda goes without saying too, ha!) : please don’t even go there. Please. 🙂

    • I understand that you had to ask this questions. After all, I’m forever making up words, misusing them and generally abusing them. It’s one of the joys in my life.

      I hope you won’t be disappointed to learn that “heretofore” is an actual, real, legitimate word. It’s ridiculously old-fashioned, especially considering that I could just as easily and more modernly say “previously.” But, to that logical suggestion, I say…

      Meh. 😉

  6. I went to the site to vote for your blog – cause it makes me remember when my kids were little and even better I remember how it was growing up in a houseful myself.

    I’m the oldest of 9 and there were parts about having that may siblings that give me an advantage in my daily life dealing with people. On the other hand – I also envy my friends without siblings – I craved the one on one with my parents that they just didn’t seem to have time for. My mom worked outside the house from my earliest memories.

    anyway – thanks for writing your blog, I look forward to it.

    I tried to vote, but that site asked for way too much information.

    • Welcome! So glad to have you along for the ride!

      WOW – 9 kids is really, really, really, really a lot of kids. It’s a good thing I don’t have that many or the name of this blog would be even sillier. 😉

      Thanks for trying to vote! I completely understand – registering isn’t for everyone! – and I’m very glad to have ya reading along.

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