A few months ago, I did a post about buying Jasper (my 3-year-old) a toy Gordon train in the book store. He and I were having a nice morning together, he asked for the train, and I bought it. Then I wallowed in a whole debate about whether I was “spoiling” him. Then I started asking why I was so worried about spoiling, given the size of the expenditure compared with various other things in our lives, and how much pleasure it would give him (and has, incidentally).
There were some great comments on that post, and I have really been thinking about that topic since then, especially since I have been facing a similar issue. Jasper has this Melissa & Doug easel, which works best with rolls of easel paper. Amazon sells 3-packs of 75-foot rolls for $20 (sometimes on sale). I put a new roll on last Wednesday, and by Friday he’d gone through the whole thing. So we turned the paper over and re-rolled it so he could use the back, and darned if he didn’t go through the whole thing in 2 days again.
I’ve been saying “don’t use so much paper,” because it seems wasteful and expensive. But the more I think about it, the more I don’t know why I’m saying that. I don’t like burning through a $7 roll of paper, but he’s voluntarily practicing writing his letters (I am so non tiger mom; he does this on his own). Right now there are probably parents paying a lot more than $7 to tutors to get children to practice writing. I could claim to be worried about the environment, but we stuff a whole Wall Street Journal and at least a magazine or two in the recycling bin every day. I don’t think Jasper is responsible for most of our household paper output.
So we’re basically down to the spoiling thing again — some little voice in my head telling me I should keep him from using as much paper as he wants. But I’ve been telling this little voice to go away. The world would probably be better if we could all spend as much time and space drawing pictures of trains (frequently, Gordon) with our crayons as we wanted. What do you think?