d*mn you, Target.

A thick, glossy, full-color Target book of want and need and angst for things previously unknown toy ad arrived at our home several weeks ago. I tried without success to keep it from The Kidling, but she spotted it and asked if she could “keep it for a while.” Sounds innocuous, right? Well, “keep it for a while” is kidling for “if you ever even consider recycling this, then I will throw a fit the size of which you and your small mama mind cannot fathom. You think I’m bluffing? Try me. I dare you.”

Or something like that.

I tempted fate and tried to sneak the Target ad out of Alice’s closet this weekend in order to show that evil genius of a marketing material its appropriate end. Apparently, I began fantasizing too soon about blowing my nose on the tissue I hoped that ad would become, because I was busted. Alice caught a glimpse of the ad before it hit the recycling bin and asked, slightly hysterically, whether she could look at it. As if I could say no.

I set about whatever kitchen task I was tending to at the moment while The Kidling flipped pages and told me about everything. It wasn’t long before she started asking for things. Alice isn’t a kid who feels entitled to a lot (except The Dada’s and The Mama’s undivided attention. Every waking moment. Seriously. Every one of them), so it always surprises me a little when she gets going on her “can I have this” episodes. This time of year, I have a ready response.

Alice: Mom, can I have this?

The Mama: We can put it on your list for Santa.

(five seconds pass)

Alice: Can I have this?

The Mama: No. If you’d like, we can put it on your list.

(twenty seconds pass. repeat from beginning)

Alice: Can I have this?

The Mama: Do you even know what it is?

Alice: No.

The Mama: (laughs) What is it?

Alice: I don’t know. I just want it.

The Dada: (whispers to The Mama) She is an American.

Alice: (didn’t hear The Dada. continues) And this whole-page thing. (turns page. waves hand, indicating everything on the two-page spread) And these. (turns page) And these. And— 

You can probably guess what happened next. I don’t fancy myself such a brilliant story-teller that you need me to finish it for you. Besides, I need to go super size something.

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About The Mamahttp://kidlingville.comProfessional talker, editor, emailer, problem solver, adjunct lecturer, blogger, and mother to the brilliantly absurd Kidling.

24 thoughts on “d*mn you, Target.

  1. I’m dating myself here, but it reminds me of the old Sears catalogue (which in my child’s mind was about a gazillion pages)…my sister and I would pour over that catalogue and wanted everything – including things that were completely stupefying to two kids in the city (a riding lawn mower comes to mind as something I thought would be fun)..Ah the marketing to children – the bane of every parent’s existence.

  2. Why is it that what I connect with here isn’t the catalogs but the response to the Kidling’s “Finding Out” that something (the ads) was missing. How do these children remember things that are, albeit to most parents or just you and I, so miniscule and unimportant, that they could LITERALLY be in the back of the closet for weeks or months on end and then reference them and wonder where said thing is and why is it no longer there (if you happen to get it out of the house).

    Best of luck on your next recycling quest.

  3. So my question is…how much of what she waved her hand at is Santa actually going to bring her…?

    Sometimes I wonder what’s worse, a kid who wants everything due to the crazy marketing ploys OR a kid who gets everything and has stopped thinking anything is worthy of even asking “can I have this?”.

  4. Be strong Mama! That Alice is clever, but you are more experienced 🙂

    This reminds me of a post by Glennon Melton at Momastery. She has her kids make a list of what they want BEFORE the catalogs start arriving, and the parents choose five things off the list, and then that’s the end of their Christmas shopping.

    Also, I have to share that I went waaay overboard with my daughter’s presents her first few years, and now we just wrap up her old toys and regift them to our son. They’re five years apart, so it’s perfect. Last year, his favorite present was the wrapping paper tube that he got to shred and bang around.

    My last bit of unsolicited advice: when my daughter was three or four, I started giving her a small allowance ($2/week) and whenever she begged me for something at the store, I’d say I’d put it on the list on my phone and she could save her allowance up and choose something from the list. She never, well, very rarely ends up spending her allowance.

    I’m so tired of all the STUFF. It’s just too much plastic and junk and clutter.

    • Brilliant, as always, Kylie. I think you must be a damn good parent. That said, the money bit hasn’t worked for us yet. Alice is saving everything in her little piggy bank for a trip to South Africa.

      Yes, really.

      I find the goal admirable, but not half as admirable as the fact that any time we mention her using her savings to buy something new for herself, she declines. That is her South Africa money.

      P.S. I just snuck an empty, broken wrapping paper tube into the recycling on garbage day this week. I feel your pain.

  5. Ahh, Christmas gift longing. My 22 year old daughter is waiting for the Sears Christmas Wish Book to arrive after ordering it online. You may be hiding flyers and catalogs for YEARS!!!!!!

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