It used to be, back in the good old days of When We Had A Baby as opposed to Now We Have A Tantrum, that if we saw something we liked for our son, we would buy it for him and decorate him with it. Most everything one purchases for a baby is either a necessity or an accessory - nappies, check; butt-cream, check; cute little shirt, checkerooni! Most everything one purchases for a toddler however is purely acquired as a way of keeping the damn thing quiet.
There is something that marketeers like to call 'Pester Power' which basically means that they fluff their products in soft-core toy commercials until Snookums has practically torn off the cuff of her parent's sleeve begging for one. I thought, as one would, that I had a few years to go before my small one understood TV commercials enough or was subjected to playground envy enough to begin this assault on my wardrobe, however it appears I was severely underinformed.
The other day we were in the play park, me and my little pumpkin, happily playing in the sand when he spotted a pink doll's pushchair that somebody had left behind. Jumping up and down to be hoiked out of the sand he was practically apoplectic and once out, he ran, which is no mean feat, ran to the buggy and played with it, giving it all his attention for nearly half an hour.
Embarrassingly, a nice lady had to take it from him and give him a biscuit as he refused to give it up for me even though we were both freezing and the wardens were locking the park gates. The next day we had the same story and for nearly a week he would thieve any buggy whose owner was idiotic enough to be out with it in public. Yes, that was me, the mother hiding in the corner while her over-sized son wrenched the dolly's buggy away from your sweet little girl, half his size.
So the frog and I went reluctantly to buy him one and the frog to his relief found instead a nice, butch, toy lawnmower. Handle, wheels... same sort of functionality, Spud loved it, great.
Next day we're out in the park, spud happily pushing his lawnmower around until... what's this? A doll's buggy, you say? He threw, I kid you not, he threw his lawnmower aside and chased after the owner of the doll's buggy, crying and shouting and pointing until the poor chap let him play with it. It turns out that the buggy belonged to another little boy. I have since seen about 4 little boys with doll buggies. Something to do with it having wheels and needing to be controlled perhaps? But I digress.
The upshot is that he now has his very own doll's buggy and he hasn't stopped playing with it since the moment we bought it - Pester Power 1, Parent Power 0.
At least we're getting away with pesters for under a fiver. On evidence it will be short months before he's after his own computer so he can start his own blog and leave me to dribble weakly into my buggy.