The kids on my mom's side of the family are conveniently broken into chunks. There are the big kids, the middle kids, the little kids, the littler kids (now the littlest of the littler kids is in high school) and finally, the newest addition, the littlest kids- who really are little.
Growing up, these groups were the perfect setup for our annual tradition: The Boba Birthday.
My mom's mom, our grandma, lovingly known as Boba, took us out yearly for a birthday celebration (in our groups, of course). My group was composed of Becca, Allie and me, and later, when she realized she didn't want to be with the boys anymore, Caity moved up.
The day always included lunch, shopping, and an additional activity. For a good portion of my childhood, lunch was always at Dalt's (the best milkshakes, ever). One sad day, though, Dalt's went bankrupt (which makes me question those shakes) so we moved to Max&Erma's. We always took turns telling the waitress whose birthday we were actually celebrating.
The additional activity was often a movie, though we were allowed to do whatever we wanted. One year, on my birthday, we went to the circus. Unfortunately, though, we had to leave early because Allie was scared of the lions. Another year, we went to Old Indiana Fun Park, but we had to leave early because I was scared of the mini roller coaster and Allie was scared of the mirror house (poor Becca, the brave one!). Sadly, when we were 10, Old Indiana was shut down and is now a nature preserve (which again, makes me question my judgment).
Of course, in my opinion, the best part of the day was the shopping. It was a time during which we were allowed to spend a certain amount of money from Boba on anything we wanted. For several years, every penny Boba gave me went straight to Matel- Barbie, obviously. Every year (or maybe even monthly) Matel was coming out with something new. I obviously wanted Barbie, Ken and Kelly. But Kelly and Barbie had so many friends (poor Ken!) and then they had so many accessories. For a while there was even Whitney- with brown hair like me!- It was hard to keep up.
And just as I pledged my childhood loyalty to Barbie, there was one staple of my brother, Duke's childhood: "Where the Wild Things Are."
Because of this, you can imagine my happiness when I discovered that "Where the Wild Things Are" is becoming a major motion picture in October. I couldn't wait to tell Duke. But, like a true fan, he already knew.
This morning I was watching the Today Show and realized just how much childhood has changed since those glorious Boba Birthdays.
I learned that Leap Frog recently unveiled the Baby Blackberry. The toy is supposed to help with the fact that kids always want to play with their parents' cell phones. Al Roker, however, said he thought it was a terrible idea, because now he'll just have a baby that's angry about the fact that he thought he could text, but it didn't actually work.
And although it makes me sad that even the littlest of the little kids have cell phones and oftentimes kids I babysit are far more fascinated by my phone than any toy or game I can find, the change is inevitable. Technology is infiltrating every aspect of our lives and unless we revert back to writing letters, there is no way to stop kids from experiencing the changes as well.
So maybe it is a little silly to have Baby Blackberrys, but if it presents a solution to parents whose kids just don't understand that the real one isn't a toy, Leap Frog might have thought of something ingenious.
As for right now, I think I'll stick with buying old fashioned toys for the tots in my life. But really, who trusts my judgment? My restaurant and theme park got shut down. Who knows what toys I'll pick...