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Sunday, November 07, 2004


Getting Some Perspective 

The school is doing Operation Christmas Child this year. I remember it from when I was a staff member. Having to go through all the boxes and remove all the toy guns, swords and soldiers people had packed for kids in Eastern Europe who knew what they all did in real life. Having said that though, it'll be hard for me to do my "boy" box without all that stuff.

The "girl" box was easy. In fact, it's more like "girl boxes". I was thinking about what it must be like to be so poor that you don't have toys. For women and little girls, this also means having nothing pretty. When I was little, something pretty gave me pleasure for months. There's so much of this stuff around for girls these days that I've been able to pack two shoeboxes with stuff Tara's hardly used, and won't miss. Here's what I collected:

Sparkly hair accessories as yet unused.
Holographic silver drawing pad.
Glitter glue.
Assorted butterfly, star, bow, snowflake shaped sequins.
Gel pens.
The sequinned purse the Munchkins gave her.
A toy purse with one of each of our coins in.
A lot of Barbie/Princess jewelry. Rings, necklaces, tiara etc..
Small pink soft toy.
Eraser-topped pencils and pink sharpener.
Pink sticky tape machine.
Hard candy.
Unopened Disney Princess Panini stickers.
Fairy picture book.
New packet of coloured chalk.
Heart-shaped sunglasses.
Harmonica which had been in a party bag she'd been given. (I'd been reserving it for the eventuality that I had guests I wanted to get rid of)

I was able to add several shimmery cosmetics that I'd kept, but never opened. I'm not sure if you can send perfume, but I've got tons of little free samples from Chanel and Yves St Laurent.

Then we went to shop for the practical items. But I was damned if I wasn't going to buy anything that wasn't pretty:

Gloves/Hat/Scarf. Warm. Soft. Pink with silver. Same as I bought Tara.
Toothbrush: Glittery.
Toothpaste: Bubblegum-flavoured.
Comb and brush set.
"Christmas" hair accessories.
Soap: Actually better than the brand I usually buy. We only use soap so Tara can practice washing her hands with it, as they don't have handwash lotion at school. Well if you're going to be using soap instead of ph-balanced stuff, on your body and probably your hair, you'd want the decent stuff right?
Washcloth: Rose-coloured.

And there I was. Feeling pretty good.

Because I had so many things easily available in my house, or that could be bought for a few pounds, that would give an impoverished child pleasure. Each and every item.

And it was fun to go around collecting all the loot.

I've always been one for counting my blessings: Our house is too small, but we got walls, a roof, hot and cold running water, heating, plenty of food in the larder, and a hell of a lot of love.

Our house is too small, because it can't easily contain two computers, a fantastic printer and a 3-in-one scanner/printer/photocopier, two digital cameras, the number of winter coats and shoes we own, the several hundred books Tara has, the thousands Alex and I own, ditto D.V.D's, the five changes of bedclothes, the four changes of curtains, the bulk-buys of toiletries, cleaning products and canned food that we don't have closet space for.

Never again will I complain about not having space for an American double-door fridge.

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