I don’t know about you, but every time I hear something that is considered “The perfect” anything I think of the skits from Saturday Night Live with the Cheerleaders. You know the ones with Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri? At the end of every skit they would conclude that they needed “The Perfect Cheer”. They would then proceed to act out one of the most ridiculous cheer leading routines ever. They were hilarious, insane and pure comedic genius. When my daughter was born, it was a surprise to us that she was a girl. We waited until she was born to find out her gender. I know, we got a lot of crazy looks for waiting. Anyway, in her very first week of life (she is 20 months old now), I’m pretty sure I told my husband, “I can’t wait to buy her a play kitchen”. And so began the search for “The Perfect Gift”.
For months I have scoured the internet looking at these kitchens, to choose the one for her second Christmas. I’d like to preface this whole this by telling you that I research all of my purchases to death. Seriously, I will spend hours looking up what is the best can opener before making a decision to buy. And when it comes to the play kitchen category, there are so many retailers and different models to choose from. So because this is supposed to be the “perfect gift” and it’s for my precious girl, I started my search a long time ago. Recently, I asked some mom friends on Facebook which kitchens they had for their littles and if they have any recommendations. The overwhelming majority of them said that they preferred the wooden kitchens. And I can definitely see why. These wooden kitchens are super cute.
They make modern styles and vintage styles. The problem is that most of them are not really made out of wood. They are made from what looks like particle board or pressed wood. I don’t think it would withstand a move or my toddler’s craziness. She is like a tornado. No seriously, when she doesn’t want you to pick her up, she spins; it is very effective. I can see myself buying this super cute kitchen and then when she rips the door off, I will be crying after she is asleep. I could also see her Little People farm silo going through the faux glass and me crying again while I feverishly Google how to fix her kitchen. So wooden is out for us.
I have enlisted the opinions of many of my other friends via text. One suggested that I look up and see what IKEA has.
I discovered that IKEA sells this cute little play kitchen, which is simple but also wooden, so it is automatically disqualified. But then, I looked on Pinterest and found out that all of these people that have IKEA play kitchen and remodeled it. First of all, that’s ridiculous. I have never heard of a child’s play kitchen getting remodeled. Second, they are amazing. They look far more beautiful than the kitchen I use to make real food. Seriously, if you want to be in total awe, you should check them out. For about thirty minutes I thought, “I could do that. I could totally paint, refinish and add hardware to that kitchen.” But quickly I woke up from the dream that I must have been having and remembered that I have a very hard time finishing DIY projects. I can’t even get my laundry done, so what makes me think that I could do this? Plus, I feel like this would also end with me crying if the paint that I spent so much time on started to chip.
My real kitchen will never look this fancy.
That is faux granite counter top. I can’t even. I just can’t even.
All of this research got me thinking, I loved my play kitchen. What did mine look like? I had a picture in my head, but it was faint and all I could really remember was the three year old version of my sister in an Aladdin t-shirt standing next to it. So, I decided to turn to the place where all people look for old nostalgic stuff, eBay. I reminisced about my old kitchen that stood the test of time…about twenty-five years.
This plastic Little Tikes kitchen in the above picture was my kitchen growing up (I had my mom take a picture and send it to me). It is still in fabulous shape after two crazy sisters and four moves. It was my sister’s and my favorite toy. We loved it so much. My mom still has it in her basement for her favorite granddaughter to play with whenever she comes to visit. It has a separate refrigerator that has plenty of storage and the water spout actually works. Why don’t they make kitchens like this anymore? It was the best kitchen and I don’t know how my family is ever going to part with it. I would take it for my daughter, but we live far away.
Taking into consideration that my kitchen was plastic and that particle board is not cool. I decided that plastic was the way to go. Now, there are only 29 pages of results when you search “play kitchens’ on Amazon.com. There are small kitchens, large kitchens and kitchens that grow with your child. There are compact kitchens and kitchens of many colors. How will I ever make a decision? I asked other people, I read Amazon reviews and as of right now I have narrowed it down to two.
Now, you may wonder why I would obsess other this. I know my husband has been wondering that every night for months. Like this one night we were sitting on the couch just watching Netflix and at one point I just exclaimed. “That’s not real wood!” after being silent for 30 minutes. His face was priceless. I know I obsess over every purchase, and every little detail, but what can I say? This is for my little girl. This is HER (and her hypothetical siblings’) kitchen. I want her to make so many memories pretend-cooking for mommy and daddy, friends and family. I want her to experience, learn and imagine. I want her to have as much fun as I did with my play kitchen. Will my choice be the right one? Who knows. Two years down the road she will probably go over to someone else’s house and come back to me and say, “My kitchen is lame, why didn’t you get me one of those cute wooden ones?” I guess in the end I will end up crying anyway.
We are all going to be searching for the “perfect” gifts for our kids this Christmas. I know I am not the only one who will do a great deal of research and worry over the details. After all, they are our children and we love them so much. But remember, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what we give them. They are our babies and we are their parents. They will not remember every little gift. They will remember the memories of a happy family and the joy of opening up gifts and one day, they will be in our shoes hoping to do the right thing for their children. The best gift is being there and sharing the memories of Christmas with our families.
Now what should I get for my husband…?