Childrearing

Nothing Fills Me With More Mom Angst And Loathing Than $78 Bunny Nightlights

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Every day it happens. I receive numerous paper catalogues in my mailbox and numerous electronic catalogues in my inbox. When Restoration Hardware recently sent out 17 pounds of paper catalogues to their customers (And I am a Restoration Hardware customer, owning both a sofa and dining room table from the amazingly expensive, perfectly-art directed aspirational lifestyle brand that I purchased on sale after scrimping and saving for eons, thankyouverymuch) I was livid. What a waste of paper! How amazingly ecologically wasteful! 

And then I took the Baby and Kid’s Sourcebook and almost wept at how adorable all the children’s rooms looked.

(Image: Restoration Hardware)

(Image: Restoration Hardware)

And I feel this way constantly. There is a certain type of feeling you get when confronted with items that you want for your children, adorable, beautiful, precious, perfect items that you somehow think would make your life better, or their life better, or that tie into this whole sort of mystical ideal we have of childhood, especially when your own childhood didn’t have these elements of whimsy or beauty.

I grew up poor.

And I don’t mean poor in the sense that I didn’t have enough to eat or gifts under the Christmas tree, but poor in the sense that my parents would have never considered buying me a $78 nightlight.

(Image: Simply Smitten)

(Image: Simply Smitten)

Because, and any rational person gets this, a $78 nightlight is stupid. But I refuse to believe I’m the only parent out there who doesn’t see items like this, the $35 cardboard houses:

(Image: Simply Smitten)

(Image: Simply Smitten)

The $48 Monster Blocks:

(Image: Simply Smitten)

(Image: Simply Smitten)

 

The adoringly designed Land Of Nod Playrooms  and WANT these things. The things aren’t just  beautiful to look at, but signify something greater: creativity, organization, and fun.

(Image: land Of Nod)

(Image: land Of Nod)

 

If I had these things my kids would be happier. They would have better memories. They would magically keep their rooms cleaner. I would like looking at these things.  

I think all of these things and then some when looking at what I can buy my children.

It’s cool and beautiful and fun and it shows that I’m the sort of parent who likes nice things. This is basically all about me. Or you. Kids don’t care.

And it’s terribly stupid. We all know kids don’t give one wit about $78 nightlights. Any Pinterest board can show you a kid would be just as happy with a three dollar Christmas clearance string of fairy lights on their ceiling. Any kid would be happy to sit with mom and dad and make their own cardboard doll houses from discard boxes and markers. We all get that you create memories with your kids by doing things with them, and not by buying them things. 

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63 Comments

  1. kiki

    July 21, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    I don’t blame the bunny. If you wanted to shove a lightbulb up my pa-tooty, it’d cost you more than $78, so really, he’s a bargain.

    • Spongeworthy

      July 21, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      At least buy me dinner first!

    • kiki

      July 21, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      A really, really nice dinner!

  2. Cate Radley

    July 21, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    I don’t know how to post links, but Ikea has a circus ten that’s super-cute fro only $20: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10206883/

    I am getting it for my daughter most likely. I guess it can be a fairy tent, if the fairies are balancing balls on their noses and jumping through hoops.

    • Cate Radley

      July 21, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      IT TURNED INTO A LINK BY ITSELF. There’s no stopping me now!

    • Lilly

      July 21, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      they have another one that looks like a castle — maybe more fakable into soem fairy theme: (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40247820/)

    • Spongeworthy

      July 21, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      You are on fire!!

    • TashaB

      July 21, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      We have the tent, and my two year old LOVES it. We don’t have a playroom, so it isn’t up all the time, but when it is, she is all over it.

    • Ursi

      July 21, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      Ikea is our furniture store because we live a small space and have cats. I get ribbed sometimes for investing in particle board. I’ll never judge anyone for spending $1000 on a sofa but whoever thinks I’m going to own anything nicer than an Ikea sofa that my cats will rip the bottom out of in two years is out of their minds.

    • Lilly

      July 21, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      I am another ikea person — my husband sometimes complains but I am all we have 2 cats, a toddler and a desire to spend our money on something other than furniture (like food and mortgage payment) so if you can find something else comparable let me know. He never does so we basically have a slobby variant of an ikea catalog.

    • Spongeworthy

      July 21, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      Have you looked at wayfair.com? I’ve gone through them to get some smaller furniture pieces (toy box, shoe bench, stuff like that) and a few decorative items. They have a good selection and stuff usually ships pretty fast. It’s very reasonable price-wise too.

    • Lilly

      July 21, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      except I live in Canada so most of those places won’t ship here or if they do the 20-25% markup for duty/shipping/imaginary costs make it as expensive as pottery barn or restoration hardware.

    • Véronique the Attachment Shark

      July 21, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      for me, it depends. For stuff that I know will last a long time, I’ll splurge on quality stuff (like a couch – my cat is trained not to claw them which is awesome balls). But for stuff that’s only temporary, like my son’s crib, I totally got the cheap 70$ crib. And then I painted it. I’d like the think that my house is a total mix of lots of stuff – some st uff I found on the side of the road (vintage teak furniture ftw!), hand me downs from my parents, stuff I’ve had since I was a teen, stuff I made myself (like my headboard and a slipcover for my white couch ’cause the kids be all like I’m ‘a stain that bitch at least once a day!), and brand new splurges.

      My boyfriend used to think I was crazy keeping old stuff in our basement and refusing to get rid of it, and then my daughter was born and I had a ton of furniture and art to reuse just for her! And now it looks like I’ve decorated the room especially like that, which I totally didn’t!

    • Elizabeth Licata

      July 22, 2014 at 11:03 am

      I’m pretty Team Ikea. I actually adore my Karlstad couch. I swapped the legs for pretty, pointy legs and tufted the back cushions, and now it looks like a fancier couch. Also if my husband destroys it I won’t be like, “Augh! You destroyed the couch!” (My husband is a more destructive household force than any cat. I don’t know how he does it, but everything he uses wears out twice as quickly.)

  3. Spongeworthy

    July 21, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Eve, I love this. It can be so difficult to look at this stuff and not feel less than. I’m not really into “stuff”, but it can be hard to separate knowing intellectually that these things won’t make your or your kids’ life better, happier, or more fulfilling, and emotionally feeling like you’re somehow depriving them of some memory or experience by not doing a drive-in movie in your backyard every weekend.
    It’s one of the reasons is don’t go on Pinterest anymore for anything other than recipes. Sometimes you can get great, inexpensive ideas for things, but often it would make me feel like if I just could get that outfit, or decorate my home that way, I would somehow be a better person.

    • Eve Vawter

      July 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      EXACTLY. It’s just this creepy needling feeling of wanting and understanding intellectually that wanting is BS but wanting shit anyway. I get the same feeling off Pinterest.

    • Spongeworthy

      July 21, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      YES. The feeling just creeps up. I am not materialistic at all, and I’m perfectly content to buy things used or skip on things I know I don’t need…but still, this stuff can creep up on you. I’ve noticed for me it has more of an effect if I’m having a bad day, or not feeling as confident in myself. That feeling of “I can just get this and it will be all better!”

    • Eve Vawter

      July 21, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      I so hear you on all of this.

  4. Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

    July 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    If I had these things my kids would be happier. They would have better memories. They would magically keep their rooms cleaner. I would like looking at these things.

    I know I have a lot of soapboxes–and I’d apologize for that, but not really, because I don’t feel bad about it–but this is one.

    In a society as driven by consumption as ours is, this is the purpose of a vast majority of the media that we (and by extension our kids) consume every single day. It’s the message behind every single advertisement you are viewing on the sides of this page. Your life is not complete. Your life could be better–just buy what we are selling.

    It’s so important to be able to think about what we are viewing in terms of “this makes me feel this way because that’s what the advertisers want it to do” and to counter that with why we don’t really need it…or why we do, if it is a product we could use (or just want).

    Anyway, ending this soapbox before it turns into something much longer, lol. 😉

    • Eve Vawter

      July 21, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      Oh totally, which is why I wrote this. haha

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 21, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      I figured, lol. And I’m glad you did, else I’d have to find another way to rant about it today, and that’s just tedious. 😉

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 21, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      Slow clap for this! It’s the old saying – marketing is about solutions to problems and good feelings. Well, most of our problems could be solved with dollar store stuff (or discount department store items) so it’s all about the good feeling. Or, best of all, sell the good feeling that you can AVOID problems if you just buy the right stuff!

  5. Frannie

    July 21, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    When we moved I spent 800 at the Land of Nod buying new curtains and bedding for my kids’ rooms. It took me almost a year to pay off my Crate and Barrel card. NEVER AGAIN.

    • Eve Vawter

      July 21, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      I cannot even IMAGINE how much worse this stuff is for new moms looking at these nurseries. It is amazing how much money you can spend, and it is all sooooo adorable and sweet and cool looking. I feel for new moms so bad about this.

    • Frannie

      July 21, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      I agree! I went overboard because it was a new house and my son’s first bedroom (he was sleeping in a crib in our room prior to that) but I’ve since realized you can get the same look for a lot less if you’re willing to shop around. I still get the catalogs, but I closed the store card- I have decided they’re now for inspiration only. I mean, I spent 56 dollars on one curtain panel! One! You can’t even buy a set of two from them. I think I spent close to 400 for my daughter’s quilt, and we’re 2 hrs from Amish Country- I could have bought her a handmade quilt for the same price.

    • Eve Vawter

      July 21, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      But I bet it looked soooooooo cute hahhaha

    • Frannie

      July 21, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      It really does!

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      July 21, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Omg I know, WHY is LoN bedding so perfect and expensive? T_T

    • Frannie

      July 21, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      RIGHT??? They’re evil geniuses!

  6. LadyClodia the Modest Rat

    July 21, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    I sort of regret going in to the Restoration Hardware store the first time because it’s the benchmark now. The huge house of my dreams is decorated with stuff from there; I mean, of course I need that big steamer chest desk thing and the easel to hold the TV and the airplane wing chair, which is really comfortable! And, damn, that bunny night light is cute.
    I understand, though, sometimes it’s hard to be rational about splurges for the kids, like I just want them to have certain things even if I know it’s silly, and I honestly never thought I would be like that.

    • Eve Vawter

      July 21, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      when we bought our sofa we thought we had measured correctly and did not. Their furniture is all GIGANTIC. it’s ridic.

    • LadyClodia the Modest Rat

      July 21, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      Yeah, I know most of their stuff just wouldn’t fit in our house. 🙁 We’re redoing our main bathroom, which is very small, and we got our new medicine cabinet and bathroom lights from there, but those are the only things from there that would fit, and we had to order the smallest sizes so they would.

    • Eve Vawter

      July 21, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      I pretty much live on their sale page 🙁

    • LadyClodia the Modest Rat

      July 21, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Yeah, we waited for the sale to buy them, and even then we probably could have found something way cheaper. Since we’ve started on our remodeling projects my husband and I have found out that we have expensive taste. :-/

    • Eve Vawter

      July 21, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      My bathroom is getting done, it’s just a guest bath but here is my sink <3

    • LadyClodia the Modest Rat

      July 21, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Oh, that’s really pretty Eve!
      Here’s our new one. (We bought the floor model from the store, but not that faucet. The sales person said they thought that faucet looked like a deer and they used to put a red nose on it at Xmas time.)

    • Eve Vawter

      July 21, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      love!

    • Véronique the Attachment Shark

      July 21, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      so cute! what are you going to do on your walls?

  7. Bic

    July 21, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    $35 for that bit of cardboard, they must be joking! I wouldn’t mind if looked good, but not for that. You’d be better off putting the money towards a wood dolls house and them asking people to get furniture for it for birthdays and christmas. That way you have a good quality item that should last at the very least through one child and can be passed on or sold later and the accessories give people an easy gift idea.

    • Eve Vawter

      July 21, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      OH I HEAR YA.

  8. Ursi

    July 21, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I had to stop looking at the Land of Nod website because I want some of that stuff for myself!

  9. Natasha

    July 21, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I’m so glad I didn’t see that $78 bunny night light when I was in full hormonal decorating mode with my kid’s room. I probably would have bought it, regretted it and then been unable to return it to hide my shame.

  10. AP

    July 21, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    The kind of kids who live in those rooms NEVER get to run around or make a mess. How sad for them!

  11. Jennie Blair

    July 21, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    I guess I haven’t bought into this crap yet. My daughter doesn’t need designer baby crap she won’t care about and eventually break. Same thing with designer clothes or over priced dolls. When she is an adult the clothes and dolls and nursery of her babyhood aren’t going to mean shit.

  12. Cruelty Cupcake

    July 21, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I love this post! I feel this way often and I’m not even very materialistic. I keep my house really clutter-free, clean and I like a lot of ~natural materials~ but it doesn’t matter. “Simple” and “minimalist” is so deceiving, that shit is just as expensive as anything else. My kid has a $300 play kitchen (!!!) and I want to buy him the fridge and this dumb wood play stand with rainbow canopy to go over it. That’s an $1100 set-up, what the fuck is wrong with me? Sometimes I just need to take a step back and stop reading Soulemama, bitch is bad for my wallet.

    • Spongeworthy

      July 21, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      It’s so true. Yea, minimalist seems great, but when you see that that one beautiful piece still costs 3 grand, it’s a shock!
      I also like a lot of the natural materials, but they aren’t cheap. We bought a dining table, chairs, and a bed all made out of rubber wood. It’s very hardy and is a very “green”, environmentally friendly wood, but it wasn’t cheap. If we weren’t buying those things with the intention of using them for at least the next 10 years, I would’ve gone with composite wood.

    • Jessica Johnson

      July 21, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      We bought some furniture made from that, and it wasn’t very expensive. We did buy most of it unfinished though, and are finishing it ourselves. We wanted something that could be handed down for generations, not just
      serviceable for a few years like all our furniture in the past. In our area, the furniture store options were seriously overpriced paper veneer over particle board, or overpriced pine, or “maybe if we hit the lottery we can buy a hardwood table”. We spent under $1000 on a 300lb table that will seat 10 with both leaves in it, and 8 chairs. Spent about $400 on 2 toyboxes for the kids, and $1300 for a pair of dressers (we also paid extra to have them finished, because dressers are a pain to finish). We’d have spent the same amount on the paper veneer over mdf at the furniture store in town.

      2 years later, still no polyurethane on my dining table or chairs, the leaves for the table aren’t stained yet. But they aren’t scratched, or dinged, or swelling from the humidity or anything. We finished the toy boxes and even though the boys aren’t careful at all with them, they aren’t dinged, or beat up, or scratched. I caught my 60lb dog standing on the toybox barking at a stray dog in our yard, and his claws didn’t even mark up the top of it. The dressers are still perfect too. Oak wouldn’t have held up this well. Hickory might have. lol. I’ll never buy composite again, I never got more than a year out of that stuff before it looked like crap.

    • Spongeworthy

      July 21, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      We bought the table and chairs at a store where you can opt to buy unfinished, but had them do it at the store just for the convenience. I’m VERY happy with the material. It holds up so well! So when we saw a bed in the same material, we went for it.
      I’m also done buying the composite stuff as far as heavy-use items. It would cost much more in the long run to buy a new one every few years rather than pay more up front and have it last. I know not everyone can afford to put more money out in one chunk, but we were able to, and it was a good investment.

    • Jessica Johnson

      July 22, 2014 at 11:08 am

      We should have opted to get the table/chairs finished like we did the dressers, but I forgot about my husband’s tendency to never finish a project.

    • Véronique the Attachment Shark

      July 21, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      That’s why I love buying used furniture. You can find really nice hardwood stuff that you can refinish if you’re handy (which I am), and it costs WAAAAAY less than buying low-quality crap from a store. And it looks cooler when you’re done.

      I’m in the process of customizing a teak furniture set that I found on the side of the road – it was missing two drawers so I’m basically building in the gaps for the drawers with mdf which I’ll wallpaper and then put in baskets for storage. It’ll have cost me about 10$ of mdf since I have the wallpaper from my previous condo.

  13. Leigh Shulman

    July 21, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    It makes me glad that for whatever reason mail never makes it to our house. Haven’t received anything in years. Also, that bunny, makes me think it should be made of WHITE CHOCOLATE. 🙂

  14. kcore

    July 21, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Wow. I get it, I really do — the desire for cute stuff. But I also have my mother’s voice in my head… the one that tells me exactly how much she bought everything for (on sale, of course), and it hurts me to spend too much. Although, we did put this on our baby shower registry, and I felt it was completely useless… but oh, so cute: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50060713/

    • Lilly

      July 21, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      I got that for my son’s first birthday (or the Christmas when he was 1 year old) he used a lot for a while but it is a pain to store for us and so it is forgotten about a lot. We got this one for free (hand-me-down) and it is used more since it is basically solid plastic we use it outside a lot:
      http://www.ikea.com/sg/en/catalog/products/60167803/

      but now I noticed it is for Singapore and the US & CA sites don’t list it so maybe it isn’t everywhere anymore

    • AP

      July 21, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      I saw one of these in a store and it’s the CUTEST THING EVER http://www.sip-scootershop.com/en/products/kid+s+rocking+vespa+scooter+_14207100

      I bet a toddler would prefer the box though.

  15. Katherine Handcock

    July 21, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Oh, Eve, I love this! I wrestle with the same thing, especially since I live in an area that’s fairly wealthy, so there are a LOT of child-related indulgences that I see on a regular basis.

    Although I’ve got to say, if I was going to blow that kind of money on a nightlight, it would be for this awesome thing:

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/e6cc/

    You can take the balls of the stand! They change colours! They’re safe for 2 and up!

    I want it for me 🙂

    • Lilly

      July 21, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      there are a few of those types I have seen (soft battery operated) that change colours so if the $80 is too much shop around

      http://www.amazon.com/Color-Changing-Night-Light-Children/dp/B0076GWZI6

      http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90150995/

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      We did end up getting the Ikea one, which my daughter loved! But that ThinkGeek one…it looks like an alien tree 🙂

      Now that the battery on that one finally gave up the ghost, I think I might get her this cool remote-controlled light set I saw at Costco. It’s a string that you can put around the door, and you can change the colours, brightness, and set it to flash, cascade, etc.

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      July 21, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      I have also long admired that nightlight. FYI it’s only $50 on Amazon, the brand is Boon.

  16. jendra_berri

    July 21, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    If someone’s childhood is perfect and gorgeous, there’s nowhere to go but down because no life can sustain that level of pretty and sweet.
    Besides, I always tell myself whenever I see these gorgeous layouts or expensive things, “Then I’d have to clean that/store that.”

  17. Diana

    July 22, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Eve my dear. I work at a shop that sells them and I’m here to tell you they break easily. But the cheap plastic ones you can buy here are just great. http://www.dotcomgiftshop.com/night-light-white-rabbit

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