Dolly Diaper Bag A Gifting Dilemma

I’d like to say I spent most of my waking hours this past week pondering a solution to climate change, peace in the Mideast, or income inequality.

Instead, I focused all my mental powers on the purchase of a dolly diaper bag for my five-year-old granddaughter.

“I like THAT one,” she said, on a pre-Christmas window-wishing trip, and pointed to a Vera Bradley look-alike.

“Great Choice!” I told her. The quilted bag looked very pink, nicely made, and devoid of plastic junk.

But it stayed on her list for only a nano-second.

“No, THIS one,” she said, and grabbed a see-through plastic case filled with 29 multi-colored doo-dads and the flimsiest little Pamper I’d ever seen. Baby blocks, fake powder, a rubber ducky, a bib, even a potty chair – they were all in there.

As my granddaughter put it, “Wow!!!”

And so began the age-old gift-giving debate. Do I give that brilliant gift I’d want myself? Or some tacky something the recipient asked for?

My rational mind said, “Easy. Get her what she wants.” But some unexplainable force drove me to the Internet to see if there might be some even better third choice she – and I – would like even better.

Soon I was navigating the endless pages of Etsy, that online mecca of handcrafted delights, and corresponding with Jessica, a school teacher and crafter from Olton, Texas. Her site displayed beautifully handmade diaper bags for dolls with not one piece of plastic in them.

Could she, I wondered, produce one of her mini-mommy diaper bags in red and black only instead of red and black and pink since my granddaughter loves black and red but does not believe black and pink go together? And if so, could she do it before Christmas Eve?

Jessica was most accommodating. Before I could fix a cup of coffee, she’d sent me pictures of nine fabric samples – all predominantly red and black – and instructed me to pick out three to five. From those, she promised to fashion the bag, two doll diapers, a burp rag, a bib, a blanket, and a baby wipe holder, right on schedule.

I pictured her poised with pinking shears in hand, waiting for my credit card number and fabric choices. Then I pictured my granddaughter, greeting for the first time this never-before-seen creation. And decided to sleep on it.

How could I make an instant decision with so many conflicting values? Homemade vs. shiny plastic? Shop local vs. order online? Made here vs. made abroad? Listening to my own values vs. listening to her?

In the end, it was the latter that had me message Jessica my change of heart. And school teacher that she is, Jessica understood.

“Girls need to know that we are paying attention and that they are important enough for us to take notice,” she wrote. “I truly believe that.”

So now, waiting under the tree, is a see-thru diaper bag loaded with plastic baubles. Who knows how long it will last, but I’m expecting a wildly enthusiastic response. And when the flimsy little Pamper fails after the second pretend poop, no worries because I’ve mastered the art of compromise.

Tucked in the bottom of the bag are a couple of handmade cloth diapers I ordered through Etsy.

Now on to climate change and world peace.

Copyright 2014 Pat Snyder


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