Gifts for the SA kid?

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by Just Dad, Jun 17, 2018.

  1. Just Dad

    Just Dad Member

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    First I understand this thread is trite and self indulgent, in comparision to other topics taken up here.

    That said, I enjoy the idea of shipping off something to my DD that she opens up on a "down day" or during the "dark days" that reminds her that she is on my mind. Something she can use or something that just gives her a lift. My list of stuff follows, but I am curious to learn if other SA parents have come up with.

    1) Moms home cooking-------obvious but effective. That said you never know how long it will take stuff to get to the SA and when your DD/DS will find time to pick up a pkg, green stuff on the cookies=not good.

    2) Custom Coffee Mug with pics of her dog/home/family. DD loved this.

    3)Desk toys (stuff that other Mids pick-up when they drop by her room)
    • Magnets I've actually pissed her off with one pretty powerful one but the little ones I sent her found their way to the watch desk during her Plebe year where they amused plebes standing watch.
    • Fidgets of all kinds
    4) Cheap crappy throw-away toys: yodeling pickle $8;Induction Flying lighted ball $8; Annoyitron $4; Flying Chicken $3 , Etc.

    5) Sunglasses: ( "Hello, my name is Just Dad and I have a sunglasses problem"). Childhood vision issues had me wearing sunglasses almost anytime I was outside as a kid. To this day if I am outside and you can't see stars in the sky---I have sunglasses on. To have my DD in an environment where the only variable in her uniform are the sunglasses she picks to wear; to have the eBay treasure trove to dig through looking for a great-deal on some Maui Jims, Tom Fords, Serengetis, Oliver Peoples, Oakley, (not a fan of RayBan these days) has been addicting and I've been bad. DD loses a pair, I replace the lost pair with two new ones. Of course "occasionally" while looking for glasses for DD I stumble upon a pair for myself. I'm guessing that I've purchased about 17 pairs over the last two years. DW has been great, doesn't complain, (I think she's just happy that I'm not buying fire arms). BTW I am happy to share the eBay vendors that I've had good results with just PM me.

    6) DW is more practical than I am. Her only "Mid Gift" was an early Christmas present of tattooed eye liner and eyebrows. DW swears by hers and the time it saves, DD agrees.

    Well, thats it. Thinking about it a-bit, I guess this whole SA thing has altered my role some re: DD. I am still her Dad, but it's the Navy's job to make life hard for her these days. I am more like an indulgent grandpa.

    Anybody have other great/cool stuff that you ship off to your SA kid?
     
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  2. Sandydesert

    Sandydesert Member

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    Would she like scented gel pens/markers or sparkly glitter gel pens? Amazon has inspiration coins and stones with words like "faith" , "family" "inspire" "luck" strength" "patience" carved on them, sold as sets. Amazon also has a "light up magic catch game" with a ball that emits sparkly light when it lands that looks like fun. DS still expends energy on one of the classic wooden cup and ball games when he is home. How about a mini Etch A Sketch if she is artistic? If she likes to drink tea, what about a box of her favorite tea and a tea infuser bottle?
     
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  3. Just Dad

    Just Dad Member

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    Ouch! didn't mean to offend.

    We have the pictures of her crawling through the mud and knocking another plebe cold with a pugel (sp?) stick, but ya, if a "light Up Magic Catch Game" made her smile on an otherwise crappy day 3000 miles from home--------------- I'm in.
     
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  4. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty 5-Year Member

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    If they allow food in the dorms/barracks, then homemade cookies or brownies would be fine, as long as the recipe isn't from Alice B. Toklas.
     
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  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Once the academic year starts, gift cards to food places they typically go to on a Saturday when they can leave post/Yard.

    For USNA, walking into DTA (Downtown Annapolis) that’s The Big Cheese Deli (they’ll actually set up an account funded by parents), Starbucks, Mission BBQ, Kilwin’s, Sophie’s Crepes, Annapolis Ice Cream Company, to start.
     
  6. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American 5-Year Member

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    These kind of threads make me shake my head. Just Dad, you sound like a loving, caring father that just wants to do a little extra for his daughter. That's nice.

    But, it brings me back to how special the kids are today. How they need more pats on the back, more attention and immediate gratification, than ever before.

    It's an epidemic, and we see evidence of it all the time. Grads of every academy point out that "they" were the last class that had it rough. Think about how things have changed. Hair length and styles, backpacks, tattoos, walking the strips, beat downs, abundant leave, air conditioning, refrigerators, cars, cell phones, email, face time, and more. Academies were known for creating leaders that survived the toughest four years of academic, athletic, and military training. Today it seems that the academies are being structured more like other colleges to attract more kids that would never consider putting themselves through the "hard" academy experience.

    That tough experience is what generated the incredible feeling of accomplishment for thousands of academy grads. Of course, grads from any college should feel pride, but we know that the academies have always had that extra respect, largely for the rigor of the entire experience. That rigor is melting away.

    All in my opinion, and not to criticize just dad. It just feels that kids need a lot more coddling today than ever.
     
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  7. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt 5-Year Member

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  8. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    I understand that some may feel that the OP's question is "helicopter-ish," but piling on is unnecessary. If you read some of the OP's past posts, he "gets it" regarding how tough the academy is and what it is designed to accomplish.

    Here's an example.
    https://www.serviceacademyforums.co...-or-civilian-college.61448/page-2#post-611204

    Constructively, let's focus on:
    • Answering the OP's question directly (like @Capt MJ and @EDelahanty did) or....
    • briefly state why such things are not it the DD's best interest and why, but please keep it positive and keep the forum receptive and welcoming.
    So far, everyone has kept this within the zone, but I'm afraid that it will edge further towards a "bashing" session.

    Let's stay on course.
     
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  9. VelveteenR

    VelveteenR Just gathering dust in the nursery...

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    Edibles. They’re always hungry.
     
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  10. Walman888

    Walman888 Member

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    It's a good post.
    My own DD will covet a nice hunk of Prime Rib. Gotta get that worked out. Not sure of anything else she might want but she'll tell us. Your DD will let you know I'm sure.
    All the best!
     
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  11. Just Dad

    Just Dad Member

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    WOW!!----and----LOL

    My first Observation: I feel "loved"!!!!
    PMs from nice people, and What has to be the gentlest rebuke from Maplerock this board has ever seen!!! (with respect Maplerock :)

    To be clear, the post wasn't about support that I feel my DD needs; it's really about my own adjustment to the path my daughter has taken. I don't get to see her as much as I'd like, and I don't get to look out after as much as I used to. I wouldn't change it. Its just part of the parent side of the "SA experience" that I was trying to take a light hearted look at it. As far as her USNA Exp. goes and her maturation into a naval officer I think I "get it"------ but then my vantage point isn't the best------and I'm NOT gonna ask my wife!
    A second (ahem 3rd.....---) pair of sunglasses, and/or a magnets that find there way to the watch desk for the plebes of XyZ Company doesn't seem a threat to the plans the Navy has for my daughter. The USN is driving the "Discipline/Experience Bus" now. She's hardly a princess and we aren't talking about showering her with gifts while at USNA.

    Second Observation: You all have great kids, or you wouldn't be on this board; by extension you all did good jobs as parents. That said, kid #1 differs from kids #2-#4000 as do sets of parents and parenting practices. I've always been a "Fun Dad" (my kids description not mine----and not always intended as a complement). I can't wait to have some grandchildren to give drum-sets, pellet rifles and chain-saws to. I understand that our kids are learning serious lesson but I hope that my DD chuckles at her USNA predicaments before she puts shoulder-to-wheel, and that she has as much fun at USNA as the Navy will tolerate. Including a 4th pair of sunglasses or a mug with pics of her dog on it, if reminds her that I am thinking about her on an otherwise crappy day in March at USNA.

    Third Observation I am surprised to be so outside "the norm" in this.
    I'd thought that a "Helicopter Parent" was defined as someone who intercedes on his/her kids behalf relative to relationships, performance or metrics that are, or should be, the kid's responsibility. There is no attempt at influencing DD success or controlling DD's experience at the USNA. I just toss the occasional item over the transom that I think she'd get a kick out of (and doesn't violate Regs). I'm surprised to learn that my small attempts to lighten a given day for my Mid are apparently unique (just surprised not angry). I thought I'd hear from others with better ideas than my own.

    I mean seriously? Understanding that it IS the Navy's/Army's/USAF's/USMA's/USGC's Job to shape or kids going forward, is it the consensus here that you "drop the Mic." on Dad and Mom stuff as an essential part of the SA experience?

    As much as I appreciate AROTC-dad running interference for me (I really do). You-all are welcome to "bash away", you are more likely to make me smile than anything else. My DD didn't join a convent, the "Game Face" stuff is bogus IMHO and sending off a sunglasses or a fidget a couple of times a year on a non-holiday is not an invitation to reverse her USN driven course toward becoming an officer.

    Best:
    Just Dad

    Thats it: Fire away,-----------------------------------But?-------- does this mean that I can't get her the low mileage 2013 BMW135iS I got her for making it to 3C?!?!?!?!?

    kidding


     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
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  12. 2022mom

    2022mom Member

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    @Just Dad I think what you are doing is great and doesn’t make you a helicopter parent at all. Ignore the haters. You do you!!!!
     
  13. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    I sent my DH some pretty hilarious boxes of small stuff on long cruises (11-month ones). Something to open and laugh at, to know I was thinking of him. He still has the bendy magnet monkeys on his desk at home. They went on every cruise with him for years; I’d hide them away in his gear somewhere. They got twisted into crazy positions and stuck nicely on his metal desk/bunk.

    http://www.joebendercollector.com/phone/story.html
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
  14. VelveteenR

    VelveteenR Just gathering dust in the nursery...

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    OK, I'll 'fess up. I sent our son a box last year with some "re-labeled" toys:

    Silly Putty = "Recreational C4. Explosive fun for the entire barracks!"
    Frisbee = "Manual Drone. Batteries not required."
    Bug Box = "Military Cockroach Capture System."
     
  15. redwhitebluemom

    redwhitebluemom Member

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    I am hesitant to write this (and you’ll see why in a moment), but here it goes.

    My favorite things of all to send my son when he was in Army training were cards with confetti in the envelope, and a card with Happy Birthday written on the outside of the envelope. For all of these items DS had to do push-ups, but I was in the Army too, so I was just trying to help make him stronger.

    Now, DS said that while he was in basic, one of the most absurd things his fellow trainees received was a (ahem...using careful language here) replica of a male appendage usually found at an XXX store. He seemed to think that was hilarious and I am not really sure why. He said guys got them in a variety of sizes and colors and apparently they were always sent from prior service Dads. Maybe someone on here can explain to me why this is funny.

    Being the mom, once he got to advanced training I sent gourmet cookies, photos of the pets, Domino’s gift cards, Chili’s gift cards, movie theater gift cards, and sometimes some homemade goodies. He also loved getting a blanket from his bed at home. I think he appreciated that the most.

    I am with Just Dad - it’s not that our kids need these things. It is simply difficult to adjust to not having them around and it made me feel way better to send my DS things than he can ever know. It has helped me ease into the separation. We are well past that stage now, but it sure helped me get used to the idea that he would not be around in the way that I had envisioned for him. I always thought I’d have 4 years of college to get used to the idea of my kid not being a kid. Silly me.
     
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  16. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty 5-Year Member

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    The most notorious helicopter parent was Douglas MacArthur's mom, who lived at the Thayer Hotel his entire four years at USMA. That was before they even had helicopters. And look how he turned out - misplaced the Philippines and fired from his last job.

    Anyway, to sum up: the kids are alright. It's us parents who need coddling.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
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  17. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    I have a buddy in Bahrain. There is a group of my friends where I live who never served a day that help me send a box every 2-3 weeks. The boxes are a hit. I mean it’s Bahrain, not the worst deployment on the planet. Access to lots of stuff. It reminds them someone at home cares about them and they aren’t forgotten. The food is nice, but it’s the thought.

    I went to USNA a few decades ago and even then we got boxes with stuff. Food, money and gift cards were always a hit, but desk games, pictures, letters, coloring books (no kidding) an article from the local paper, a funny comic were always appreciated. Same goes for deployments. I remember I was deployed to Iraq for Xmas and my mom said she ‘had’ to send me an Xmas gift. She wrapped up toiletries, socks and some candy for me. Made her feel better and I appreciated opening Xmas presents under my paper tree. We never needed much as Mids but it’s always nice when home thinks about you. Send away to your kids! I know they don’t always respond to the texts or emails, but they appreciate them!
     
  18. parentalunit2

    parentalunit2 5-Year Member

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    I think this thread simply boils down to this.
     
  19. THS

    THS Member

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    DS is a rising Firstie and I can't believe his 4 years is almost over. I recall sending care packages of his favorite treats during plebe summer and plebe year until he said he had more than enough for him and his buddies. He was particular (paranoid) about keeping his room and desk clean of clutter during his Plebe year so at his request we didn't send him any tchotcke other than a small American flag. Since Chipotle opened in DTA - his hometown fave next to In N Out, we have been sending him gift cards. Since plebe year we've ask him what he'd like in care packages. Usually it's gum, beef jerky and protein powder. During his last Christmas break visit he enjoyed eating caramel popcorn from Kettle Korn. So every so often we make a mad dash from the afternoon Friday Farmer's Market to the Post Office to send him a care package filled with popcorn.
     
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  20. Hoosiermom18

    Hoosiermom18 Member

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    I hear this a lot across all sorts of ages from elementary through college. If you are actively involved with these people and the results then I am interested in your observations. Most of the time that is not the case. As for the rigor melting away I am sure you are right that things have changed, but what they are training for has also changed-dramatically.