As a loving aunt, but with no children of my own, I had no clue what to get my niece. Her first birthday was a big deal, and I wanted to get her a big-deal gift to go with it.
Not only did I not have kids then, but my friends didn't either. I wasn't really around many just-turned-toddlers, and I had no idea what to get her.
When you search for 'gift ideas for one-year-olds,' you get thousands of options, but none of them seemed reasonable enough. They were great for parents of other one-year-olds who would be going from party to party, having to buy £10 presents for everyone. But, I was her aunt. I wanted something special.
When I first came across the trike, I thought, this is AMAZING. She'll love it. I was so amazed by it that I bought two. One for her, and one for my cousin's son, also turning one that week.
My cousins didn't open their present when I arrived as I got there later than everyone else and they were running out of the door. My brother did open theirs, but, of course, my tiny niece was far more interested in her fluffy, cuddly gifts. Much cooler than my box of parts that needed assembling. She did look at the box, and she did quite like the box, but that was as far that went.
I did not think this through.
Still, she'd love it once it was assembled, I hoped, and continued to enjoy the party.
A few weeks later, I got a text from my cousin with a bunch of photos of their son thrilled as can be in his trike. He said it was the best present ever, and they've since recommended it to all their friends.
It reminded me to find out how my brother had got on with his. He thanked me for it again; I didn't need to be acknowledged, I wanted to see pictures of her in it, to know she was in enjoying it, etc.
But, after a few words were said both ways, I realised that he didn't want to admit it, but, he hadn't put it together yet.
She's now six years old, and I don't think that trike was ever put together for her.
On the other hand, my cousins had a daughter a few years ago and again sent me pictures, this time of their son pushing their daughter in the same trike, thanking me again.
I've also now got a little person, and, I knew before she turned one, that for her birthday, she was getting a trike.
We put it together the day it came, she got in it that day, and we ride around everywhere in it, even in the house if it's a miserable day.
I realised that I thought the trike was a fantastic present because I'm the sort of parent who will jump at the chance to get my children in it, in the garden, running around.
My cousins I guess are like that too.
My niece is gorgeous. She likes drawing, and now that she's in school, she's starting to enjoy running around more. But, growing up, I realise now that her parents were never going to be the ones to get her in a trike.
(Confession - I didn't learn quickly, for her 4th birthday, I bought her an actual bike! Already assembled, a pink one with frills and everything... I'm pretty sure it's in the bin with her trike).
So - TRIKE! - Best present? Or a waste of money? Nothing to do with the kids, everything to do with the parents.