I'm always amazed at how generous and thoughtful our friends and relatives are as Quinn is so often the recipient of unexpected gifts. Many of the gifts he's received also confirm my long held belief in the importance of having a shtick.
Since Quinn was about a year old, he has been very interested in guitars. When I say that to other parents, some parents note that their child likes guitar too. I usually just smile and nod. Because while I'm sure there are many other children who like guitars, it is quite hard to imagine that many like them quite as much as Quinn. While his interest has mellowed from the all out obsession it was, we went through a period where he would ask us to read to him from the Musician's Friend catalog that arrived in the mail. Or we would read the Encyclopedia of guitars so frequently that he could probably identify 50 different brands of guitars at age two. He went through a phase where he refused to wear a shirt that didn't have a guitar on it, and had strong preferences on certain days for the double neck guitar, the flying V or the bass with no headstock.
Quinn effectively branded himself as the kid who loves guitars. And as a benefit, he is the frequent recipient of out-of-the-blue guitar-related gifts. Over the holidays, our dear friend Patricia sent him a great t-shirt with the slogan "One Day I'll be a rock star" and a picture of a kid playing guitar. A friend and band-mate of Ryan's sent Quinn a sweet stuffed bear playing the guitar. Our house is populated with other similarly thoughtful gifts. Basically, he's set things up so that when people who know him see something sweet involving guitars, they think of him.
Our friend Martin has a similar thing with turtles. Not exactly sure why or how it started, but he had a few turtle statues or figures, people noticed them and he started getting more. Any time we see something involving turtles, we think of Martin. We bought his wedding present for him years before he got married because we saw an amazing serving piece that involved turtles.
Our less than positive experience with this came when Ryan and I had a few frog items
around the house and, though the gift givers were quite thoughtful, we
suddenly found ourselves receiving many more frog items than we ever wanted. Clearly, there are many benefits of having a shtick. The caveat to this is choosing your shtick wisely.