“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
The other day I took my daughter out to dinner at Noodle's. As we were leaving the restaurant, she spotted some jumbo-sized chocolate chip cookies for sale next to the registers.
"Mom, can I have one of these for dessert?"
I shook my head. "You don't even like chocolate chip cookies that much." I think she just wanted it because it was there. She pouted and made stompy feet all the way out to the car.
As we were driving home, I said, "How about this? I'll let you run into Express and get a little something." Express is a local gas station. We pulled up at the station and I dug around in my wallet. I had a five and a ten and that was it. I handed her the five.
"Do you want change back?"
"Um, YEAH! And I don't mean that you can spend $4.99 and bring me one penny."
She strapped herself into her booster seat and opened her ice cream bar. "All of the ice creams were really low," she said. At first I thought she meant low as in quantity, like maybe the gas station was running out of ice cream and that she'd been lucky to score the one she got.
"Low?" I asked.
"Yeah, only two dollars!" To me, this didn't seem like that much of a bargain, but what do I know? What I do know is that I haven't had much luck teaching my daughter the value of money.
"I'll add it to your tab," I said. I should've just bought the damn cookie from the start.
Fast forward to this afternoon. First off, it's worth mentioning that I took the kid to Chuck E. Cheese's to play games last night. Then I took her to the mall and bought her a pretzel from Auntie Anne's. Then I took her to Crazy 8 and bought her an outfit she desperately wanted. The ensemble included these shoes:
Today, in my infinite generosity, I took her to see the new Muppet movie and even let her upgrade the "Kiddie Combo" with an ICEE instead of a regular drink.
Just now she came to me and asked if she could buy a game for her iPad. It's $3.99. She already has dozens of games on her iPad. Plus, she has countless Christmas gifts (mostly craft projects still in their boxes) that she hasn't touched. I thought about it for all of two seconds. "No. No game."
She begged and pleaded and raided her piggy bank to gather the $3.99. However, I didn't want her money - I just felt like I should draw the line somewhere or I will end up with a spoiled brat on my hands. I've created a curly-haired monster. She kept blathering on about her need for this game so finally I said, "Okay, you do two chores and you can buy the game."
Tears sprang to her eyes like this was the worst news she'd ever heard. "CHORES!?"
I asked her to mop the kitchen and bathroom floors. She came back within 90 seconds. Now I know why my mom used to say things like, "Boy, you girls just don't do anything unless you can do it half-assed, do you? Is that your motto? 'I do everything half-assed'?"
Finally I told her that we were done talking about the game for today. She threw herself on the floor and wailed. I took a picture but she made me promise I wouldn't post it anywhere. I could post it and swear everyone to secrecy, but I'm not sure I can trust you people. Anyway, I'm holding firm on the "no game" stance for today. Tomorrow, I'll have to investigate new and innovative ways that I can ruin her life.