Gratitude (or lack thereof)

“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.”
― Epicurus

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."

A few moments later, she hopped back in the van, waving an Oreo ice cream bar around. "Here's your change, Mom!" She dropped three ones and a penny into my hand.

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:

We'll see if she can walk in them this summer (but on a brighter note, maybe these shoes will guarantee that she's finally tall enough to ride the rollercoasters!)

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.


Sam said…
You're such a good mom. :-) I love your kind and balanced approach.

And those shoes are adorable! :-)
The Lovely One said…

I make Bug wash the dishes and hang/fold/put away her clean clothes after I've washed them. Once in awhile I'll make her clean the shower or dust the living room. In return, I give her $8 a week (her age). But the problem i'm running in to is that there isn't anything she really needs to buy in life. I told her that she needs to start buying the gifts for all the thousands of birthday parties she's invited to, but I'm pretty sure she would just buy the birthday kid a bag of m&m's and call it a day!

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