Sunday, October 5, 2008

Can't always get what you want

When Meg was little, I would periodically buy her things when we were out shopping. Not big things, but a small toy or a box of animal crackers, or some new clothes. While I wasn't careful with what I spent, I never went overboard. After all, how much could one small child need.

When Drew came along, he was the recipient of all of Meg's old toys that she had outgrown. She had Barbies, Polly Pockets and other toys to keep her occupied, so Drew received a plethora of toys that were new to him. Oh sure, he got a few new things here and there, but mostly for birthdays or Christmas. With two kids, and a large collection of toys, it seemed silly to get more things. After all, how much could two kids really need.

Annie and Izzie get the shaft. Luckily, they are young enough not to care a bit about what they have to play with, as long as they have something. It's not upsetting to me not to buy them new things, because holy cow do we have enough plastic toys and stuffed animals to fill a cargo plane. Every so often I cart a bunch of the toys that they no longer use to the basement, but my living room is still overflowing. Really, they have plenty.

I say all this because for Christmas last year, Drew asked Santa for a big boy bike. Santa was happy to oblige, but because we live in the north country (and if you've read me long enough, you know we got over 100 inches of snow last winter), the present had to wait for more favorable riding conditions. Today Santa finally got Drew his big boy bike. It's a Spiderman bike, with training wheels, and he loves it. I couldn't be happier for him, since Doug accidentally ran over his tricycle and he was riding Meg's old two wheeler with training wheels, and pastel ribbons and a white basket.

Meg was beside herself that Drew was getting something and she wasn't. She had a full on temper tantrum, complete with throwing her shoes and screeching at the top of her lungs. It was charming to watch. She has a wonderful new bike, without training wheels, that she refuses to learn to ride. She has had this bike for a year and a half and has ridden it maybe a dozen times. I reminded her of that, and also reminded her that starting Friday night, she'll be playing hockey for 6 months (at a significant cost) while Drew will be home with me. There was no reasoning with her. All she saw was the unfairness of it, even though Drew's bike was actually a belated Christmas present. I finally just told her that she can't always get what she wants, and that she essentially needed to stop acting like a spoiled brat. When that didn't work, I just came in the house and ignored her for awhile. She finally got over herself.

If someone can tell me when kids will stop being so self centered and actually look around and listen to what we're saying, I'd love to hear it. Of course I'm sure that all my little purchases for her over the years have completely set her up to be a spoiled little girl, so I blame myself for it all. But still, it wasn't about her and it made me disappointed that she couldn't see past the end of her nose and be happy for Drew.


creative kerfuffle said...

yeah for drew's spidey bike : ) though i just have the 2, they also are spoiled and have way more toys than they know what to do w/. i cringe at the thought of more toys coming into the house w/ christmas, but i can't very well NOT get them anything. right?

AndreAnna said...

I was just out shopping today and couldnt stop myself from buying stuff for my kids. But I want to teach her that she has to earn her stuff and the value of money. I worry I'm totally screwing that up coming home with presents all the time.

I mean, she needed the stuff I bought today - pants, shoes, an outfit for Sawyer's christening, but she doesn't know that. She loves clothes and thinks she hit the jackpot when I came home.


I really really don't want to raise a spoiled kid either so if you learn the secret, let me know.

Astarte said...

Oy vey. She'll get over herself one of these days. It sucks when the kids act like that, though. I hate seeing my kids act selfishly. Luckily, they rarely do it anymore. Phew.

Stop being so hard on yourself, BTW. Having as many small kids as you do would be hard on ANYONE, and the fact that you care enough to stress out about it says that you're a good mom, whether you think so or not.

Karly said...

Don't be so hard on yourself, you didn't set her up for that. Any little kid is going to want a new toy when they see their sibling get one!

CassJustCurious said...

I am just so grateful that Lexi gets a kick out of sticking her fist in her mouth - I think I will go marinate in that for a while and ignore the impending spoil worries because OH BOY she is already spoiled...even if it is just a fist.

Thia said...

Karly is right. It isn't the little things you've bought her, it's that she's a kid. Hugs!