Kids can be real jerks. Any parent knows that. Do y’all remember last Xmas when Stella acted like an ungrateful so-and-so ? Since then, I’ve made a real effort to talk to her about gratitude, and to help her recognize that while we’re not wealthy, we are ok, and that’s better than so many others. After threatening that Santa would not only not come back to her house if he heard her act the way she was acting, I informed her that he would take back what he had given.
Over this spring and summer, we’ve discussed homelessness a lot. On a couple of occasions – when the mother bear in me felt it was safe – we have purchased food and supplies for homeless people outside of stores and given it to them. She’s asked questions – good ones. Why don’t they have a place to live, food to eat? Why don’t they have a job or clean clothes? Why did we buy a sandwich, chips, and drink for that man, but not give money to that man on the corner holding up a sign (and appearing intoxicated, in my opinion)?
I thought we had made some progress. Then Crispi came to town and the subject of last Xmas somehow came up. Do you know that little ingrate is still complaining about that? About how she “only got one thing on her list that she wanted?” Y’all, I almost lost it. Clearly I have more work to do, and I have no idea how to do that.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about that. This year, Stella WILL help me pick a name off an angel tree and we will go shopping for that kid – NOT for her. Santa is not going to be as generous. He may even leave a note about overhearing nasty comments. What makes it worse is that it’s just stuff, dammit, plastic stuff that she doesn’t even play with. For her, it’s the just act of receiving the stuff that matters.
From now on, we will be experience-driven. I’m not even sure if I want to do a birthday party this year for her. Maybe we’ll just have a weekend of experiences: go-karts, Chuck E. Cheese, the zoo. For Xmas if people ask what she wants, I’m going to suggest more active things: play dates, coupons to go berry-picking, a trip to the mall to ride the carousel a few times. Felix can do the same thing. He makes his own toys, after all, but putting together random bits he acquires through day-to-day life.
I don’t think I’ve spoiled my children. But clearly an important part of a critical message has been missed by my eldest. Anyone else have any trouble with this?