All Creatures Ingrate and Small

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?

See? Experiences. Like a beautiful makeover.



About larva225

Working mom. Is there any other kind? Geologist. Nerd.
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5 Responses to All Creatures Ingrate and Small

  1. joey says:

    No, we haven’t. But we did spend a year in an unfortunate way and there have been hard times since. I have intentionally kept birthdays meager in the gift department, cause that’s how I was raised (in privilege.) My family was bigger on experiences, as we are.
    At Yule, I do the “something I want, something I need, something to wear and something to read” or whatever that is. It’s been great, too. One of my girlfriends has five kids and huge family on both sides and she tells her children, “Three gifts were enough for Jesus.” They get so much otherwise, it’s too much. Filling her house all up :/ Much purging. Too much work.
    Once the kids were all in school, I started asking our parents etc to buy games, puzzles, music, movies for all of us combined, instead of individual gifts over the holidays. It worked out really well.
    Your generosity of spirit will influence her. You’re doin it right.

  2. siobhan says:

    Allllll the time. My husband and I made the (stupid) mistake of offering our 3 1/2 year old a matchbox at the market; in lieu of candy, for good behavior.
    Now? He’s a nightmare to go to the market with at 5. (Getting a bit better, most days).
    We did the matchbox instead of candy because before he was diagnosed with ADHD, we thought it was a hyperactivity due to sugar.
    Sending hugs your way. I have no idea how to change it….

    • larva225 says:

      I think we just all have to keep chipping away at it! Let’s all hang in there together and thank the heavens or whatever that we have places like this to talk to each other!! 💜💜

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