Tomorrow is D's first day of preschool! He is growing up so quickly. Today, as a special treat, I took him to the local variety store in town and told him he could choose whichever back pack he wanted. We both were having so much fun. He had his own little cart to push around, he "tried on" several back packs (to see if they fit right) and finally chose the perfect one.
Iron Man won out over Cars and Transformers! On our way to the cash register, I was watching him drive his little cart and thought to myself "he is such a good boy... I should take him to a special lunch after this." As I thought this, he passed by a wooden train set.
d: "I want this!!"
me: "no, put it back, we're just buying the back pack"
We get up to the counter, and he sees a flashlight.
d: "Please mom, I REALLY need this flashlight."
Now, the flashlight was only 2 dollars, but as a matter of principle, I felt it necessary to say no. He can't get everything he wants, though he is probably more used to hearing yes than no....
With people milling about the store, in a small town, of course we had some friends in the store, and probably will run into the cashier twenty times this year.... D begins to have a meltdown, crying, begging for the flashlight. He promises to pay me back (hah!) He says he'll put the back pack away so he can buy this flashlight.
I REALLY wanted to give in. I was embarrassed. We were already standing at the counter with a back pack, with my credit card, with my camera memory card full of pictures of him trying on the back packs. The cashier was watching us, my friend with her four *well behaved* children were in the next aisle, and here my 3 year old son is, complaining that I'm not buying him enough presents!
Instead, in someone else's calm voice, I told him we weren't getting anything. Now, he had to put the back pack away, put the flash light away, and we were leaving the store.
I sound cliche, but this experience was harder on me than it was on D. Sure, he cried, was sad the whole ride home, but I was so mad that I could feel sweat beads breaking out on my forehead! I was humiliated in the store, and I REALLY wanted him to buy the back pack! He needs one for school tomorrow, and it was on sale!
When we got home, D had calmed down and wanted to talk it over, which we did. He apologized to me, and said he wasn't being nice to complain about his surprise.
I see what a blessing the breakdown really was now. How many opportunities do we have to really teach our children about gratefulness, thankfulness, being appreciative?
We are so blessed in my home. We have all of the comforts and luxuries that being a middle class family in America affords. We have ample toys, food, clothing, educational opportunities that we all take for granted daily... but for my boy, today, he is one step closer to the man I hope to raise up.