As parents, we have a lot of tough lessons to learn (and teach). Anyone who’s been doing it for a while will know all about mama guilt, the times we have to make tough choices, deliver tough love, basically, be “the parent”.
A few weeks ago I asked S what he wanted for Christmas. His list included things like a marble run (check!), Lego (check!), a Peppa Pig blue camper van (just like his friend Naavi’s, including the BBQ), a Minion (thanks Milana), an Elsa doll and an Anna doll. About a week later we were in Debenhams on Oxford Street and he spotted a Ben & Holly delivery truck. He insisted he wanted it, I told him I’d speak to Father Christmas and he then said “Mama, I don’t want the Blue Camper Van, I want this truck. You can tell Father Christmas not to bring me the camper van, I ONLY want this truck.” I finally gave in and agreed to buying him the truck.
But of course, as any parent will guess, a few days later he brought up the camper van again. He said he didn’t want the delivery truck anymore, that I should give it back and instead he wanted his camper van (ONLY the blue one mama!) I found myself at a bit of a cross roads. My mind screamed “He’s 3 1/2, you only have one child, just buy him the damn camper van as well!” But the other part of me felt like he needs to learn the art of negotiation and he also needs to realise that his choices have consequences. And I don’t think he’s too young to understand that. However, he’s my baby boy and he only ever talks about that camper van so I needed to find a way to give it to him, but make him believe he got it himself (heaven forbid he thinks I/Santa don’t stick to their word!!!).
So I introduced a money box. He swiftly emptied the contents of my “supermarket bowl” (the small change bowl we keep in the kitchen for when we need to dart to the co-op to pick up milk, bread, eggs, etc.) and after that I agreed to give him a coin each day if he finished his food and for general good and kind behaviour.
I ordered the camper van and it’s arrived! I’m on the verge of giving it to him, he thinks he’s worked for it, it’s all he’s been talking about. But I have realised a few things. I’ve been “bribing” him with it, something I never thought I’d do. I bring up the camper van and “the man” who’s going to deliver it in a lot of conversations. And I’ve come to realise, kids are smart cookies. They know they’re going to get what they want. In fact maybe he’s been playing me all along, rather than the other way around.
Hmm… S – 1 mama – 0