Empowering Tiny Humans

We are entering the enlightening stage of childhood where Cori wants things.  Specific things.  

She has skated through the last 4 years in ignorant bliss.  Commercials advertising the latest trends or sugary snacks that aren’t prepared by mom had not yet phased her.  I knew this day would come and had a couple of thoughts on this…

  1. FINALLY!!  Because Santa has NO idea what to get children that don’t really need anything and we have memberships to all the kid places already… so if she wants some weird $10 stuffed animal, fine.  So be it.  Is it complete trash and a waste of money?  Probably… but it’s a hell of a lot better than the idea that my child will wake up on Christmas morning to things she feels indifferent about. 
  2. She has no concept of cost… I was reminded of this when we visited the Houston Zoo last week.

Granted – she’s 4 and wouldn’t understand the value of the almighty dollar… it’s my job to teach her this, however I wasn’t sure when would be the appropriate time to introduce this lovely life lesson.  One thing I have learned since the birth of these gorgeous tiny humans… is they will let you know what they need, whether they do it consciously or not.  

ANYWAY – we are at the zoo… sweating across each animal habitat, riding the carousel (which was almost a level 10 disaster because although both kids INSISTED they wanted to ride a damn animal… they most definitely did NOT so we rode the lame bench) and petting baby goats, which somehow offended Diem… and finally make it to the gift shop.

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I promised the girls a prize if they acted like decent humans in public.  They each chose a cute little overpriced stuffed animal, even though we have a billion of them at home but that’s beside the point.  We said our goodbyes to our friends, loaded up in the car and just as I’m buckling Cori, she asks how much the animal cost.

I thought this was an odd question however, I felt a little proud of her for even thinking about that at her age!  So, I tell her and … this is the kicker… she responds with

“Oh, well that’s not a lot!”

Umm… yes… $18 for a stuffed elephant is a lot!  How does it differ from any other animal?  Does this somehow duplicate and give birth to live baby elephants?  Does it have a wrinkle serum tucked away under its trunk?!

This morning, like any other, began with 349574 questions before my eyes even had the chance to open.  Well, I take that back, it began with a giant blow-out in Diem’s pull-up (still working on poo training)… and as I’m cleaning her off and trying not to gag over the bathtub… THEN came the questions – as if she didn’t notice me scrubbing shit from every crevice of her sister’s legs.  

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I have learned to tune out most of them, knowing which words to “hear” to avoid more questions or crying… LORD the crying lately – but I hear something about gummy bears.

She wants gummy bears – which she’s never had – because she saw them on a commercial last week and they’re “squishy and colorful”… 

So, here we are.

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I told her if she wants gummy bears (I actually hate gummy bears and think money is better spent on caramel corn) she can earn money by doing chores and next time we go to the store, she can use her money to buy gummy bears.  Her response to THAT was –  

“Yes!  And when I buy them, I will share them with my Diem!”

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She has had the responsibility of feeding Daisy (our dog) for a few months now and takes the job seriously, but now I will put my money where my mouth is… or in her hand. 

From now on, she will learn the value of what goes on in this house. And hey, it’ll take picking up their rooms off my shoulders because, let’s face it, when I started having her feed the dog, it was mostly because I just didn’t want the job myself anymore.  

Win win.

On top of being motivated by her earning of a few quarters – maybe having to clean a room by herself will teach her to not make a giant mess to begin with!  Wishful thinking?  Maybe.  But the most important thing is she feels proud of herself.  (Well – really I just appreciate not having to do all the cleaning, but I’m supposed to focus on her accomplishment over my own – the whole “sacrifice-for-the-children” thing).  

Just, yet another, moment in her life that I am having to allow her to become independent.  That bittersweetness of having children that nobody can ever truly explain.  We spend so much time begging our children to do things to make our lives easier, but when they do we think 

“Wait a minute… I WANT you to need me!”

For now, her fresh feeling of empowerment is at maximum levels!  

Let’s see how many days it lasts… or minutes.