Last week it was a stuffed elephant. The week before that, a princess dress. And now it’s a felt play mat with little animals.
The list of stuff Lily longs for seems to grow on an hourly basis.
Every time we set foot into a store — even the office supply store — she wants something. Target is absolutely off-limits now (thank you dollar spot right by the front door) and even the grocery store gumball machines pose temptation.
And my habit of caving easily (especially on vacation or special occasions or just because it’s Friday) has helped create a little monster. The “but I waaaaant it pleeeeeeease mommeeeeeee” monster.
Despite the fact that this is totally normal behavior for a kid Lily’s age, my tendency to indulge my girls is also to blame.
I’m trying. Really hard. But it goes against every fiber of my being to deny them anything. I want to give them the world. If I could buy Lily every single Lalaloopsy doll that ever existed, I would do it. The pull is powerful. But so is the reality of spoiled kids.
I want grateful children. Hard workers who understand that it’s important to earn your share. And who appreciate gifts and special treats as the exception, not the rule.
Good thing I married a very sensible man who is very good with money. He keeps me honest, and together we’ve developed a little system of chores for Lily to do when she wants to earn money for whatever princess/stuffed animal/dress-up outfit her little heart desires at the moment.
Helping Daddy scrub the car (the whole thing) earned her a buck. Folding a basket of laundry is 50 cents. She also does yard work and dusts and wipes down the bathroom sink. And what a sweet day it will be when she’s big enough to push a vacuum cleaner.
Of course there are things she’s expected to do every day after which the only compensation is a hearty thank you. Stuff like cleaning her room and carrying her dishes to the sink. It’s important that she identifies herself as a valuable contributor to our family.
But we also want to give her an opportunity to earn cash doing extra chores. She’s getting there.
And I’m learning that I HAVE to say no, especially to the dollar-bin junk that has taken over our home and to the things she wants just because (insert friend’s name here) has one. When it becomes clear that she has her heart set on something, like the Cinderella castle she bought with her entire piggy bank last month, we help her earn it.
I hope it’s working. I hope she is starting to understand that whining gets you nothing, that there are more important things in life than *things* and that she is a super special little person, no matter how many dolls or legos she owns.
This is tough work, parenting. Send wine.