Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ambiguous parenting and purchasing power

Today I took the little girls to Target.  I had a 20 dollar gift card and I was hoping to find a cute top. Unfortunately, I wasn't impressed with the current styles and didn't even find anything worth trying on. This leads me to believe that my fervent love of thrift store shopping has as much to do with me being 5-10 years behind the fashion curve as it does my love of a good bargain.  It's a match made in heaven.


We were perusing the "dollar bins" (ha! a lot of those things should be labeled "lottsa dollars bins"!) for some non-candy items for the Easter baskets. I found a couple cute things and discreetly held them in my arms so as not to spoil any Easter surprises for Everly and Anna. A few minutes later, Anna comes over with an item that I was already holding in my arms...for her. She begged me for it and I told her "Not today, please go put it back." She hung her head and reshelved it. Then she noticed that I was holding one already and started to pepper me with questions, " Why do you have that?" "Are you buying that?" "Is that for ME?"

I told her to stop asking questions and not talk to me about it again. She wouldn't stop! She couldn't leave it I finally turned to her and (not so kindly) looked her right in the eye and said, "It was for you Easter basket. You've ruined the surprise. Happy?!"

Not my finest moment. I can think of 14 other ways I could have handled the situation that would have been infinitely more compassionate, patient and light-hearted. 

But I didn't. I popped her little bubble and she felt awful about it. And because she is Anna, and because she inherited half her DNA from me, she also got TICKED. So she gave me the silent treatment. She wouldn't respond or make eye contact. 

I apologized for taking the whole thing too seriously....she wrenched away from me and gave an annoyed grunt (it's one of her signature moves).  A few minutes later I gave her a hug and asked if we could talk it out and be friends again. 


So then I got TICKED. 

I marched back to the dollar bins and put back the desired item. She immediately decided that she was ready to work it out. Tears were flowing. And I decided that this is one of those moments I need to see it through. It's time to learn. When someone is apologizing and has asked forgiveness and has humbled themselves enough to come to you to work out a problem....a grunt and a sour look just aren't going to cut it. 

So we left the store without her prize. She cried. I pointed out that her tears weren't over us and the problem we were having. The tears were for the toy. She agreed. She cried all the way home and all the way up to her room. After about an hour, she came down and she was ready to talk. I explained why she lost the toy and tried to help her to see that when someone is asking for forgiveness, we need to forgive. 

She said she understood. I told her that I would be watching for the next couple weeks to see if she could do better when she is resolving fights with her brothers and sisters. She looked thoughtful and for a moment I thought she just might go pick a fight for the sole purpose of working it out and forgiving all with great flair. 

Instead she said, "How much did that toy cost?"

I said "3 dollars".

She said, "I have that much in my allowance. I'll just buy it myself."

Yeah, alright. 

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