Monday, August 22, 2011

He said, she said

The following is a true account of part of our weekend.

Caroline: Mom, can I pleeeeease get an iTouch? Do you keep saying no because they’re expensive?

Me: It’s not about the money. It’s about wants versus needs. Really, Caroline, why do you want an iTouch? I know many of your friends have everything they want iTouches, but that’s just not how Daddy and I parent. We don’t just run out and buy you electronic devices because you’re bored on a Saturday. If you constantly compare yourself to other people, you’ll spend your whole life trying to measure up, because someone will always have more than you. It’s a big life lesson, honey, to be satisfied with where you are and what you have. There are children RIGHT NOW who would give anything for those strawberries you didn’t eat at breakfast because you said they were smushy. Do you really understand this, Caroline? Those children aren’t sitting around wondering when the next fancy schmancy toy will drop out of the sky, they’re wondering if they’re going to have enough to EAT.

She just stared at me.

Caroline: Never mind.

She walked into the family room.

Caroline: Daddy? Can I please have an iTouch? Do you and Mommy keep saying no because it’s expensive? Mommy says it’s not about the money.

Whit: It’s totally about the money. Those things cost $400.

Caroline: How about if I earn some of it?

Whit: Great idea. If you can earn $300, I’ll give you the last $100 and you can get an iTouch.

Fist pump.

Caroline: Awesome, Daddy, thank you so much. I love you! That’s great! Thanks for really listening to me. Mommy said no then started talking about smushy strawberries. She just doesn’t understand me like you do. $300! Yeah! I can do this!

She runs off.

Me to Whit: That was evil.

Whit: It was brilliant parenting, babe. She’s pulling weeds for the neighbors...they’re paying five cents a weed. Everyone wins.

Me: Except Caroline, because she couldn’t earn $300 if her life depended on it.

Whit: Eh, it’ll keep her busy until she realizes the futility of it.

Me: You’re diabolical.

Whit: Win/win.

Clearly co-parenting can work (as opposed to the dictatorship I prefer, particularly when I’m the dictator) once you leap past the ethical hurdle of completely screwing with your children.

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