Tuesday, June 3, 2008

moving forward

You know what's cool? It's cool, it's totally sweet, when your traditionally-minded husband quotes John Holt during a conversation on possessions and children. See, today I received this Daily Groove through my inbox, and it resonated with me because I happened to be halfway there on my own. My old laptop, Snow White, suddenly went kerplooey right before Dan's last trip out of town. It was the second time Snow White had had a heat failure; the first happened while she was under warranty. This time, we decided the best course of action was a new computer. So, off to the Apple store we dashed, and the girls were so excited when I asked them for help naming the new computer. They decided on Chewbone, since it was also a white computer, and roughly the color of a rawhide chewbone. (Chewbone, welcome to the family. Now, get to work.)

Well, the girls have recently been clamoring to visit Build-A-Bear. Emma wants about a dozen different stuffed animals. They want these foamy water-gun things for using in the pool. Penny wants us to upgrade to a paid Pirates account. They both want more Captain Underpants books, and more Magic Treehouse books. And books about Pirates. And books about Rabbits. Emma wants to build another -- a better -- kite, one that will actually fly. (You get the idea.)

So, because of Chewbone, we had to have one of those mostly one-way discussions today -- I tried desperately to get across the idea that we have to cut back on the Wanty-spending for a while. As I began to explain that Mommy Got A New Computer, a few things occurred to me. (1) I was essentially telling them that I was allowed to have this very expensive thing and that as a result they were not allowed to have any of the little, less expensive things that they wanted for a few months (which of course can seem like forever to a 5-year-old). (2) It really wasn't my computer, anyway -- both the computers in this house are shared by us all, and although I am the primary adult who uses Chewbone, both girls know they are allowed to use it pretty much whenever they want. So, I shifted my perception right there -- it wasn't MY computer, it was OUR computer. Mommy didn't get a new computer -- We did.

And so, the girls both accepted that other Wanty spending would have to cut back, but that they would still get some Wants. Just not Everything they Want. So, the girls wandered off to get ready for bed; Dan read them a few more chapters from Captain Underpants. They chatted for a while, until they were too tired to stay awake. I sat down to check my email, saw the Daily Groove, and shared it with Dan. Who chimed in with John Holt.

And I thought he hadn't been paying attention.

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