21 July 2008

The Monster I've Created

Hmmmm....parenting dilemma #125: Equal treatment of all children.

This morning, Brent took Spencer and Kirby to the Y for basketball camp. This was from 8:30-Noon. That left Elliot and I to run errands.

Now...we've been trying to potty-train Elliot. So, everytime he uses the toilet by himself, he gets a sticker on his chart. When the chart is full, he gets a treat. The chart has about twenty spots on it, and if he pees in his underwear, I cross out a sticker and he needs to make up for it. Anyway, it's been a big deal, and he's had his eye on a Go, Diego, Go backpack at Walmart.

Which we finally got to get for him today! Yay Elliot! Potty Prince!

Back to the story. When I picked the kids up, Spencer told me how he had trouble keeping his shoes on during play. They're the zip-up kind, and they actually functioned as his gym shoes during the last year. Needless to say, between gym class and regular wear this summer, they're pretty shot. So, we went to the shoe store to buy new shoes for him.

Guess who's upset because she gets nothing special??? Kirby. Elliot got the backpack and Spencer gets new shoes. She didn't talk to me all through lunch and had tears in her eyes whenever she'd look at me.

My first reaction was to tell her: Look, sometimes you get things and the boys don't. That's how it goes sometimes. What I snippily wanted to add, but didn't was: Sometimes you're more special on some days than others. Get over it. But then, I started to feel bad for her - WTF??

After I said my above piece, I went ahead and ignored the silent tantrum, and eventually she did get over it, but it got me thinking. Have I been so worried about making sure my kids all get the same stuff, that now they expect things when they don't need or deserve it? Christmas is a good example. In the past, we've always tried to spend the same amount of $$$ on the kids. Well, the older they've gotten, the trickier that's become. But, they're still young enough to raise a fuss when one child has more presents than the other...so we buy a couple of "filler" presents for the child who's got the least to alleviate the problem. Soon, the belief prevailed that if "she got something at Walmart, I should get something too." Yuck. I'm raising greedy little yard gnomes!