One thing I miss since the hockey passion has taken up all our head space around here is the children’s lego. We used to, when Ben was younger, sit on the floor and put together entire lego cities complete with fire stations and houses, construction scenes, and many little vehicles for his mini figures. We built buildings and connected streets leading to the police station. I spent many a Sunday morning, in pjs with my cup of coffee, sorting and playing with him to a point where I considered it my own hobby, too. Then the kids got bigger, the house appeared smaller, and there was less room to spread the lego we built out in the basement rec room. Also the hockey gear needed a place to dry and air out…
Whenever someone mentions wanting to have playdates at our house I feel
sorry for myself
happy (not for me, for the kids)
elated (at the idea of having socially acceptable kids)
upbeat (at the idea of having socially acceptable kids)
incredulous (at how much of the house can turn into a disaster scene in a mere couple of hours)
edgy (at how much of the noise can be interpreted as serious injury to one or all kids making the noise)
relieved (when everyone goes home and I can stick my two in the tub)
For the record, I grew up without a single playdate. I lived in Swizerland on the top floor of a small building and spent almost all of my childhood outside. We wandered around, visited the cows on the field beside the apartment, strolled up and down the quiet street toward the forest, entered the forest and climbed trees or took off our shoes and waded in the creek, visited friends, picked up friends, got locked into sheds by stupid boys, got unlocked out of the shed by friends who were looking for me, picked flowers for ugly women who hated children who made noise, rode other kids’ bikes up and down the sidewalk, skipped and threw sand at each other, exchanged clothes with girlfriends while hiding under the steps so stupid boys wouldn’t see our underwear, and in general, just hung around.
This does not happen now.
And in some ways, a whole entire side of childhood has eternally disappeared.
Sometimes I wonder if WE are breeding them to be this way…
He wanted a special type of candy called Sugus, brought back from Switzerland from my mom. They are candies I enjoyed as a child growing up in Switzerland. We have two bags of them and I consider them something special, to enjoy occasionally.
Today they were in camp. When they came home I told them I had a special surprise ready for them and served them, to their delight, a slice of blueberry cheesecake and some nice warm tea.
5 minutes later Ben wanted a Sugus. I said no.
The ensuing crisis was rather mind boggling. He got so upset, so angry at me, hurling accusations and stomping around, I have to wonder why not having one little candy is worth such drama. What would happen if something more substantial happened? I mean, sheesh…
He wanted to know why I always say no.
Huh? How many times a day do I say yes to their endless requests?
Was that cheesecake surprise not enough? (Stupid question, of course it isn’t. It’s never enough).
Were we not just spoiled for two weeks with incessant Christmas cheer?
This reminds me of the time when my mom returned from Switzerland with goodies and gifts for them. The entire coffee table was covered with all sorts of wonderful and unique things. After they inspected each item, and mom got ready to go home, they had asked me for something (what it was eludes me at the moment) to which I said no. A similar outburst occurred with all the usual you always say no! and you are so mean! cries and complaints. And I thought the same thoughts as I do now.
Are my children spoiled?
Are all middle-class children spoiled?
Is childhood spoiled?
It’s something to remember, and address during a quieter time, to help them understand. There is nothing wrong, in my humble opinion, of describing to them just how fortunate they are. There is nothing wrong with saying no occasionally. I should do it more often, frankly.
Because the over-indulgence is not over – today at the grocery store I saw, side by side on a shelf, Valentine’s Day chocolates and Easter Cream Eggs. On the third day of the new year.