Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Giving...as in GIVE ME presents!

So, we have reached a milestone with Nora. Such a sweet milestone too (sarcasm dripping from my fingertips as I type this).

Tonight at dinner we (read-SHE) were talking about her birthday (which is not until February...I mean, geez, I have a birthday before she does and I haven't talked nearly as much about mine as she has hers). Anyway, she started it out by saying, "Mommy, for my birthday, you will make me a Princess sign that says "Happy Birthday Nora" and Daddy, you make me a princess cake with a princess toy sticking out of the top (can't wait to see that one!) and you can both get me a balloon that says, "Happy Birthday Princess".

Then, she started telling us what she wanted for her birthday. "I want the Sleeping Beauty bounce thing" (translated-Target has a bathroom toothbrush organizer that is in the Princess theme and has Sleeping Beauty on it she is attached to a spring which causes her to bounce) and a princess doll to sleep with (translation-Target has a generic princess doll that is soft and she has been dreaming of it ever since she saw it two months ago).

We nodded and said, "Sounds good", mentally calculating that the presents are going to set us back about 15-20 dollars...reasonable.

THEN SHE STARTED TALKING SOME MORE.

"When "so and so" comes to my birthday, I want them to bring me "such and such" present. And when he/she comes to my birthday party I want him/her to bring me "x" present."

Matthew and I looked at each other, flabbergasted. When did our daughter get so present hungry and selfish?

Matthew explained that when we have a birthday it does not mean that people bring us presents, it is a day to celebrate and have a good time with the people we love.

She looked at him and said, "No daddy, having a birthday means getting presents."

Really. Really?

We did the whole talk about how some boys and girls do not have toys and how sad they must be and how she has a WHOLE room full of toys. She is such a lucky little girl.

THEN, we wasted our breath further by telling her that some boys and girls don't even have coats/hats/gloves to wear when it is cold outside. Maybe, we told her, we should just ask all of her friends to bring coats/hats/gloves to her birthday party and give them to the boys and girls that don't have warm clothes.

She looked at us and said, "Ok. They can bring those boys and girls hats and me, presents."

Sigh.

We quit talking at that point, because obviously, we were not getting through.

So, experienced parents, what have you done to squelch the greedy bug?

I realize, she is only 3 (almost four). Doesn't matter to me...let's teach them young.

A part of me (and Matthew) wonders, "What have we not done to already see a giving spirit in her?" I have heard about children (and yours might be one) who, ON THEIR OWN, tell their parents they don't want any presents, they want the poor boys and girls to get them instead. I would like to meet that child's parents and take notes. (And let me say that Nora is generally kind and giving...she will color every single person she knows a picture, she loves to give others gifts, she is concerned about others hurting.)

I'm not suggesting she get ZERO presents for her birthday...we will give her the bouncy thing and the doll. I'm sure her grandparents/aunts/uncles will weigh her down with gifts too. AND if her friends show up at her birthday party with a gift for her, that will be fine as well.

I just want to know what we can do help her see how lucky she is. I told Matthew we should take her on a field trip, of sorts. Let her see how fortunate she is.

Let me hear from you, what age-appropriate suggestions do you have?

6 comments:

Supabloggasuprememama said...

I love how you wrote this. I was rolling with laughter when you said things like "wasted our breath further." We're starting to struggle with that with Aiden, so I'm really going to come back and see what the experienced parents put!

Chad said...

Lawton has been talking about his birthday for a long time now (a month or so). . . and it's in April. On December 23, he was planning his birthday party. I replied - Let's just enjoy Christmas, okay? He isn't as into the presents for his birthday - just the theme, who is coming, what they will play, what TIME it will be, etc. . . The theme changes every three days or so. But, he does already know what he wants next Christmas - a ds he didn't get this year and a football helmet. Sigh. You are not alone. :)

Laura Beth said...

Oops . . . that was me on the last comment. :)

April said...

Well written, Dallas! I, too, plan to come back and read the comments you get from someone who knows how to handle these situations. I would love for our children to have "an attititude of gratitude." We're not there yet. Keep us posted!

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deborah said...

There was an article in the December issue of either Family Fun or Family Circle (sorry I cannot remember which--read it at my parents house) about a "Cure for the Gimmies" and it was SO GREAT! It was essentially a game that was played with kids throughout the year where they learned to find "gifts" around the house for another family member, and then the kids had to practice saying specific things that they liked about the gift they received. It was a little more complex than this, but maybe you could find it online. Anyway, it was a great article.

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