Gigi yearns for all the things she doesn't have, even though we are currently suffocating under a pile of toys that require another room - a secret room we don't have. By the way, if we discover a secret room in this apartment, it's mine. First dibs and I'm older so I win, nana booboo.
But back to her desires and wants.
When we walk to school in the morning, we pass two bars, one barber, one sex shop, three nail salons, and a bike shop. Oh the joys of living in the city. Anyhow, the bike shop is the hardest to pass because about two months ago they placed a teeny tiny pink girls bike with training wheels, completely with tassels on handles.
While those plastic pink and white tassels aren't as sparkly as the satin silver and red tassels displayed in the sex shop windows, these are the ones that catch my daughter's eyes. Which I guess, is a good thing in some ways. ANYHOW...
Each and every day we talk about that bike, and each and every day I pray that some OTHER parent has finally bought that bike so the window display can go back to huge, loaded to the hilt off-road mountain bikes that are not PINK or involve tassels.
It's not that I hate saying "no" to her, because my gawd, I say it about 346 times per day, I figure at that count, I'm getting off easy. But it's just I hate to see the longing in her eyes and the disappointment when I say no, and then her follow-up "but why" discussion kinda makes me want to walk into upcoming traffic (rest assured, I'd leave her at the bike shop before doing so. Let them deal with the pink bike problem they created with their window decorating).
Wait... I'm totally getting lost in this story.
The pink bike in the window is the least of our issues. The real problem is still pink and involves wheels and a whole SUV full of "but why?"
Oh how I wish I could snap an actual photo of this toy but I don't want to be labelled as the neighbourhood weirdo (like I'm not already but denial ain't just a river in Eygpt, it's a way of life) and since the google gods are not cooperating today, please picture the following in pink:
A neighbourhood family who lives across from our favourite hang out park has this in barbie pink for their two daughters and those little girls are allowed to drive it around the paved paths in our park.
Honestly, I have no real objections to them owning such an extravagant toy in the city, save for the fact that each and every time I hear the hum of that car battery and squeal of joy from those girls, I know that our trip to the park is going to turn from fun to .... sad. I mean, why would I care if they own it? I don't have to park the damn thing or recharge the car battery or hell, lift the damn car battery out. I'm sure the ride cost a mint and it's obvious those girls love it. But it's also obvious that they know other kids love it too. Yet I'm getting off topic - again.
Both SB and I have our ears tuned to the pink-suv owner's garage door opener and if we even hear the vroom of the little pink engine, we suddenly make announcements like "there's ice cream in the freezer at home - want to go eat some? because if you do, we must leave NOOOOOW" (all while scooping up all our own toys and child under arm and running in the opposite direction). It's a talent, really it is.
But what kills me about the entire coveting of the tot-sized pink Hummer is how all the children that don't have it, react. All of them. Male and females under the age of ten.
The first time they arrived in the car in my presence, I had no idea what was going on. SB did because I heard him say "oh no" when the whirring of the little engine started. We were playing in the sand pit and next thing I know, all the kids were rising up slowly and facing the same direction with blank stares. It was creepy. And like some cracked playpark of the damned after the homing beacon has gone off, all the kids dropped what they were doing and silently watched as pink car, silent except for the whirr of the battery, drove around the park like some miniature popemobile on parade.
The girls driving in it, strictly sat facing forward, regal in ignoring the minions of the park and the minions, I mean other children watched, only moving their heads to follow it loop the three paths that dissect the small park.
Sand silently slipped out of drooping shovels, bouncy horses wound down from lack of rider movement, and once coveted snacks, remained in caregivers hands - no one scrambling to liberate them from packaging. Nothing mattered when that car was in the park - only the car existed for those who coveted. And trust me, those who coveted, coverted very much thankyouverymuch.
Gigi started to cry softly when it left. "I... I .... I .... want to ride on the caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar". The tears coursed down her cheeks while we explained it belonged to those girls and was not for everyone to use. Minutes passed, we were down at her level trying to explain things to her, but playtime at the park was over. Nothing else mattered but the car. Of course, after we got home and she had run out of variations of "but why?", the car slipped away, only to be resurrected again a few park visits later when our paths crossed again.
Now the car is at the back of my mind each and every time we go to our favourite park. Both SB and I have successfully outrun it's draw on different occasions, getting Gigi out before she set eyes on it and turned all pink-hummer-zombie-like.
I know there are lessons to be learned here, but these are the parenting challenges I find difficult (dur, that's why they are called challenges). The challenges that involve understanding desires and want, versus need and practicality are never freakin' easy. We will never have a tiny pink battery-operated car for Gigi, we never will, but that doesn't make her want it less. Sure, she will forget about it eventually, and that desire will be replaced with something else we cannot provide (or I should say: will not provide).
She will ask for that pony, or a real car, or a pink switchblade emblazoned with rhinestones that spell out her name, but none of those will be hers as long as we control the purse strings. But that doesn't make it any easier to ride out the "but whys", when you've been there yourself.
Childhood wasn't that long ago, and I'm still miffed over things I never had. Her pink car is my Malibu Barbie camper van.
BTW - Dad, I know I was far from deprived but dang, I really wanted that camper van. And a pony. I know, I know, cry me a river, and money doesn't grow on trees.