Monday, October 27

want: part 2

Like me, she covets many things.

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.

But I turned out just fine despite being deprived, and so will she.

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.

26 comments:

Kat said...

I hate those dang Power Wheels! There is some punk kid in my neighborhood who has a blue one. He rides it past my house everyday and everyday my dog goes ape shit trying to eat him through the window waking up my little one who is napping. Every. Single. Day.

SciFi Dad said...

One of the families in our neighbourhood has a similar one (I think it's black or navy though) and they actually let their kids ride it ON THE FUCKING STREET.

Damnit. Missing the point.

My daughter has seen it, and while she has expressed an interest in trying it out, she, thankfully, has not become zombie like.

But you paint a haunting image. Almost as haunting as that image of me with clown makeup from last Halloween.

Amelia Sprout said...

The need vs. want vs. whatever is I think by far my least favorite part of parenting, and she hasn't even started asking for stuff, I'm just busy dealing with my in-laws. The worst part, it is a lesson that isn't really learned and valued until they are adults. Talk about some delayed payoff.

Sorry it sucks so much. Makes me dread Christmas and "the battle" over gifts that much more.

ewe are here said...

I truly despise parents who not only buy motorized cars for little tiny kids, but then let them take them out in public, flaunting them in front of all the 'regular' kids.

Because it does just cause grief for all the other parents. And, frankly, those toys are a joke and the last thing I'd want my kids to crave. I mean, why? So they can just sit on their butt and steer all afternoon instead of running around and climbing, jumping,swinging, rolling... you know, engaging in actual physical activity? I just don't think motorized cars are healthy toys for wee ones.

Grrrr.

Mamalooper said...

The battery powered riding car must be THE dumbest toy ever invented. No skill. Can't go fast. Can only do one thing with it. And it's expensive.

Let me take that back - not a dumb invention for the toy manufacturer!

The neighbour boys have one but luckily Monkeygirl hasn't yearned for it yet.

Mary G said...

Someone in our district had a similar car stolen -- as reported in the paper, the car had been left on the lawn and someone (two strong someones?) roared up in a pickup truck, heaved the thing into the back and roared away.

Yeah, it sucks. We had no money at all when the girls were little. Barely grocery money. They did not get 'things' except what doting grandparents provided.
I think the elder daughter was about 11 when I got a full time job and we finally had discretionary money. We were shopping and she was staring, glassy eyed with desire, at a black velour track suit. Totally impractical. Expensive. I bought it for her.

We both still remember that day with delight. That we then reverted to careful spending is the whole point. We knew the 'impulse' buy for what it was.

But it is so, so hard to teach. Even when you know you are right, the kid doesn't need it, shouldn't have it, all that. The look on the little face could shatter a heart of stone.
Hang in there!

Don Mills Diva said...

I had a Barbie Camper Van when I was a kid.

And it was awesome.

Just sayin'.

mamatulip said...

Dave brought home a battery operated digger for Oliver from a garage sale this summer. Twenty bucks, I think, and the kid in Dave, naturally, was all I HAVE TO HAVE THAT. Oliver nearly passed out when Dave unloaded it from his truck.

Those things aren't all they're cracked up to be. The battery needs to charge for seventeen hours to run for like, two. Waste of energy. And the thing goes SLOOOOOOOW.

I must admit, watching Oliver jerk around the back yard in it is pretty funny, and I giggled when it freaked out the dog (I know, I'm a horrible person). But it's more of a pain in the ass than anything else.

Try telling that to Gigi, I know.

No Mother Earth said...

Is the bike super duper expensive? It would make a nice Christmas or birtday present... (of course, being the stellar parent that I am, I would lord over with "if you're good maybe Santa will bring you... for months. Months!)

Personally, I don't think any kid should have a motorized car. And if they do, they should be prepared to share it if they are going to drive it in public places. That would be My Rule. My Rules are Law.

My pink hummer was actually two things: a Lite Brite and an Easy Bake Oven. Why would my parents never buy them? I'm still a bit miffed. And materialistic.

Laura said...

HOLY FUCKING SHIT! We just got new neighbors...and they have the PINK BARBIE CAR!!!!!!!!! My 5 year old thought someone had put it outside to GIVE AWAY...and now we can not ever EVER go out back (not even to take out the garbage) without tears!!!!!!

We move on Friday. THANK GOD!

Immoral Matriarch said...

I have hurt feelings after reading some of the comments dude!

Bella got a Power Wheels Mustang for Christmas the year before last and we're considering getting her an ATV and handing down the Mustang to her sister. Mainly because she wants an AT-Rex, a little 4 wheeler that roars and I fucking love it whenever she wants something that's not 'girly' because I'm trying so hard to break her past those gender barriers my in-laws and her dad have set for her with the pink and the princesses and shit.

I'm questioning myself now. Well, not really - she loves that car and I love that she loves that car. But seriously - is it really that bad?

nonlineargirl said...

I recognize that blank stare of desire in my daughter and other kids when something great appears (just out of reach). How hard it is to explain why THOSE kids can play with the car but others can not.

for a different kind of girl said...

So a couple weeks ago we got new neighbors who moved in next door! Joy of joys, they have a 5 year old son! Yippee! Someone for my 6 year old to play with who won't try to kill him the way some of the older boys on the street do! About a week after they moved in, I went over to introduce myself and my boys while they were outside. As we were chatting, I heard it. The hum. While New Neighbor Lady was chatting, all I could hear in my head was "Crap! Dammit! NOOOO!!!" and then, from around the house tools up New Neighbor Boy ins his power wheels. I looked down at my 6 year old and the look on his face was like he was 14 and just saw his first pair of boobs.

"If it's OK with you, your son can ride the Power Wheels, too, if he wants," NNL said. Before I could even answer, my kid took that bong hit, shoved the needle in his vein, and was calling me from under an overpass in Idaho, asking for money. He was riding his ass off in that thing.

This week in the newspaper comes the Toys R Us Gluttony O' Plastic toy catalog. My kid grabbed it, opened it up to the page with the Power Wheels, tore that page out, slapped it on the counter in front of me, pointed at his drug, and said nothing more than, "That." I could only suggest that he not piss off NNB and we ride that free gravy train as long as possible.

P.S. I had the Malibu Barbie Beach Bus. It was alright, nothing special. Want to know why? Because it wasn't the Malibu Barbie Camper, that's why. Which is odd, since it was really just the camper, only with a blue exterior.

P.S.S. As I read this, I thought, "Please, please, please, I hope she didn't make a joke about the tassles and the sex shop so I can!" So, yeah, dammit! ;)

Cripes. Welcome to my blog. Sorry this was so long!

petite gourmand said...

we were recently at a b-day party for 4 year old on our street and they hired a $500. an hour live Cinderella that works for Disney to entertain the kids.
She was in town for a few days, refueling her pumpkin I guess...
Anywoo- now Lulu wants to have a birthday party just like her little friend.
I guess the $2 cupcake from dominion & an afternoon at riverdale farm won't cut it next year.
damn.
Fortunately we have until april to come up with a distraction plan.
cause, that's soooo not gonna happen.

I never got the camper van either.
totally jipped.

Heather said...

I totally had the camper! My parents lucked out and found it at a garage sale for $3! I KNOW!

I played with it for years! Then my kids and their cousins got a hold of it (my dad let them play with it) and they destroyed it in a matter of weeks.

Now I'm all sad about that again.

Also, my kids have a Power Wheels at their grandparents' house. My dad used to be the repairman for them for this area. Sometimes people would decide not to repair and just leave them at the shop. So my dad would fix them and sell them. But he kept one for his future grandkids.

They do plenty of running around at his house too. They don't just ride in the car. (my daughter is really too big for it now too) They can pull some tricks with that thing too.

mothergoosemouse said...

Be it Power Wheels, a Barbie Camper or an Easy-Bake Oven (my personal white whale of a toy), there's always something that kids want that parents can't get them.

And it never changes, except that now we're parents and we can't buy everything that WE covet either.

Damn. Maybe I'd have a sunnier outlook if my parents had bought me that Easy-Bake Oven.

Mimi said...

I just wanna have a good cry now. The longing, the sadness, the pure want. It kills me. I KNOW we have to say no ... I just don't WANT to, god that FACE, you know?

Mac and Cheese said...

I get it.....it's like those guys who drive their Ferrari's up and down Yorkville! Same deal - less horsepower.

Mayberry said...

Amelia's right--it's a good lesson to learn, but DAMN if it doesn't take about 25 years to sink in!

Shania said...

Silas has a battery powered atv. He rides it around the yard for five minutes and gets it stuck. Then he spends two hours trying to push it around. So I consider it his personal trainer. As for the want thing, he asked for a missile launcher for his eighth bday. Instead of spending the next four years hearing "but whyyyyyy?", I just said sure, no problem.

kittenpie said...

Right before The Bun was born, Pumpkinpie spotted a stuffed dog at Ikea that she wanted. OH, she wanted that thing. She talked about it for days, and when we were planning to go back to Ikea again another day to buy a bed, she would hopefully chime in, "and the dog?" Now a $15 dog, we will go back and buy for christmas, long after she's forgotten it, because that is a pretty reasonable wish, and gratification has been delayed enough for us to feel pretty un-spoil-y about it.

But other things - well, yes, there are plenty of things that she will not have from us. A real dog, for example, which we tell her she may get for herself when she is a grownup living in her own place. Somehow, that seems to work for her.

For me, I have been about my own wish fulfillment a lot. I longed for long hair as a child, and wasn't allowed - totally the reason I grew it to my ass before cutting it short again.

fidget said...

Dude, I had the barbie camper passed down to me. I was the happiest kid on the block until my mother made me pitch it out because it "took up too much space" I was totally bummed b/c I was using that as Barbie and the Rockers tour bus. The band broke up shortly there after and I cant help but think it's all my mother's fault

Kyla said...

KayTar brought me the ToysRus ad yesterday and said, "I want the pink Barbie Jammin Jeep." She's never seen one in person, that will be a terrible, terrible day indeed.

Anissa Mayhew said...

Barbie beach house....never never got it. Still bitter.

"HAI! I like candy. Want some?" <---THAT is me hitting on you!

"Getting in your hive" just sounds dirty ;)

Tracey said...

For what it's worth? I have NEVER FORGOTTEN my lust for the pink riding car. NEVER. I always swore I wouldn't be as mean as my parents obviously were, and my OWN kids would have one FOR SURE.

Um, no. They are dangerous, wasteful toys. Unless you live on acreage (which, we DON'T) they aren't practical. I have seen many children run down on them and the speed with which they can go from safe on the sidewalk to darting in front of a moving vehicle is alarming.

the weirdgirl said...

There was lots of stuff I did not get up growing up because we were, what do you call it?.. oh yeah, poor. I have to say I think I came out OK despite that fact. But I do still long for an easy-bake oven! Hell, if I'd known you could make the same thing with a lightbulb and a shoebox covered in tin foil I would have been happy with that!

That being said my in-laws (damn them!) bought my son the knock off version of the sports car (damn them! damn them!). My whole take on it is if you're gonna have that type of toy... you better damn well share it with the other kids! Period.

I've also started introducing the idea of budgeting to my 3 1/2 year old. Too young?