I have had a lot of conversations recently with the boy about how he ought to be thankful for his food, even if it’s not exactly what he wanted. I have tried to get him to imagine that he is one of the boys in the world who is truly starving and how would he feel then if someone gave him some yummy lentil soup to eat for dinner, he insists he still wouldn’t eat it. Thank God my child has never experienced true hunger and therefore can’t imagine it. But it’s frustrating that he is not more thankful for the things that he has.
We have talked about how he ought not to eat all of the raisins that we have left in the cupboard because now there are none to go in granola or banana muffins until mommy can go shopping again. I often allow these things to go un-purchased for a significant length of time, long enough for him to feel some of the pain that he has caused himself.
We also discuss that it is wrong to waste food because that takes away from what other people can have both immediately and figuratively.
His solution to everything of course is that we can go to the store and buy more food. I have explained that this is not as simple as it seems, that if food is wasted to get more is to take away from other things that the money should be spent on, say our foster child in Rwanda, special adventures for him, and sometimes we even get into food rent and clothing. Recently I’ve just been telling him that we have no money to get more right now, he will have to wait. This is true; it’s been a tight month with lots of unexpected expenses. Yesterday he sat near me at the table during lunch and I could see the wheels turning inside his head, “Mommy do we not have money for groceries right now?”
“No, not a lot honey, we have to be careful for a while.”
“Does Beema have money?”
“Yes Beema has some money.”
“Then we should just ask her to give us some then and then we could go and get more raisins.”
When we moved to California we started house hunting, something that that we have lost energy for recently but are still pursuing. Every day almost the Boy asks me when the guys are going to start building our house for us. The answer is always that we won’t be buying a house or building one for a long time yet, because any thing longer than two days from now is a long time for a four year old.
He has decided that we should build our house in the Distance, a pretty little valley near the curvy road we drive on the way to Beema’s house. He thinks this place is called the Distance due to a misunderstanding when his aunt was trying to explain what the word meant one day as we were driving past that spot by pointing out the window and saying see that over there is in the distance.
Yesterday as we were driving out for dinner he started talking about living there and I told we it looked like someone else already lived there and that they weren’t likely to sell it to us for what we’re willing to pay. He decided he would go and talk to them and they would for sure give it to us.
Then he started saying that if they didn’t give it to them he would “wrestle them up” and make them give us our money and let us take their house and when I told them that this would be wrong he said he would get the police to come and take them away because they’re bad people.
I think I’m going to have to rethink this teaching him economy and frugality approach though, it bothers me that my four year old is thinking about how to get money. He hates that his dad has to leave every day and go to work, and the formulaic exchange they have every morning has him asking “Why do you have to go to work dad, I don’t want you to go.”
“Because if I don’t work buddy we don’t have money to pay for things like food and a place to live.”
“Oh okay, bye then.”
I guess it does seem that money would solve all of his problems, what am I going to do?