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Archive for November, 2007

Parenting is hard – II

How do you teach kids the value of money, without always having to discuss money and in the process, coming across as money-minded?

This has happened a few times with A and an episode over the Thanksgiving weekend leads me to write this. PK has been looking for a LCD TV and he was going to stores/looking online a lot on Friday. At one point, A also got all excited about the TV. But the fact was we hadn’t bought one and towards evening he expressed complete frustration – almost as if “What is all the fuss about? why can’t you just pick one up?”. We were thinking more like, if we find a good deal we’ll buy one. So, when he acted up I tried to tell him in calm words what that much amount of money meant and since we don’t have an unlimited supply, it was all about choices of how we wanted to spend what we have. But I don’t think he still gets it.

After Halloween, I dropped off a huge bag of candy at this school’s candy drive. He asked what it meant and I explained. Then and one other occasion (someone approached us in a parking lot asking for cash to ride the train), I told him how we should be thankful for all the God has given us – a house to stay, plenty of food, clothes, toys etc … Then, at school last week, they had a discussion on Thanksgiving and did a round table with the kids, each saying what they were thankful for. I asked A what he had said and he goes “for having enough money”. I guess his teacher must think that he has very money-minded parents!

I don’t want to scare him with all the hardships in the world, but at the same time I don’t want him to think that we can afford anything, anytime (because we can’t!). In the summer, a teenager came by our door raising money for his local basketball team. He asked for $160 donation and said that in return he would pressure wash our windows. We thought why not help out a neighborhood kid and agreed. He left his number and said he lived on the next street and we should call him to setup a time for the washing. Few days later, the check had been cashed. PK tried calling that number several times and no one would answer. He drove around looking for the house number he had given and didn’t find such a number on that street. Obviously, we had been ripped, right at our door. PK and I were angrily discussing this and A asked what happened. I explained as calmly as I could what the boy had done. A thought for a minute and said, “That is ok, right? Anyway, we have more money”.

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Good bye to the changing table

Our bedroom is looking very empty today. We just threw away the changing table which had been there for 2 yrs and 2 months now. That table had served almost 2.5 yrs for A and then more than 2 yrs for S. The wipe warmer is gone. The genie is still there since we are using diapers at night time. At night, its a hit or miss and I’m no mood to wash bedding several times a week. My little doll has grown big. These milestones are bitter sweet.

She has been talking so much these last few months. She speaks whole sentences and surprises us with new words everyday. I feel confident that her vocabulary growth is the result of being in day care. She sings so many nursery rhymes and songs with all sorts of actions, its so cute!! And she enjoys pretend play so much – with dolls and other stuffed toys. A never did any pretend play and didn’t have a fascination for the stuffed toys, so it is fun for us to watch her do these things.

No plans for the upcoming long weekend. Just feel like vegging out at home, but we made plans to visit a friend for a day and have a few other friends over on another day. That should leave us just the regular weekend for chores and errands.

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Gifts dilemma

We have been invited to a birthday party this weekend with a very explicit request – “no gifts”. The same family had invited us to another party (a baby shower) earlier this year with the same rule and out of respect for them, I obliged. Not wanting to go empty handed, we took a bouquet of flowers. At the party, although I didn’t notice, PK said that he saw some gifts in a room. Now I feel awkward that we didn’t bring a gift.

This time around its for a toddler party. I absolutely admire the “no-gifts” rule. By the same token, they should also stick to the “no party favors”. My house is full of those plastic goodies lying all around and I’m tired of trashing them away after the kids sleep. (I also have to tie up the trash right away, else they’ll see it sooner or later and have a melt down). In general, kids birthday parties have become overblown. I read that it has now become widespread in India too.

I didn’t have parties for my kids when they were that young and now A is 6 and it is hard to enforce it because he feels upset that all the other kids get gifts at their party. That is why I toy with the “no party” idea, but that is hard to enforce also since an expectation is set at school. I may not be able to solve all these problems but I need to decide soon what to do for this weekend’s party though.

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