So, several months ago I made a HUGE mommy mistake. Like HUGE, and until yesterday was still feeling terrible about it. What could I have possibly have done that traumatized my child like I did???
Don't judge me... I feel terrible about it, and Dane will probably need counseling over it when he gets older. I kid. But, really this will be one of those moments that he will probably never let me live down. He won't remember all the positive things I have done, all the places we have gone, all the things I have bought him. He will remember this one time when I completely hurt his feelings.
Well, one day while Dane was at school I got this crazy idea to clean out closets, organize and get rid of all things that screamed clutter. I was on a roll, a major high getting rid of all the things that were just taking up space in our house. I walked into the playroom and looked around at the chaos and there it was just screaming at me that it needed to get out of our house. What you ask?? The lego table. Yes, the lego table that Dane had just gotten last Christmas. But, to defend myself Dane NEVER played with it. EVER. It only held the legos in a big huge pile, mind you. All the legos sat in a pile on the table, and every time Dane played with his legos he would take legos from the lego table and use his train table to build his creations. Kevin and I had talked on several occasions about how the lego table really wasn't a good purchase, that Santa didn't think it through very well when he brought it, it was a waste of money yada yada yada. His train table is perfect for building legos, especially since he doesn't really play with the trains anymore. All the tracks have been taken off, and the table is huge, perfect for building everything his heart desires. In all honesty the lego table was pointless, it took up a lot of space in his play room. It was never used other than being a place to collect piles and piles of legos. So, in that moment I really didn't think Dane would care if it was gone. I don't know what I was thinking, but I wasn't thinking Dane would be sad since he didn't use it anyway. I would never do anything to purposely hurt Dane's feelings, and if I would have known how Dane would have reacted I would have NEVER NEVER NEVER done what I did. Yes, that day I sold his lego table. I put it on the Cypress Sell page on facebook, and with in minutes of it being on there it sold. Just like that. And I got pretty much what we paid for it. Yes, I know a terrible terrible terrible decision. The lady that bought it had told me that her daughter and grandson had to unexpectedly move in with her, and they had absolutely nothing so she was trying to collect some toys for the little boy. So, in that moment I felt great about my decision. There was less clutter, I had made more room in the play room, something that was just taking up space and never played with was gone, and the lego table had gone to someone that could really use it.
Well, Dane was devastated. Like hard core crying, and not crying like throwing a tantrum, but crying like someone had ripped out his heart. He was heartbroken that I would actually give his toy to another little boy. I immediately felt terrible, and regretted my decision but there was nothing we could do. We bribed him with some new legos, but that really didn't make it better. He cried that he was sad, and that we should have asked him first, and that he would have said ok. (He wouldn't have said ok, but that's beside the point). He was truly hurt. We told him that there was a little boy that didn't have any toys, and he has lots of toys so we thought he would be ok with giving toys to a little boy that had nothing. He wasn't ok with that, not even in the least. It was horrible. I told him I was sorry over and over and over again, and told him that I had made a big mistake. He would get over it, and then at random times weeks later he would bring it up again. This has gone on for months. We could be laying in his bed at night reading a story, and then he just randomly says that he is still sad about his lego table, that he misses it, that we need to go get his table back etc etc. Just when I would think he was over it he would bring it all up back again. I don't know how many times we have told him the story about the little boy that has no toys, and how there are little kids that don't have any toys, and how we have so many toys to be thankful for. I don't know how many times I have told him that I messed up, I should have asked him first, that I will never do that again, that I'm sorry, that the table is gone we can't get it back etc etc.
So, that happened a few months back, and along with that happening we have just had a couple rough months of Dane being bratty. Basically, just not being grateful or appreciative for anything, always wanting more, never being satisfied with what he has or is given or is very vocal when given something that it isn't right or what he wanted instead of just being excited that he was getting something new. Enough to make us start really questioning our parenting, and feeling like failures. One thing I know is that brattiness is not a cute quality. At all. And I do not want a bratty kid, one who has a sense of entitlement, and just expects to get toys and stuff all the time, and is never thankful. We have found that it is really hard to teach someone to be thankful and appreciate little things. Something we are still trying to figure out how to do.
Basically, every chance we have gotten we have been trying to tell Dane that he needs to be thankful. He needs to be thankful he has a playroom FULL of toys, that he has a Granny, Poppy & a Grandma, a Grandpa & a Gran that takes him to the lego store or to Target or sends him money in the mail. And that there are kids who have no toys, no money in their piggy banks, their families don't buy them stuff, that they may not get new toys at Christmas. It's been rough. He is so literal, and is still young so doesn't fully understand how money works, and how people can be less fortunate than he is, and he hasn't really been receptive to our talks. With us trying to explain this kind of stuff he will make comments like well, if he doesn't have toys then maybe Gran should send him money too. Or, maybe he should get money out of his piggy bank and buy toys. Or, well Santa can bring him his own toys... try explaining to a kid why Santa doesn't bring presents to poor kids. Ha yeah not an easy task. We have really been stressing that there are kids who have no toys, and when he brings up the lego table again and again we have the same conversation that that the little boy has no toys, and his mom and dad have no money to buy him toys. Until yesterday, we really weren't getting through to him. It was like he just wasn't getting it.
Kevin and I have been brain storming ideas how to get him to see that he is really a fortunate kid. We both know he is only 4, and that this will come easier when he is older. But, the brattiness lately has really taken a toll on us. It's disappointing to say the least when you feel like your kid is turning into a spoiled brat, and that you may be the reason he is like this. And for the record Dane isn't a Brat all the time... he is a very sweet kid, But the last few months we have been noticing some bad behavior, so I'm just focusing on that for this post. So, please don't be offended when I call Dane a Brat. He isn't always a brat... really just has bratty tendencies from time to time.
Just a side note... so when Christy was at out house this past weekend we actually had a conversation about this, and I had mentioned that I thought about maybe adopting a kid at Christmas time, so Dane could pick out presents for a kid who wouldn't be getting toys. But, I felt like this wouldn't really impact him because he might just view it like as if we were buying for a birthday party. In his mind it might be like this kid is getting toys, but so am I so no big deal. Then Christy mentioned that she had heard of people making their kids pick out toys from their play room to give away. So, it was their toys they had to part with. But, we both agreed he was probably still a little too young for this. And I even said that there was no way he would give up his toys willingly. We laughed and that was the end of the conversation. Didn't think about it again until yesterday when Dane rocked my world with his new found heart to give. It's weird that we talked about this on Saturday, and then yesterday happened.
Sorry, I know this is getting long but I want to remember how it all played out. So, hopefully I can share with Dane when he is older.
So, yesterday morning we were out running errands. We were in line at Chick fil-a when Dane brings up the lego table. Again. Out of no where. UGH!!!!!!! All I could do was sigh, and launch into my spill for the 100000th time. I was like Dane you seriously need to get over this. It's getting old talking about it. And I told him again how the little boy has no toys and I'm sorry I didn't ask first and yada yada yada. And then the brattiness started to come out, and Dane starts telling me he wants more legos. I told him again, because we have been having this conversation over and over as well that it was almost Christmas time, he wasn't getting any new toys till then, that he has SOOOO many legos already, he needs to be thankful that he has so many legos and toys. He starts whining and just being a well... you guessed it... a BRAT. He told me how he didn't want to wait till Christmas, that he needs new legos now. I was getting pretty frustrated, and annoyed by his behavior. I even told him that I should throw away his legos or give them to a little boy who would be happy to have them. He wasn't happy by that, obviously. So, you get my drift... it was an ugly conversation sitting in that drive through. It made me not want to get him anything for Christmas. I was feeling pretty low that we have failed as parents, that I have a Brat on my hands.
I stayed calm, just frustrated but enforced how there are so many little kids that have no toys. And they have no money, and how we need to start being thankful for what we have. I just didn't feel like I was getting through to him. I probably said my little spill for a good solid 15 minutes. At first he was being all whiney, and then he stopped talking and just listened to me talk. I could see his little mind a working, and taking everything I said in.
We carried on with our errands, and Dane's attitude started turning around. He started showing signs of my sweet little man that I love so much. Our conversations had changed and we were no longer talking about what we had been talking about in the Chick fil-a line. Several hours passed and we were on our way to the post office when out of nowhere he says "Mommy, remember that little boy who has my lego table"?? I seriously wanted to slam my head through the steering wheel. I was thinking SERIOUSLY!!! AGAIN??? I said "Yes, Dane I remember." He said "well, do you think he is sad that he doesn't have any toys?" I said "Yes, he is probably sad he doesn't have many toys, but he probably loves that lego table so much and is so thankful to have that". And then it was like my little man had a light bulb turn on, like he finally got it, or that he finally cared enough to get it. He then said "well, if he doesn't have any toys then maybe I should give him some of my toys. Not my legos. But, maybe some toys that I don't like anymore. Would that make him happy?" Then he continued with "if I give him toys then he would have more toys, not just the lego table and then maybe he would be so happy" Y'all I almost cried. It was the sweetest thing he has ever said, and he was so genuine about it. I told him that I thought that was so sweet, and that it makes me really proud to him hear say that, and that I think that was a great idea etc. He proceeds to tell me that when we get home he was going to pick out some toys for him. Well, I was floored. Like nearly had a heart attack, but so proud at the same time. I felt a sense of relief that maybe he wasn't a BRAT after all, and that maybe FINALLY we were starting to get through to him. I wasn't going to push it though, and wasn't even going to bring it up again. Him just saying that was enough for me. It really made my heart happy.
So, we ran a few more errands, and as we were leaving the hair cut place he mentioned it again that he wanted to go home and pick out some toys for the little boy. I still wasn't planning on pushing it. Let's be honest I did not want another lego table fiasco, and I really didn't think he would actually go through with it. We got home, and I was watching tv when he came downstairs with a handful of toys and put them on our dining room table. He told me he wanted to go bring them to the boy right then. I'm shocked by the way, and asked him if he was sure he wanted to do this, but I was so proud of him. I looked through his toys, and they were all things he doesn't play with anymore. He picked a few things, and he ended up taking back one of the toys, but the others he really wanted the little boy to have.
When Kevin got home from work I told him about our day, and he was just as shocked as I was. We really couldn't believe that Dane had a change of heart, and he was finally showing a little understanding and compassion. Dane wanted to go to the little boy's house, which obviously we can't do. So, Kevin came up with the idea of good will. We explained what it was, and that they would make sure that the little boy got these toys. Well, Dane wanted to go right then. We had to wait till today, so when Kevin got off work Dane immediately reminded him about they toys. They went and Dane proudly gave his box of toys to the man working at Good Will. He told Kevin that he really hopes that the little boy likes his toys, if he doesn't like them he will have to send them back to him. Ha
Then when I got home tonight I was telling Dane how proud I was of him, and that I just knew that the little boy was going to be so happy. He was very excited to tell me about it, and just knew that the little boy was going to be so excited when he sees what is in the box. My heart was full. I feel like this is just a start to showing Dane how we can love on others, and help those that are less fortunate than we are. I know that this isn't the end to Dane having bratty moments, but I hope this is a start of him giving and being compassionate towards others! And I'm really hoping that we can put the lego table mistake to rest. Please Lord!
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