The other day at , I had a breakthrough with my son. He saw a young girl across the parking lot with the biggest teddy bear I have ever seen save the street window of FAO Schwartz. The thing was larger than the small blond girl carrying it and suddenly, my 5-year-old son was overcome with a severe case of the gimmies.
Now, we don't watch a lot of commercial TV in our home. Don't get me wrong here, we watch a TON of TV and play video games and all that other brain-sucking nonesense, but we rarely watch commercials. In large part, this has reduced the number of requests for toy and sugar cereals and oddly, a request that we switch to Progressive (because the pretty lady has a store we can go to). We still, however, face the gimmies, as does every other parent. Nate covets our neighbor's trampoline, his friend's little and big brother (good luck with that one pal!) and, of course, the giant bear bobbing through the parking lot.
I get it. I'm that girl who can barely keep her seat at the restaurant when food goes by for another table. "What is THAT?!?" I beg of my table and the waitstaff, wondering if I ordered the wrong thing. Given my own gimmie admission, and a spare 1/2 hour we had that day, we chased down that almost true-to-size bear.
Instead of just stating flat out that we are NOT going home with that bear, I tried to match my son's excitement. "Holy Cow, dude. That's the biggest bear I've ever seen!" was my response. For once, we ditched my carefully mapped out list and went straight to the toy/outdoor section to go bear hunting. I feigned exasperation when we couldn't find it, told him to keep his eye out for the elusive brown bear and was overjoyed when he asked an employee for guidance. Thankfully the employee was gracious enough to lead us on our hunt. The bear was found, including the $29.99 price tag. Not too expensive for a 4'5'' bear, but I didn't want to go home with another stuffed animal.
Obviously, the only thing on my son's mind was whether he would choose the blond bear or the black bear. He was getting that bear. I decided to pull out the "want or need" card. You know the one, right? The "I know you want the bear, but I don't think you need it." It so rarely works. Children think they will cease to breathe if they can't have the latest "whatever" just as I can't help but ponder passing desserts while I'm nibbling on appetizers. This time, though, it did work. He remembered that we had to make room for his new air hockey table and that we had just purged a ton of his baby items to make way for all his big boy stuff. He took a picture of the bear on my phone and we walked away to do our shopping.
So many times, I mindlessly throw things in my cart (and my life) thinking I need them, when the truth is, I don't even want them. Recently, I did a massive clean-out of our home, tossing things we've built up in our 15 years of marriage and five years of parenthood, held a free garage sale (people were so skeptical as to why I was giving things away for free), and called the Big Blue Truck for the rest.
I'm surprised just how many things were and are in my life that I think I needed and even more that I thought I wanted. I like showing my son that you can be just as happy with the things you have that you truly do need, like trampolines and decent car insurance.