Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Updatey Like, Confession Flavored

The homework situation has improved somewhat. Satchel has a few things (e.g. taking out the recycling) that he likes to do and doesn't complain about. And I took Sassy's suggestion and let him spell out his achievements phonetically on the homework calendar, which was much faster, and resulted in a sense of satisfaction rather than moaning under the table.

The boys are both still very much into coloring. (See their work here and here. I'm keeping the sets updated.) The latest development is that Jiro is taking Satchel's cast offs (he's a perfectionist, remember?) and turning them into masterpieces of his own. Or sometimes they even purposely collaborate on a picture. It's awesome.

In the above drawing, Satchel did the Lego Batman and Robin and Jiro did the rest. (There is a very long, detailed explanation for everything he drew, which sadly, I cannot remember at this time. His stories continue to be my favorite part of his drawings.)

As far as Target goes, we fell off the wagon a bit. Or I should say I fell off the wagon. Two weeks ago, maybe three, after doing my WKNO testimonial (did anyone ever hear me??), I made a Target run to get a few things. I was all by myself and got completely sucked in. I had three or four things on my list, but spent over an hour in the store looking at...everything. Somewhere along the way, I decided I should buy the kids some toys. I'll make them a Halloween basket...or get a head start on stocking stuffers I rationalized. At checkout, I spent $88 and had two toys, a Star Wars t-shirt, and art supplies for each monkey. By the time I got home, I already regretted buying the extra things.

So, naturally, I hid them and said nothing to Warren (who along with you is hearing this for the first time!). A week later, I needed a few more things from Target, so I returned my impulse buys for the kids, got a $56 refund, bought only the things on my list (which totaled $54), and left.

I felt really good about that for several days. Then on Saturday morning I confessed to Warren that I had an overwhelming desire to take the kids to Target and buy them things. Isn't that insane? It isn't like they are being deprived or anything, but I wanted to get them new toys. I rationalized it this time by telling myself how good they'd been. (Really, they have. They'd pretty much given up on asking to go to Target and had amended their "I wants" to "For Christmas, I want..." or "For my birthday, I want...")

Our Target Rehab project was actually working!

I had hoped Warren would be the voice of reason and talk me through my craving, but I believe he was experiencing Target withdrawal too. At lunch we agreed to take the boys to Target to pick out one, small toy. Naturally the monkeys were elated. Somehow between Midtown and Colonial Road, we added Halloween costume to the list. While in the store, and immediately after, the monkeys defaulted to their previous bratty behavior and pretty much made us immediately regret our lapse.

However, upon reflection, both monkeys have come around and expressed genuine thanks. "I love you more than any toy," Satchel told me recently. I think that Target is a hard place for any kid to display perfect behavior. There are too many temptations. But I also know that as a parent, I should be able to teach my kids some limits. It's hard finding that balance between wanting to give them the world and needing to prepare them for the real one.

At the Mulberry Festival on Sunday, I browsed the student entries in an art contest. The theme was "My favorite place." Among the drawings of "my house," "the park," and other places were several depictions of Target. In fact, there were three drawings of Target and two drawings of Wal-Mart. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. While I would hope that given this assignment, the monkeys might opt to draw the Old Forest or the beach, their school, or our house, I'm afraid that they would indeed choose to draw Target. And I fear that keeping them away from Target only makes it more magical in their minds.


Sassy Molassy said...

Everyone has a relapse once in a while. It sounds like you handled it well and reflected on the whole thing afterward. I think it's ok if it becomes more magical in their minds. That just makes it more of a special treat, like Christmas or birthdays.
Glad my suggestion on the writing helped!

Stephanie said...

I'm impressed that you returned all that stuff! I've already started on stocking stuffers, in the rare instances I make it to Target on my own.

Mrs. Katherine said...

It's 10:00pm, and I just got home from Target. I love it. I'm going to go draw a picture of it right now.

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