6/15/2005

Saying No to Sharkboy

I fear I am spoiling my child. Yesterday, we went to McDonald's (yes, I've seen SuperSize me, yes, I understand how incredibly gross this food is, but we never eat the fries, I get the Apple Dippers and milk with the Happy Meal, and I personally only eat a junior hamburger, which is the FDA recommended portion of red meat, so get off my back already!)and he got the new toy of the month, "Shark Boy", from some silly sounding movie "Shark Boy and Lava Girl." Jacob knows nothing about this movie, but hey, he got a new action figure, so he was thrilled. Shark Boy and Spiderman had a great time attacking each other in Jacob's car seat. Later that day, we went to a museum downtown with some visiting family members. Jacob was way overtired, seriously needed a nap, and was being downright bratty to his cousins. He was still holding fast to SharkBoy, but when he was looking at one exhibit, he dropped SharkBoy, then left him, forgotten, on the floor. I saw him drop the toy, thought, "There will be hell to pay if we lose that stupid thing," and was promptly distracted and didn't pick it up. We wandered to another exhibit, and I remembered the forgotten toy. I asked Jacob if he had it, and he checked his pockets, then held out his empty hands and shrugged. "Where is it, Momma? I need my Shark Boy." We quickly went back to the previous exhibit, and I asked the docent if anybody had turned in an action figure. A woman standing nearby said, "Oh, I saw that toy on the floor, and a little boy picked it up. Oh, it belongs to you? Sorry, I thought it belonged to the boy who picked it up." Jacob heard this, and let loose a terrific howl, complete with head thrown-back and hot tears streaming down his red face. "I NEEEHEEED my SHAAARK BOY! Who is that boy who took it? I don't know his NAAHHAAME! I can't find him!" and on and on and on. Finally, I said, "Tomorrow we'll go back to McDonalds and get another one, ok?" That calmed him down for about two minutes, until, of course, his cousins did some heinous thing like looking at a rock that made him flip his lid, and he finally fell asleep, exhausted, in the car on the way home. Shark Boy seemed like an insignificant and forgotten matter. Then this morning, almost the first words out of his mouth when he came padding into our room were, "When are we going to McDonald's to get my new Shark Boy, Mommy?" I figured I had to keep my promise, and we went back to McDonald's for the second time in 2 days, and I requested the Shark Boy toy in the Happy Meal. Jacob has not let this toy out of his sight since he ripped it out of that little cardboard box. He is currently killing bad guys with Shark Boy, using our small hand broom as his weapon of choice. But I am wondering if I did the right thing here. After all, it's not like some other kid stole it and ran, or a car ran over it, or something like that. Jacob simply lost it. I could have picked it up at the museum, but technically it was his fault he let it drop and left it for another excited kid to pick up. At what point do you stop replacing toys and start letting the kids learn the lesson of keeping track of their own stuff? At what point do you say "No" to Shark Boy? I did tell Jacob that this was the last time we were going to get a Shark Boy--if he lost this one, it would be gone, that would be it. He seemed to understand, which is possibly why he hasn't let go of the silly toy all morning. Still, giving him a 1 time freebie might still be too much. Any thoughts on how to avoid raising a son who is a complete and total spoiled brat?

11 Comments:

Blogger Kitti said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. I think what you did was fine and now Jacob knows -there will be no more Sharkboy replacements.

6/15/2005 03:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Geoff J said...

I saw the movie yesterday with my young'uns. They liked it but I find that 3-d movies are quite annoying and literaly nauseating. I felt like ralphing by the time the thing ended...

6/15/2005 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. M said...

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6/15/2005 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. M said...

Heather, I think you were right to keep your word and replace his toy. Yesterday my 2 year old threw something on the floor in a rage. It landed in part of the house that was gated off. When I calmly refused to return it to him, the tantrum began. Continuous shrieking and crying and begging. I had wanted to hold out and not give it to him at all, but after 15 minutes, I just wanted him to stop screaming. I did pick it up and give it back to him.

I don't think that 2 1/2 is too young to learn about consequences and that's what I was trying to teach. I wondered, though, if my boy was learning anything. Would he have to scream for an hour before he learned the lesson or was 15 minutes long enough? Would 1 minute be long enough? (I don't think so.) There must be a better way.

6/15/2005 05:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

How old is Jacob?

I think you did the right thing, mainly because you realized it was probably going to be lost, but didn't do anything yourself to prevent it from happening.

I don't think it's fair to punish kids for some things that aren't spelled out beforehand. He knows now that if he loses it, he doesn't get another. If he loses it, then don't get him another. You're set.

I want to see that movie, BTW.

6/15/2005 07:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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6/15/2005 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Read "Parenting with Love and Logic" -- can't remember who it's by.

My experience like this had to do with my oldest, when she was 3, leaving her precious sparkly star ring that we had just picked up at the Air and Space Museum on the Metro. I had told her not to take it off, she did anyway, and when we got out she realized it was still on the train and let loose. Me, being a guilt-ridden mom of a first child, went back, begged the station attendant to let me back on the train and thankfully recovered it.

You do need to spell things out ahead of time. This is yours, you need to watch it. If you loose it, then it's gone. Three is old enough to learn to be responsible for something like a toy.

Read the book. It's got some helpful tips.

6/16/2005 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Melissa-

I have heard of that book. My social worker SIL raves about it. I'll have to check it out. My favorite parenting book is called "Between Parent and Child", and it totally changed how I parent. I'll check out the Love and Logic one, though.

I'm impressed that you recovered a toy from the Metro. That's pretty tough to do!

6/16/2005 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger Ana said...

Just have to second the motion for Parenting with Love and Logic. The authors of the book are Foster Cline and Jim Fay. We took a Love & Logic course through the school district at the end of the awful, bad winter (2yo + infant + ear infections galore!) It was a turning point in our parenting. Good stuff.

6/16/2005 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

It was at the Huntington stop, so the train car wasn't going anywhere for a while. The tough part was convincing the attendant that I really really needed to run down and fetched a stupid little ring.

And, of course, said ring that was such a necessity was forgotten by morning. I've kept it, though, as a reminder to NEVER EVER do that again.

It was so humiliating.

6/17/2005 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Not fetched. Fetch. You think I could get my tense right. Doh.

6/17/2005 03:11:00 PM  

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