There’s no doubt that my eldest is a real feeler. He feels aaalllllllll the feels about anything and everything. Even in church last night as we prayed together – I was feeling emotional just watching him kneel with me and thank God for the day – when I prayed for Ethan and what a wonderful little boy he is, he got all teary. My emotional child! Looking at Riley, I don’t think he’s going to be the same. He’s our rough and tough, won’t stand for nonsense, want my way type of boy. Or maybe it’s just the age that he’s at but anyway, I digress…
June is bonus month, and of course, with bonus comes lots of plans and financial responsibilities (school fees…do you feel me?!?!). This year, as usual, before our bonus was even communicated to us, I had a gazillion things that I wanted to do with it. And so I put a little spreadsheet together of exactly how the money was going to be allocated.
For a while before I received the money, the kids had been going about this PJ Masks thing. Their besties in the complex had their own figurines from the show, and so naturally, my kids wanted their own. At a hefty price per toy, I was very reluctant to spend the money on them but then bonus guys! I mean, how can I “spoil” us and not think of spoiling the kids. And then the question of whether it’s worth it and although we don’t spend hundred of rands on individual items for them (even at birthdays and Christmas, I like to keep the spending within reason!…it’s all relative, I know 😉 ) they do get spoilt regularly with the odd lucky packet and kinder egg, so do you spend the money on a toy that you know that they’ll play with only a few times or do you not splurge knowing that at their age, a toy that costs a tenth of the price will derive as much joy?!?! Anyway, after lots of uhm’ing and ahh’ing, we decided to spoil them.
So I picked them up after school one day and instead of going home, we took a trip to the mall (on a school night nogal!) to buy them new takkies. I promised them that if they were good, they’d get a toy. Riley had his eye set on Owlette (therefore completing the three characters from the show with the neighbours, as they have Catboy and Gecko), but Ethan was “mum” on what he wanted from the toy store playing it rather cool…I’ll see what I get there, I first need to look around. When we walked into the shop, they didn’t have anything other than Owlette. I thought I’d have to deal with Ethan being extremely upset but he wasn’t. “I didn’t want a PJ Masks toy anyway” was his response to me suggesting that we get his Catboy from another store the following day, and he chose a remote control car instead.
The kids were happy as pigs in mud with their new toys and Riley is still attached to his Owlette a whole three weeks later – won’t let it out of his sight – but then this weekend, I noticed Ethan was a bit down. They’d been playing with their friends all of Saturday afternoon. The PJ Masks had to chase the monster (Ethan was the monster – his transformers from McDonalds and a random kinder egg were the actual figurines he was using) and Riley was all of a sudden part of the group, something that doesn’t always happen. Generally Ethan sticks to the older brother and Riley to the younger and very often, Riley gets left out ‘cos he’s the smallest of the lot of them, but now that he has a PJ Masks toy, even the older brother wants to play with him. This game was awesome. Mum was outside reading in the sun while the kids ran around the complex, and everybody was happy until…Ethan started feeling left out. I could just see in his demeanour that this game wasn’t working for him. The three PJ Masks dudes would stop so that their characters could “eat lunch” (Riley’s idea…forever food on the brain, hehe) and they’d all gather around the table, but the monster didn’t need to eat. In fact, they didn’t even consider the monster, so wrapped up they were in their own little fantasy game. And so after a few minutes, my emotional child came inside sulking saying that they weren’t playing with him.
Now I knew how to make this better. It was simple really…I could have solved it immediately yesterday already…buying him a figurine would make him part of the others. He’d have his own figurine and all would be good in the world for them all but most especially, for Ethan! I could have popped up to the shop, walked right in, and less than 5minutes later, walked out with a brand new toy for him. He would have been smiling from ear to ear but guys, it’s the principle (oh and let’s not mention the money that doesn’t exist and that I now can’t justify spending on a toy, hehe, bonus…). He needs to learn that he made a choice (which by the way, I asked if he was sure about 100times before leaving the toy store) and that in life, we may not always be happy with the choices we make. Also that sometimes, we need to live with the consequences (consequences is a very strong word here but I can’t think of a better one!!) that we make from perhaps bad choices (again, I don’t think choosing a different toy is a BAD choice by any means, but you get my drift). His brother also needs to learn to share and give him a chance too because that’s what brothers do! And then there’s the lesson that he doesn’t need to always be part of the “in crowd”. He can do something else, something that the rest of them don’t want to do. And that’s exactly what we did!
While Riley continued to play outside with the other two kids, wrapped up in their own fantasy world, Ethan and I spent the afternoon doing something that he really loves – arts and crafts. He had my undivided attention and he loved every minute of making mini snowflakes and creating a winter wonderland on paper.
Yes he’s only 5, but I hope that he learned a lesson this weekend even though it was a hard one for him.