The preschooler’s song

            Lately, instead of standing at the bedroom door, calling for me, Zachary has quietly lain in bed until his clock says 7:00.  Then, he has come into our room and stood next to me.  “Mommy,” he says, “the clock says seven-zero-seven.”

            “Then it must be time to get up, baby.  Come give me a kiss and then I’ll take you to the bathroom.”  I give him a quick snuggle and then we take a deep breath before the chaos of Benjamin and breakfast.

            Then there was this morning.  “Mommy, the clock says seven-one-one.”

            “Then it must be time to get up.  Would you like a quick snuggle?”  He climbed into bed and curled his thin little body into my arms.  What a nice treat to wake up to.  And then, from deep in the ball of little boy I cuddled in my arms, I heard the lament, the cry of children throughout the ages.

            “I don’t have enough new presents.”

            “Zach, when it is your birthday or Hanukkah, you can have presents.”

            “But I don’t have enough new trains.”

            “Zach, you have a lot of nice toys, and I just bought you Legos.  Please don’t whine.”

            “But,” he began again, with the logic that seems iron-clad to anyone under the age of seventeen and absurd to anyone over the age of twenty-three, “I need some new presents.”

            Let me tell you something, kiddo.  You need many things.  You need nourishing food.  You need a warm bed.  You need parents who love you and protect you from the brother who seems intent upon eating you.  You need sunscreen and a raincoat.

            But more trains?  You definitely do not need any more trains.

            The refrain began again while I am making oatmeal.  “Mommy, I need more new toys.”

            “Zachary, there are children who have no houses.  There are children who have no food.  You want more new toys, but you do not need them.”

            “But Mommy,” he tries a different tack, “I need another birthday.”

            “That’s it.  One more word about this and you are going to need to leave the kitchen until you are finished whining.”

            He climbs under the table, presumably to grumble quietly to himself and his brother about the unfairness of mommies who cannot distinguish between luxuries and necessities. 

20 responses to “The preschooler’s song

  1. Another birthday! Well, at least he’s a creative problem solver. 😉

  2. Another brithday….we should all be so lucky!!!

    My son announced that wiht his little sister’s birhtday in one week that he made a new “rule” everyone helping her grow and being a good big brother should get a present also….


  3. We are so there right now. Only wiht Frances it’s playtime, as in, but I only got to play upstairs, not downstairs, I need to play downstairs before bed! It’s Not Fair!

  4. Hmmm…. however, with another new birthday each year (or hey! Two or three!) he turns 16 in no time and can become gainfully employed, thus buying his own darn new toys. Me, however, I need fewer birthdays. Also fewer things to collect dust.

  5. With Miss M, it’s “maybe tomorrow for my birthday, I’ll get more presents.” I explain that her birthday is all but a year away and she sighs “maybe tomorrow. When it’s my birthday. Or Christmas.”

    Poor little lambs.

  6. oh i’ve had that conversation! including the trains part. now it involves Star War legos, but i think you are right — this isn’t over yet…

  7. Well, at least he is thinking this through 🙂

  8. oh, so familiar.

    If I mention where our errands are taking us, Lorenzo is typically silent a moment, and then, “That’s where we bought Ramone,” or “Is that where Salty came from?” Obviously, the next thought is, “What will I get today?”

    At the beginning of the week I went to the craft store for something I needed, and left with bird houses for the kids to paint and decorate. I’d say I’m a sucker for anything that keeps them busy, but of course when paint is involved, I am too.

    The afternoon between school and making dinner? Poof! The clock says five-three-three. It must be time to rush around before Dad gets home.

  9. the cry of children throughout the ages.

    “I don’t have enough new presents.”

    ha ha ha ha ha

    are you sure you weren’t in my house this morning?

  10. It is a familiar refrain at our house. Unfortuantely, it doesn’t seem to go away for guite some years. Welcome back!

  11. That conversation could have gone on in my house. I stuggle with the delicate balance of showing my children how lucky they are without taking away their childhood innocence. It is tough for me.

  12. i hear this a lot and i hate it. the needless begging for toys and ridiculous merchandise when we have a playroom full of unloved toys. it makes me ill.

    (wow! you got my hot button! but, at least i know i’m not alone!)

  13. I hear the same thing. Thankfully, Ben enjoys Alex’s toys enough that I can get away with not having to hear it too often.

  14. i hear this WAY too often around my house!

  15. That’s OK, I have trouble discerning between need and want as well. Do I NEED another piece of cake? Or do I WANT another piece of cake. Must be need. Yup, NEED.

  16. quite smart that one!

  17. I guess all kids whine for toys now and then. At least, he didn’t go screaming and wailing in a toy shop that I see many kids do when they can’t get whatever toy that they want.

  18. He’s a problem solver, that one.

    Love the early morning snuggle. I really only get that from the Girl, but the Boy snuggles at other times during the day. Perfect, isn’t it?

  19. Ah, sweet. My oldest used to do that, say the numbers on the clock.

    I have different ideas now about toy-buying. I used to feel like liv, but then realized I’d rather support my kids wants *and* needs, rather than trying to tell them what was what, because for each of us it’s different, maybe even from moment to moment. I would not want someone over me determining what my needs or wants are… sometimes I *need* that new book. We have so much power as parents. When I started seriously hearing what the boys wanted, and working out how we could get that – not just rushing out and buying, but looking at spending plans, needs, alternative ways of getting things, etc. – taking their needs AND wants seriously – they started wanting less, and being much more picky about what they got. When they know they can have what they want (thoughtfully, conscientiously), they’re more discerning. They don’t just want for want’s sake. It’s like magic.