Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A lesson I didn’t teach my son

My eldest boy, Nathan, cried himself to sleep tonight. And when I say cried, I mean he sobbed. Loudly. With big tears rolling down his cheeks and noises that occur when one is simultaneously heartbroken and desperately trying to stifle the pain.

I held him on my lap for a long time. His long, 8 year old legs wrapped around me and his face buried into my shoulder. It’s not regular behaviour for him. Not much really affects him. He’s unusually pragmatic for a primary school kid, so I really feel for him when he’s upset. I just could not work out WHY.

We’ve had my little two and a half year old nephew with us today. Three boys in the house is actually not too bad. My boys are really patient with their cousin and love to just hang out with him. But sometimes, even though he’s a really good boy, we forget that our house is no longer ‘toddler proof’. And we are most often ‘reminded’ by something going wrong. And something went wrong tonight. Clearly more wrong than I initially thought.

Rest in peace, Sticky Slinky x

One of Nathan’s little toys was broken. Beyond repair kind of broken. It was a piece of crap in my opinion. A little man made of that horrible sticky stuff that you can throw against a wall and it will ‘climb’ down. Like a slinky but sticky. A sticky slinky man. I could NOT see the big deal about his 'death by toddler' but what Nathan sobbed to me, took me by surprise.

“I worked so hard to get him, Mum”

Wait... What?

We don’t do pocket money here yet. We believe kids should help out around the house as part of their contribution to the family and it’s only for things ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty that they should earn money for and there’s not much of that required. Plus, we just don’t think young kids need to have their own money. I’m not saying it’s the right way or the wrong way, it’s just our way. We try to create opportunities for them to earn ‘experiences’, like “if we all weed the garden we can go to the park” or something like that. So I couldn’t understand what the hell he was talking about when he told me he’d worked for something.

I racked my foggy, pinot gris brain for a memory of him working for Sticky Slinky and came up with nothing. And then, through the fog, I remembered. He brought Sticky Slinky home from a party he went to on the weekend. An Intensity party. Where the kids go along and get unlimited access to ‘arcade’ games for a couple of hours. Games which produce tickets depending on your skill levels. Ergo, the better you are at the game, the more tickets you get and the more tickets you get, the better your redemption rate.

Are you still with me?

Nathan ‘worked HARD’ earning those tickets. He teamed up with his best mate and they worked a system out to get the maximum number of tickets possible and then they took their ‘earnings’ to the 15 year old gatekeeper who told them what they could ‘buy’ with their loot. Turns out Sticky Slinky required the most amount of tickets. And now he’s dead. And Nathan is devastated.

And that’s how, without me even trying, my son learned the value of working for something. 

What's a lesson your kid has learned that you didn't teach them?

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