February 01, 2005

Enablers, Inc.

The Boy spent the latter portion of last week with my parents. Cue dining out! Cue movies! Cue unlimited video gaming! It was a wonderful time for everyone involved, particularly for The Boy, as my folks plan fun outings for every single day of his stay. Spoiled much? My only instruction to them was as follows: Do NOT purchase any trains. Seriously. We've recently instituted the chores/allowance system at our house, so that The Boy can begin to understand the concepts of earning what you want and delayed gratification. For a toddler whose primary reading material is the Thomas Yearbook, these concepts are key to his and our future happiness. I think you know where I'm going with this, so here's the conversation I had with my mom and dad not one day after The Boy's triumphant arrival at their home:

Me: What did you do today?

Mom: We went out to eat at the K&W;, then to the Nature Science Museum and then to AC Moore.

Me: Why did you go to AC Moore?

Mom: Oh, The Boy wants to talk to you!

The Boy: Hey mommy. I went to AC Moore and got power James!

Me: You SAW power James?

The Boy: And we bought some new track!

Me: You got new track?

The Boy: And power James!

Me: Let me speak to your Poppa.

Dad: Hey.

Me: Dad, did you buy him power James? The battery operated James? That costs $24?

Dad: Well, his power Thomas wasn't working right. I think he managed to break the contacts on it. We replaced the battery, but it's not making contact.

Me: You could have just replaced the Thomas.

Dad: Well, he didn't want Thomas.

Me: Well then he could have just gone without, then, couldn't he? He isn't supposed to get any new trains, what with him being completely spoiled and having no concept of things having value...

Dad: And that James is really more powerful than Thomas. I can put all the other train cars behind him and he pulls them right up the big hills!

Me: Dad...

Dad: We've had a lot of fun with James today!

Me: Dad, you wanted the train, didn't you?

Dad: Here, your mother wants to speak to you.

Me: DAD! Mom? What are you doing?

Mom: Well, he broke his Thomas...

Me: What part of "DO NOT BUY HIM ANYTHING" did you not get?

Hublet (who has been listening to my part of the conversation): What did they do?

Me: (to Hublet) What do you think?

Hublet: (sighs in defeat) Unbelievable.

Mom: He's still doing his chores and getting his smilies here--we'll give him his allowance on Saturday.

Me: That's not the point...

Mom: You didn't send any videos with him.

Me: I know, I told you that if you had some uncontrollable urge to buy him something, you could get him Aladdin. Or there's, you know, movie RENTAL. It's not unheard of to view something and not keep it forever, especially when the viewer has the attention span of a gnat.

Mom: He didn't want Aladdin.


Mom: Well, we were at K-Mart...

Me: Before or after the AC Moore buy-a-thon?

Mom: He wanted that Thomas movie, you know, the one with Alec Baldwin?

Me: Oh, dear God, no. Not that one.

Mom: It's a cute movie. Peter Fonda's acting, though, leaves something to be desired.

Me: Just...no more buying. Or I'm going to make you return everything.

Mom: We've already opened it.

Me: Or I'm going to run over it with my car. You're the one always saying he's spoiled, and look at you! You're enablers, that's what you are!

Mom: He's eating well.

Me: (deep, despairing sigh) Great. See you Monday.

Mom: We'll call you tomorrow.

Me: Great.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at February 1, 2005 08:51 AM


Just curious as to how The Boy liked his boxers.

Posted by: di at February 1, 2005 09:58 AM

They're working out nicely, thank you, and I am pleased to report a marked decrease in the digging of underwear out of the behind area.

Posted by: BAW at February 1, 2005 10:29 AM

Ohh the possibilites: One day, you'll be able to wreak havoc on The Boy's children and spoil the puddin' out of 'em.

Posted by: Marie at February 1, 2005 01:45 PM

Grandparents do this. They also fill the kids with sugar and then return them. It's part of the job description.

Posted by: Michael at February 1, 2005 02:02 PM

I'm surprised kids put up with the chores for allowance thing. You should pay him for not being a pain in the butt. He gets something he wants for something you want, and you both have a higher standard of living.

This falls to the scortched earth counter-strategy though.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at February 1, 2005 06:04 PM


No, I lied. I'm not sorry.

I'm a Grandpa.



Posted by: Jim at February 2, 2005 09:22 AM

Resistance is futile.
Haven't you heard why grandparents and grandchildren get along so well? They have a common enemy.
My parents used to take my kids into a store, tiny fists clutching their own little hard-earned cash. They would emerge with $500 worth of toys, clothing, books, and large electronic items, AND their own money. I gave up when my mom bought my kids 25-inch televisions and vcr's because my son was almost 2 years old and therefore "old enough."

Posted by: Sally at February 2, 2005 02:16 PM