Thursday, October 14, 2010

::doing the right thing isn't always easy::

Remember how a couple of weeks ago I wrote about how I was determined to someday get my daughter a horse? Yeah, well, said child has an uncanny ability to recognize when my resolve is weakening. So somehow it went from "Honey, I know that you want a horse more than anything in the world and I want to make that happen for you someday" to "We might buy a horse this weekend!" I know! Jeezus, between my impulsiveness and her ability to pounce on an opportunity, it's a miracle we didn't run out and buy an entire horse ranch while David was out of town all week. For one thing, she and I went to go see "Secretariat" and I got all "Nobody is going to tell me I can't get my daughter a horse!"

Well, nobody except for my calm, reasonable and maddeningly rational husband. And he didn't exactly say "no", although I think the word "divorce" might have been bandied about. Actually, he gently and calmly reminded me that buying a horse for a ten year old child is not a great idea IF you are trying to raise a child to grow up to be a productive member of society who understands that one must WORK for what she wants.

Then I talked to Kami, the gal from whom we currently lease a horse and my go-to gal for all horse-related questions. She told me that she thought it would be best to wait, because the rider that Anna is now is not the same as the rider she will be in a couple of years. So if we bought a horse to suit Anna's needs and abilities now, in 2-3 years we'd be looking to replace it with, say, a barrel-racer or whatever.

Somewhat coincidentally (or maybe not) my friend Jennifer mentioned in an email how her first-born child is driving her mad because he is lazy and doesn't want to have to work for anything. In fact, he can't be bothered to get his driver's license because it's "too hard" and too much work. That does sound a lot like a certain 10 year old I know. And I'm smart enough (barely) to know that we want to nip that behavior in the bud right now.

So yeah. I knew that I had to go home after work and break my daughter's heart, because I am a BIG FAT IMPULSIVE DUMB SHIT who got her hopes up and basically said to her "Nobody is going to tell us what to do! Let's go buy a horse!"

As soon as I got home, I sat her down and had the talk. I explained it all to her, why it was important to wait, both Kami's argument that she will grow and change as a rider a lot in the next couple of years, and also how I realized (without implicating Davey as the bad guy) that one of my most important jobs as a parent is to teach her the value of working toward something. How it will actually be a lot more satisfying for her to earn it and she'll appreciate that lesson later in life....blah blah blah.

And then the crying and wailing and sobbing and thrashing and gnashing of teeth commenced. She was, as expected, disappointed and heartbroken and I felt like the worst. parent. ever. I knew I was doing the right thing, I was just so mad at myself for getting her hopes up. I held her for awhile while she cried and then she wanted me to go away. At one point I checked on her and she had pulled the hide-away bed out and was under it, crying and "working on something". I figured it was a note of the "I'm running away from home" sort, but I should have known better. This kid expresses herself through drawing. Eventually she came out of the room with a smirk on her face and handed me this:


(in case you can't read that, it says: "No! Not til you're 122! Oh wait you'll be dead by then. Did I mention I lied? Sucks for u.")

Yeah. OUCH.

For a split second I was devastated, but then I couldn't help but burst out laughing. This kid knows how to WORK it, doesn't she?

I went in and said "So this is how you see me, with glowing red eyes and big fangs?"

"AND A BIG NOSE", she made sure to point out.

Then we laughed and hugged and she was all better.

Why didn't anyone TELL me parenting was so hard? I HATE having to be the grown-up. Luckily I have a pretty great kid, with a big, beautiful, forgiving heart. Sigh.

6 comments:

Nichole said...

I'm proud of you. And David. :)

Casey said...

Ouch is right! And she has absolutely no idea that you BOTH are learning a valuable lesson from this experience. She just thinks it's because you *felt like* going back on the plan, rather than you didn't really *want to* but knew it would be the best for all concerned. Sorry, mama.

So what's the plan going to be for working toward the horse?

kate said...

Casey, actually, I feel pretty lucky because she does seem to understand (despite artistic evidence to the contrary) that I really DO want to help her get a horse but that I/we have to do it the right way.

As for a plan, she has to maintain complete responsibility for the animals she already has (no more expecting mom to clean the rabbit cage and David to clean the fish tank). As for money, she will put some or all of her allowance in a special "horse" account we are going to set up for her. And she and a friend have a plan to start a dog walking business :), which I think is a great idea. And various other "extras" around the house (on top of her regular chores that she does not get paid for) to earn money.

It will be a combination of showing responsiblity/maturity and saving her own money to go toward her horse.

(and we can joke about the drawing now. Today I have on a red braclet, red clogs and a red scarf and she said with a laugh "Nice...all that red matches your beady red eyes!"

JACKI said...

maybe you can tell her once she reaches a certain amount of money... say $400, you can 'match' that (plus some secretly, because I'm sure horses are expensive!). That way it will REALLY encourage her to save.
Thats how my dad did it with our first cars. He matched whatever we saved for our first car.

***LOL! my word verification for this post is 'prago' ... yes I am!

Dee said...

Good for you, David ! You are wise beyond your years, and experience with kids.
Kate, it is easier to just give in and give. To earn is to produce pride and character. and I'm very proud of Anna ! ( I notice she gave herself beautiful hair and you----well, its pitiful)---she was NOT very happy with you right at that moment. But she still loves you.

Jodi said...

Hahahahahhahahaha! BAD mamma! We're such suckers when it comes to our kids. Thank God you have David.