Waging war in the urban jungle

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's not easy being little

Paulo had his heart broken Saturday.

Rene was staining the deck and Dimitri was helping.  Paulo desperately wanted to help too.  He went out in the afternoon to work, but he was, rejected.  Apparently there wasn't a job available for one so small.  He was crushed.  He came back into the house, eyes filling with tears, devastated.  I tried to comfort him, I offered a walk, I offered a book, a board game, anything I could think of to lift his spirits.  He didn't want comfort.  He laid his sad little self down on the bench and there he stayed, watching his Dad and brother do what he was told he couldn't. 

He must have stayed on that bench for close to an hour, stewing.  It's so hard to watch your baby struggle with deep disappointment, when he hurts I hurt and he was really hurt.  He finally got up and eventually went back outside, he got permission to apply the final stroke of the stain.  I went out later to prune some plants and my seven year old came up to me and said "Well at least, I'm talking to my Dad again".  I told him that was a good thing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An uphill battle

Let me first preface this mini rant by saying I know I and I alone am responsible for controlling what comes into my son's body by way of food and into his life by way of toys, trinkets and media.  He's 7, he has an allowance but no job so his buying power is limited.  And even with the allowance he can't spend however he would like, I still have veto power!  He doesn't like that, but that's ok, he doesn't have to, I'm the Momma.

That said, I feel like I'm fighting a (sometimes) losing battle.  A battle against marketing for one.  He cannot watch a 30 minute show on network TV without being inundated with junk food ads.  Look Mom!  Those nasty Pebbles cereal are gluten free now! Can we buy some?!  And no, he's not saying "nasty Pebbles cereal" that's all me.  Have you noticed the uptick in marketing unhealthy food as "gluten free" as if that's somehow supposed to make up for the 4 different food dyes and the 8 teaspoons of sugar per 3/4 cup "serving"?  It's the latest fad label.  Gluten Free!  Now Gluten Free!  Finally Gluten Free!  Yeah, but still disgusting.  Now, I know I won't buy them and deep down he knows I won't buy them but does that stop him from trying? Nope.  He's a perfectly normal child who wants what he wants when he wants it and isn't afraid to ask for it.  And it wears on me.  Not enough to go buy the crap cereal but it wears on me and frankly it pisses me off.

My other battle field is one that I bet is all too familiar for many parents . I don't believe my 7 year old needs to play 1st person shooter games.  I think video games have a rating for a reason.  Paulo has a very active imagination and is prone to nightmares.  I like to sleep thank you very much and I do not want to be woken by a frightened child reliving the slaying of aliens in the dead of night.  My neighbor does not share my views, he thinks killing aliens is no big deal and his son-who is a year younger than Paulo-is an avid Halo player.  Paulo is locked in an inner struggle every time he goes to this boys house.  All his buddy wants to do is play Halo, he's 6....SIX....but that's all he wants to play.  Paulo knows I do not approve of him playing shooter games and he wants to please me and be accepted by his peers at the same time.  I feel for him, I do, but man, he's freaking 7 years old.  There is plenty of time for blowing up aliens LATER. 

That last one feeds right into this mornings debate.  There was a TV ad for the Nintendo DS 3D and Paulo ran into the kitchen to tell me the good news, Nintendo dropped the price!  Isn't that great?  Can I have one?  Uh...no.  For starters, from all I've seen even Nintendo doesn't recommend 7 year olds playing the 3D console, something about messing with their peepers.  I explained that to him and he let it drop....for a while.  Really he let it drop until he me as a captive audience and we were in the car on the way to swim lessons.  So...how old do I have to be to play the DS 3D?  He asks.  I pause, admittedly annoyed that we're back on to this topic and reply "18".  WHAT!?  Ok, not really, but we're covered this a million times, you are not getting a hand held video game system.  Don't get me wrong this child is not deprived in the video game department, there are five different systems available to him at home.  FIVE.  I asked him why, if he has five already, he feels he needs a sixth.  Didn't that seem excessive?  And here comes the kicker, he tells me that since I won't allow him to play the games he really wants, the FUN ones like Halo that he's bored and needs a handheld system.  Oh yes, he's good, he's not going to get what he wants mind you but he's good.  I have to give him some credit for a creativity. 

So, what's a Momma to do?  Stand my ground and be unpopular I suppose.  No one said it would be easy.  I just wish I wasn't fighting an uphill battle.