Fairy Godmothers

"When I was a kid ..."

"Oh, no, Mom, not that 'I-babysat-all-summer-long-when-I-was-fourteen' stuff again!"

I sigh and shut up. But I did babysit every day the summer I was fourteen. For an extremely bratty kid, forty hours a week, earning only seventy-five cents an hour. To save up for stuff like school clothes, records, posters, bubble gum (sigh). I had no fairy godmothers; my relatives were in India earning rupees, which didn't buy much in the land of the Dollar.

Meanwhile, my kids get twenties or tens in the mail on Easter and Valentine's Day, along with the ipods and gamecube games and roller blades and digital cameras on birthdays and Christmas ...

I worry about the consequences. When it comes gift-wrapped via parcel post, are my kids being robbed? Are they missing out on the satisfaction of working, saving, waiting, watching their stash grow until they finally get to take that trip to the mall and make that special purchase? Or does being on the receiving end of such generosity actually encourage them to be lavish in turn? I watch to see if they're giving as much as they're getting, or better yet, more.

I worry, and watch, and wonder, and wait. But should I intervene? Should I command the fairies to stop using their wands? I can't bring myself to do it. Why deprive my kids of their birthright blessings just because I didn't have a Flora, Fauna, or a Meriweather hovering over my bassinet? And how do you tell a grand benefactress to restrain herself without causing massive relational damage? I'm going to want the right to bless without hindrance when my turn comes. Any insights on fairy godmothers?


seattlerena said...

Hi there -
I think it is perfectly ok to abate (or slow down)the flow of goodies to the kids. We allow our kids to get their every wish from grandparents, and then wonder how then end up so self-entitled? I did this by checking in with the givers first - advising them with parameters in giving. Sometimes, my mom might pay for a week of summer swim lessons, or chip in for a big family toy, like our trampoline. My kids have wishlists, but they know they will not get all the stuff.

Mitali Perkins said...
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Mitali Perkins said...

Thanks, Rena! Good idea to set parameters — sometimes a "Type-B" style gets in the way of proactive parenting. (Or is it the good Asian girl in me wanting to avoid anything that might come close to dishonoring an elder? Hey, wait a minute! You're a good Asian girl, too!)