|In our house we operate under the assumption |
that "what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine."
I fully believe that the candy at the grocery store checkout line is there for one reason and one reason only - to make my normally (ok, sometimes) well-behaved (ok, marginally-behaved) kids act like screaming, raving, mouth-foaming holy terror punk brats.
I always say no to anything that turns my kids into devil spawn.
Except for this one time last week.
Cj and I had just finished up a massive grocery shopping trip, and he had been SO good the entire time, so when he said "Mama, tan (can) us have tandy (candy)?" I said "Sure, why not? Pick something out," which added about 15 minutes to our already long trip as he picked up, smelled, and occasionally licked every candy option in the Kroger checkout lane.
Finally, with a little prompting from me - "OH MY GOD KID PICK SOMETHING OUT RIGHT FLIPPIN' NOW WE ARE HOLDING UP THE LINE!!!" - he decided on some Starbursts, which in his 3+ years of life, he had yet to experience. See? I don't feed my kids ALL the junk food ALL the time.
After we were firmly planted in the car, groceries safely stowed in the back, seatbelts buckled, I opened the pack and unwrapped a couple for cj - one red and one yellow, at his choosing - then pulled out of the parking lot toward home.
We discussed the yummy flavors. He loved the red but said the yellow tasted "funnily." After that, Cj was uncharacteristically quiet for a while, chewing on his candy, lost in thought. A few minutes passed, then he said "Mama, I don't want to share my tandy with zj (actually, he called him Zachary, which is his name. I'm about over this whole "initials" business. If you want to do me harm via the internet maybe you should start with my email address).
So anyway, Cooper said "Mama, I don't want to share my tandy with Zachary."
I thought about it for a minute, then replied neutrally "Well, Cooper, you know that in our family we share with each other."
He was silent again for a couple minutes - long enough that I thought he either hadn't heard me or had moved on in his little-boy brain to trucks and puppies or whatever a three year old thinks about, then I heard him sigh loudly. "Otay, Mama, I share with Zachary," he said. But he didn't sound particularly happy about it.
"That's great, Cooper," I answered. "It makes Mama happy that you want to share."
He was silent again. For miles I drove without so much as a peep from him, which is very, very, very rare.
Just as we were turning into our subdivision, he exploded, talking so loud and so fast it wasn't until I got home, got him out of the car and was able to calm him down a little that I could understand what he was saying. The gist of it was:
"One time Zachary had some chocolate tandies and he didn't share them wif me. You said to share and he ated them all up. All of dem. And I didn't get to eat any! And you was in the titchen and you said to share and Zachary don't share his chocolate tandies wif me. And I cried."
There was a whole lot more it than that, but you get the picture. Also, I have zero recollection of this incident, so either a) it was a long time ago, b) I was drunk or c) he made it up. Or maybe it was a combination of all three.
At this point, Cooper and I are sitting in the middle of the driveway and my groceries are still in the car and melting, but this seemed like it was pretty important to him so I thought I'd better address it right away.
"Did you feel sad when Zachary didn't share the candy with you?" I asked.
"Yes. I was bery bery sad. I cried and cried and cried," he answered solemnly.
"So how do you think Zachary will feel if you don't share your candy with him?" was my next question.
He thought about it for a minute. "I think him would be sad, too, if he tan't have any of my tandy." He looked for all the world like a little old man with the weight of the world on his shoulders as he said it.
"So do you think you should share your candy with Zachary when he comes home from school today?" I asked, sincerely hoping for a good response.
He thought and thought and thought about it, then finally, just when I had about given up hope for an answer on any kind, he said, "I will share my tandy wif Zachary. Him tan have the yellow ones."
I love how smart my little guy is becoming.
Everybody knows the yellow ones suck.