The hell that is explaining money things to five year olds

We had a rough morning.

We had a rough week, actually. 

Some times (most times) I feel like I am failing at teaching my children adequate coping skills as it pertains to handling emotions. I forget that they are so young and I have unrealistic expectations in most scenarios.

Waverly is going through her own special sort of hell right now and I have no idea how to help her. She seems to have developed an intolerance to pants and socks almost overnight. Each time she gets dressed she screams that everything hurts. It started with shorts, though she would wear Gannon’s shorts which seem to be more comfortable. I thought perhaps it was the style of the ridiculous shorts retailers make for little girls so I brought her to get shorts out of the boys section. They fit much more comfortably but it did not solve the problem, unfortunately. Same goes for socks. Nothing is comfortable for her. She has a meltdown every time she changes her clothes and leaving the house has become challenging.

Gannon has been violent, for some reason. It seems as if he is pissed off at the world and nothing can make him happy. In the beginning of the week, he threw his water bottle, opened and slammed shut the gate at the bottom of the stairs four times, then went over to a shelving unit and pushed all of the contents to the floor. This happened because Waverly was calling an animal a beaver when it was not a beaver. He ended up with a fever on Tuesday night and an ear infection diagnoses on Wednesday so I can understand some of his frustration coming from not feeling well. Because of his ear infection, I was going to keep him home from gymnastics today. He insisted on going, though, and seemed better so off we went.

Before we left the driveway he was already angry and screaming. Gannon didn’t seem to want to walk so Paul picked him up and carried him to the truck, which angered Gannon. We talked to him and Paul apologized for not asking permission first. He told us he still wanted to go to gymnastics so we continued on. At the gym, he asked if we could go to Target after class so he could buy our neighbor a birthday present. It was so thoughtful I didn’t want to say no, so against my better judgement we went.

Egan fell asleep in the truck so I went in with Waverly and Gannon while Paul stayed with him. I got Waverly settled into a cart and grabbed a few household items. Then we were off to the toy section.

Gannon didn’t actually want to pick a toy for our neighbor, though. He had picked him a pair of sunglasses on the way in and now he wanted to give him only the sunglasses. I had told them they could get a small toy each along with the birthday present. Gannon told me earlier he wanted to get our neighbor something BATMAN and he was going to get the same thing.

Well. Like any person, children AND adults, Target just SUCKS YOU IN. Their marketing team should get paid the big, BIG bucks for all of the impulse buying that happens in that store. I’m sure they do, actually, but anyway.

The toy section. Gannon was already off to a rough start today so I should have just gone home. It should have been easy to predict what was going to happen with a run down child in a store full of plastic crap, I mean shiny and new toys. He spun out of control in minutes. He was everywhere and nowhere at the very same time. I found Power Rangers figures that I was sure he would love but he rejected it immediately. I got down and tried to look at him to talk to him. He couldn’t even look at me. I knew I’d lost him and there was no going back. I tried anyway. I reminded him that we were there for the gift he said he wanted to get. That we weren’t there for us. I told him I understood there was a lot to choose from and I could help him by making a choice for him or give him a few options to chose from. I tried that but he still didn’t want anything I was offering. Meanwhile, Waverly was sitting happily in the cart holding HER Power Rangers toy and I was grateful for her simple happiness in that moment.

I felt so awful for Gannon because TARGET PUTS ALL OF THE TOYS THAT HE CAN NOT HAVE BECAUSE I AM NOT MADE OF MONEY AT EYE FREAKING LEVEL. He doesn’t understand. He is frustrated because he wants a toy that costs as much as my house and I am telling him it’s too expensive. But he doesn’t know what that means. He doesn’t understand why, if I told him he could get a toy, he couldn’t pick the toy he wanted. He doesn’t GET money. He’s FIVE.

He got even more emotional and started panicking. I showed him his choices again and he rejected them once more. I told him it was time to go. I spoke to him again and reminded him that he could chose from the toys I had shown him or he could chose to go home with nothing. He chose not to answer me since neither choice was what he wanted at the time. It was time to go. He started screaming. I carried him through Target while pushing Waverly in the cart, through the check out, and got him into the truck, where he had a full blown meltdown in his car seat the whole way home.

We had a conversation once we arrived home. I told him how sorry I was he didn’t get to buy a toy and that I understood how hard it can be to make a choice for one thing when there are so many things to choose from. I reminded him that we weren’t there for us. I reminded him that even though he is angry right now, he would feel better soon. I told him I loved him. Then he told me he was mad he didn’t get a Power Rangers toy (which he never wanted) and that he wasn’t watching Power Rangers again until he got a toy. So we talked about that too.

The good thing is Waverly got a Power Rangers toy. And Waverly doesn’t really like when people are sad. So she shared her toy with her brother.

These are the most difficult lessons for me. I want to stay connected with Gannon while also setting a boundary. I don’t want to give in but I definitely don’t want to punish him for not doing anything wrong. It’s HARD. 

When tonight he told me he loved me and fell asleep with his arm draped across my chest I knew I did the right thing.

Gannon may be okay but I’m not. HEY, Target. $10 and less on the bottom, okay? OKAY?

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