My kid is turning into a lazy bum and I have no one to blame but myself. Here I was, being a “good” parent, taking care of my child and going along with her every whim. And then one day I suddenly realized that I have raised a four year old couch potato that “lets me” pick up her toys and bring her food and drinks while she lounges around like a sultan. It’s moments like these that make me wonder whether I should be teaching her or if I should pull out a notebook and start taking notes. Let’s be honest, even a partial sultan lifestyle would be a huge improvement over mommy duty.
This sudden shift in my demeanor from meek and mild “sure I’ll get you some more cereal” to gruff “no, wipe your own butt” has not gone unnoticed. In fact, you’d think that I was abusing her because I refuse to get up from the dinner table to move her monkey five inches closer to her on the couch. Thus I find myself trying to explain the concept of fairness.
Fairness is practically impossible to explain to a four year old. Why is that? It is because you and your kid have completely different value systems. My attempts have gone something like this:
Her: “Mommy, you can go upstairs and get me my dress-up clothes.”
Me: “You can go and get your own dress-up clothes.”
Her: “No, I want you to do it. You can do it.”
And this is where things go awry. What example can you give your child of something you want? If you say “I want to go potty by myself”, she will inevitably say “I also want to go potty”. And then you are back to wiping her butt unnecessarily. You might say “I want to go out to a party.” Again, same problem, except now you have to find a party to take her to so that she will shut-up about it.
I decided to go with something completely outlandish. I answered, “And I would like a million dollars, but life isn’t fair.” Now this might have worked if a) she had any idea what a dollar was and b) (more importantly) she cared what I wanted. Instead she gave me a look that sent a shiver of fear down my spine…you know, that look that teenage girls give someone they think is being a royal bitch. I gulped down my retort and took the stairs two at a time in my hurry to get the dress-up clothes and postpone teenage angst for as long as possible.
Tonight I gave the fairness concept one final go. My two year old asked for something and I gave her the million dollars response. She got quiet and I asked her if she had a million dollars. She didn’t hesitate before saying yes and turning around to pass me a handful of immaginary money. I’m clearly outgunned.