He’s sitting over there in front of the television; blanket over his head, mowing down dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets. He’s happy as can be, dipping his nuggets into ketchup, eyes fixed on Rescuebots. Today is a special day. I have allowed him to eat his lunch in front of the television, something I NEVER do.
He squealed with delight when I moved his little table in front of the TV screen and set his plate down. “Mama! Why do I get to eat my lunch here?” he questioned. I told him it was because I love him. He grinned and took his seat.
As I looked over at my happy (and quiet, for once) little boy, I realized what a grave mistake I had just made. I just told him he got to do something special because I love him. Now, what am I going to do on all the other days (which will likely be all days until the end of time) that he is NOT allowed to eat his lunch in front of the TV? Is he going to think that I love him less on those days, or will he understand the value of a recently vacuumed floor? Is three years old too young to grasp “special occasions”, even if those special occasions are simply random Tuesdays when Mommy is in a good mood?
Here I am, thinking I’ve given my kid a treat, and really I may have just led him down a path of entitlement. Really, I may have just ruined all future meal times for the rest of his childhood life. Maybe he will think I only love him when he gets special privileges. All this worrying now, because I moved that damn table. This is just another one of the million moments in parenthood when seemingly simple actions result in hours of second guessing and wondering if you’ve got it figured out yet…
….Which I do not.