The little prince.

This past weekend, we dropped $300 on a Burley for untitledson. Momma doesn’t have so much as a banana seat, yet Little Lord Fauntleroy is big pimpin’ in his own personal rickshaw. The only thing that would make him happier is if untitledhusband wore a loin cloth and a cowbell and escorted him to and from day care every day.

What is it about this child that compels me to pour every last nickel out of my purse? He is my chunkerdoodle, my bub, my little man with cheeks of flan, and nothing makes me happier than providing for him. He has stripped me of my ability to say no. “A miniature pony? Yes. A 2,000 square foot playhouse? Why certainly. A gold-plated Tonka truck? Sounds like a worthy investment.”

Because of him, I pay $3.39 for a half-gallon of organic milk, when I could buy the poisonous variety for half that price. I go to the expensive car wash, since the menacing brushes at the drive-through car wash frighten him. When he was in diapers, I’d spend twice as much on Pampers Cruisers, for fear the el cheapos with the non-licensed characters would chap his ass, if not provoke the other toddlers to ignore him during circle time.

Everything that goes on him or into him has gone through a complex and very scientific decision matrix in my head. It would probably shock untitledhusband to know how much thought I put into which brand of white socks he wears. Things like him eating hot dogs at daycare keep me up at night, for I can only imagine how the nitrates will affect his SAT’s and ability to father children.

I’m a little fearful that in my efforts to make his life as painless as possible, I am setting him up to be a little prick (cue memory of untitledson throwing a tantrum over getting an Odwalla carrot and raisin bar at snack time instead of Teddy Grahams). I mean, I am fairly convinced that the reason I am doing as well as I am today is due to the fact that Mr. Clark called me fat in front of all my 7th grade classmates and that I was never asked to dance during all my junior high and high school years. Not once. Can you believe that shit?

This is the pain that I cling to, for it makes all life’s disappointments a little less shocking. It gives me compassion and context. And yes, it is probably what motivates me to buy the Master his Johnsons & Johnsons baby shampoo when the Target brand is much cheaper and would do just fine.

I know that at sometime in his life, untitledson will need to experience being the last one picked for kickball. He will need to feel a little self-conscious about wearing clothes purchased at Target, or egad, Wal-Mart. It’s these experiences that drive us to get a job at age 14, even if it is scrubbing toilets in a nursing home, so we can afford Guess jeans, baby blue Reeboks and Bon Jovi’s latest cassette.

These experiences propel us through all-nighters in college, and the endless drone of the work-a-day world. And if the parents have done their job, the child will find them to be truly pathetic. The child will be driven to take his life farther, past the minivans and hedges and Tuesday night sitcoms. And I can’t help but think that this Burley, especially with his father at the business end of his merciless riding crop, will most definitely give untitledson a head start.

7 thoughts on “The little prince.”

  1. I find it commendable that you want to provide your son with the very best. We, parents, usually apply “best” for things that can be bought. Ain’t so. I bought the cheap diapers, lotions and shampoos and continue to buy the cheap clothes and shoes. Kids are like “money-see, monkey-do”. They learn to appreciate the “best” in other more meaningful stuff, like relationships instead of brand-names.
    Funny post btw.

  2. I rarely economize on food. Until we moved here, bought organic and name brand. I had enough cheap food growing up in a big family–sorry Mom, but there IS a difference and it DOES matter.

    Other than food, I economize on most of the rest. I spend more on my daughter’s clothes because her skin is sensitive and the better quality cottons (pima and ringspun) make a difference for her so we shop Lands End and Hanna Andersson.

    Where do I really cut loose to give them the “best”? Education. My income paid for private schools in the U.S. and I’ve written lots of checks for educational things they wanted to do: nature camps, art lessons, music lessons, etc. And pretty much if they ask for any book, I’m going to buy it!

  3. Ah Mother-Love….,

    we’d give our very lives if not our souls for the shits.

    Altho I love the slavish devotion you give to untitledson (yea, like I’ve never done THAT before, lol!), Flubberwinkle does have a point. I’m on my third kid, with the youngest being 7 and the oldest being 23 and I can’t really remember mine bugging me for anything name-brand (at least not for long!) They’ve always seen me economize on most of our stuff because I’m permanently disabled and it’s hard to make money stretch, esp. with the medical procedures & meds I have to have. Well, actually, I guess that reasoning isn’t all the way true…, I wasn’t disabled until after #3 was born…., altho money has always been fairly tight, at least I was able to work before. I guess my problem is more along the lines of, if I spend more on this then we can’t spend anything on that. And that, to me, is usually books, adventures, art supplies (not the Ben Franklin stuff, believe me), and even our vacation this summer when we will be renting a cabin on a lake in Minnesota for a week–ah, fishing, nature walks, burning marshmallows falling into the fire, sketching, reading…., nirvana w/o much technology for me & my boys (hubbie included in that, of course).

    I do always explain why to them tho…, and show them how to compare quality & value and values (Nike still hasn’t showed me that they aren’t using child labor and I won’t buy from anyone I know is abusing others). They’ve always gotten over it pretty quickly. Okay, okay, the 23 year old is into name brands now BUT he has his own household and his own money so that’s his choice. Plus, since he & his boyfriend don’t want kids, it’s not like they have to factor that in.

    Anyway, it can be a real pain in the ass dealing with this when they get to that age of consumerism, but money management is one of the best things we can teach them and if you start early you won’t have as much detritus to wade thru to make them understand.

    Sorry to ramble…, swear to God I’ve been raising kids for about a million years now!!!

  4. p.s. It’s me again….,

    Forgot to mention the big wake-up call I got about making everything “just so” for our kids. When my eldest was a toddler, not quite two, I told him to go outside to play in his sandbox, which he adored. He started having hysterics and being so young, was soooo hard to understand. Finally managed to decipher…, he wouldn’t go outside unless his shorts AND his top matched!!!! WTF?!?!? I guess since he was the first child, grandchild, etc., he had never really suffered the indignity of unstylish clothes. OMFG. I still like to ’embarrass’ him w/ that story from time to time ; P

    BTW I never admit that my children might be spoiled…, they are just “well loved”!

  5. The timing on this is perfect, as I had to give a lesson on supply and demand in my class today and the kids stared at me with blank faces until one of them piped up to say, “What do you mean there might be a limited supply of something?” *sigh*

    I live (and teach) in an upper-middle class area (we landed here by accident when houses were less unaffordable) and I am appalled at not only what children expect, but what they’re routinely given without a second thought. Among 43 5th graders, more than half have their own cell phones and more than 2/3 their own ipods. Astounding. But I digress.

    We are doing far better financially now than when we first had kids, but I still act like going to Wal-Mart on a Friday is a big ol’ treat. We don’t skimp on food (although some store brands are fine) and I don’t skimp on my own shoes anymore. The kids’ everyday sneakers are usually a good name, but (shhh…..) I will buy jeans, suits, and dress shoes for them at a reputable thrift shop since they grow out of them faster than they wear them out.

    Okay, not sure where all that came from, but…thanks!

  6. My 5th and 6th graders have their own cell phones and iPods… I think I thought about it three times and then caved. Cell phones are great for kids who stay after school for play rehearsal or other activies. I feel better knowing they can call me if they need me. As far as the iPods… hell, everyone needs music in their lives – it makes the world go ’round right?

    I’m not ashamed to say I spoil my kids. I don’t judge anyone else who does or doesn’t – do your own thing – just don’t judge me when I do mine.

  7. Guilty of much of the same. I try very hard not to parent my kids in retaliation of what I *think* I missed. I have to stop and think, am I parenting myself of these kids?

    Their paths are not mine, therefore I must be open to that. And, I totally agree that if we are not screwed up in some way, we will not become great. Greatness often comes from humble beginnings, else why would anyone bother to even try?

    Good post 🙂

Comments are closed.