This weekend we had a death in the family. Clark threw Grant’s beloved St. Bernard Webkin, affectionately called “Giblets” on top of the fireplace. His paws and half his face melted off. May he rest in peace in the office trash can. This was a tragedy beyond Grant’s capacity to endure. He cried and cried. He’d settle down for a little while and then the memory of his loss would bring another round of tears and sorrow. When he came into the office and saw Giblets languishing in his garbage grave, he flung himself upon my lap and sobbed. (That lovely lap is clothed in Frosty the Snowman pajamas. Don’t judge. It was snowing.) Finally we determined that Clark will do chores to earn money and buy Grant a new Webkin. Grant, who is anxious, and also aware that Clark’s not the most industrious kid in the world, volunteered to help out with the chores to expedite the savings.
In the van on the way home from preschool yesterday, the boys discussed their money-making plans and were trying to guess how long it would take them to earn the money and how many Webkinz they would be able to purchase with their jackpot. Clark declared, “Mom, I’m going to work and work and work all day.”
“That’ll be great, Clark.”
So I wrote up a handful of chores on the living room window with these fancy new Crayola Window markers I purchased as a late-conference distraction. While Natalie happily scribbled on the window (and surrounding window frame and wall), the boys wrote their names next to the chore they wanted to undertake first. Clark chose “clean off table.”
Well, it only took about 5 minutes before he changed his mind and declared that it was the most boring job in the world and he didn’t want to do it. He moaned and wailed and insisted that he should be able to choose another chore because he didn’t like that one. (This has been a pattern lately. I refer you back to the Angry Mom sign.) I said, “Sorry buddy, you need to finish that one before you can start another one.” He wanted me to do it. I told him that if I finished the job then I would earn the money. He whined some more about how he really wanted the money, and finally declared his true intent: “I want you to do the work and I get the money.”
Wasn’t it Elder Oaks who talked about entitlement? How we somehow think we deserve things, but aren’t willing to labor for them? I’m probably stretching his context, but I was not giving in. I taught high school and I know what entitlement looks like when it grows up.
After much wailing, and a broken record stuck on phrases beginning with the words, “But I don’t waaaaaaaant to…,” Clark decided it would be easier to do his chore. (Incidentally, I decided it would be easier to move to a desert island.) Then for a short while, they both worked quite peacefully and even Natalie got in on the action with some Lysol wipes.
In other news, before 7:30 this morning, sweet little Clark who is FOUR AND A HALF years old pooped in his nighttime diaper (nothing brings on more morning rage for me) and Natalie removed her diaper and peed on the living room floor. There may be another death in the family by the end of the day.