Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Child of Commercialism

My heart goes out to parents these days. I find myself constantly feeling pressure to have what is newest, coolest, most, for Solomon. I want him to be the smartest, best dressed, stuff-having child...and that is WAY too much pressure for one little guy. I want him to feel like he "has everything" because I always had "nothing." I LOVE being a minimalist...although I am FAR from my ideal picture of our lives and low consuming people, I LOVE it and I work daily to get rid of, simplify and live on as little as we can. When I was younger, it was always, "Oh we are so poor, we have so little, we are never going to make it, we have to shop at this place and you clothes aren't going to be as cool as so-and-so's." So during Solomon's first year of life I felt like he HAD to have $50 newborn size Pumas that he wore once, and $40 jeans from Nordstrom that he never wore...and I sold them for $1 on craigslist. A little before he was one I started to get a bit of a nagging, something that was unsatisfying about that life that I was subjecting him to. I think it started when I realized how saturated his life is in "stuff" and commercialism. We bought some Earth's Best Elmo crackers for him to snack on. Well I needed more space in the cabinet I took the crackers OUT of the elmo box and put them in a zip-baggie. He refused to eat them...HUH???? How does my almost one year old refuse them because they don't have Elmo on the box?????? I was distraught!!! How could this be?? I am MAJOR stickler about TV. Way more so than Will and Solomon knows it. After a day with Daddy, I usually have to put him on what I lovingly call a TV diet. :) He would watch TV day and night if he could and I just HATE when it's on. I will say, we got into a VERY bad habit of watching a DVD while eating because he was on this awful eating strike...but we are over that now. I don't think I am very balanced because I hate the TV on...HATE IT!!! I just feel like he sponges it up...ever bit. Sometimes its great but other bueno! Here is why...

In Target, everything he recognizes, he wants...and not just wants to play with, wants to have it forever and ever. He is getting SO much better as he is older, 2 in June, and can communicate more, but sometimes I have to COMPLETELY avoid the toy/clothing section lest he see something with Lightening McQueen on it. He is a sweet little soul though, and he can be reasoned with...most of the time.

Today, we were in Target. I cannot appropriately express this child's love for anything with wheels...trucks, cars, airplanes, motorcycles etc. So we see these little monster trucks and I had more shopping to do so I let him hold two of them, explaining that the store is going to share with us for a little bit, but since they aren't our, we will have to put them back when we leave. It comes time to check out and I ask him to "call daddy" by handing him my cell phone. He happily drops the trucks to take my phone and I pounce on the moment to sneakily snatch those little guys and drop them faster than fast! After about 10 seconds of "daddy calling" he looks around and starts desperately searching for the trucks, calling out for them. I explained to him that we had to leave them here because they belong to the store and we will get the trucks we have in the car and the bazillion that we have at home. He begins to cry...not the I-am-not-getting-what-I-want-how-can-you-do-this-to-me-cry but a devastated-my-mommy-just-broke-my-heart-cry. I reasoned with him and held him close and tried my hardest to comfort him, but he was clearly devastated. I felt awful. Especially because the trucks were like $1.99. I could have easily bought them. HE cried the whole way home, massive tears COVERING his face. "Momma, red truck, yellow truck." It was totally sad. The tears would subside for a moment and then he would remember and just mourn his loss all over again. It was very sad. We kept talking about it and even then I gave him the cool "Uncle Aaron race car" that we had in our car, it wasn't even comparable. We got home (it was nap time so I know that added to the drama) and had a bottle. He was in his crib now and the video monitor was on and he was just talking to himself about the darn trucks!!! He started crying and calling for me. So...I went in and we rocked some more. He asked to hold one of his trucks, and I, of course let him. He wanted to keep it in his crib with him and I also allowed him to. He fell right to sleep after that...cuddling his truck. AHHHHHH!!!!

So it was a massive ordeal, but it was big enough to make me feel bad and make me feel like I should give him his hearts desires. I feel like the middle man here in this war with my son and the all consuming comercialized world. I don't like feeling pulled but I want Solomon to know the value of life is not in what he has. All in all I am glad that we didn't get the trucks. I am heartbroken that is was so hard on him, and I know that it will get easier as he gets older. I just truely wish we coudl live in a little house in the middle of the woods where I could hand wash our clothes, hang them to dry (oh yes, this is my latest passion...I LOVE IT!!!), live without all things that can be lived without, and continue to show Solomon the real things in life that was make an impression on the lives around us. Until that happens, we shall continue fighting the "mine mine mine" world that we are submerged in. Its a challenge, but it's important!

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