Shakir was excited to wear his new school shoes from since last night so getting him ready for school today was relatively easy. He was eager to get dressed and nobody had to tell him to hurry up today. If anything, he had to be told to slow down and relax a little.
Anyway, since he is a growing child, I had to outfit him from head to toe, but I drew the line when it came to buying him a new school bag. I saw no reason to replace an almost new bag that I had only bought last term. It's not likely to last out the whole year, since its one of those cheap bags, but there's no reason for the added expense right now. Shakir didn't appear to mind either, but when a boy in his class asked him if he had gotten a new bag, I wasn't sure what to expect. I wasn't sure if he'd mind that the other children appeared to have new bags and he didn't. His father and I try to encourage him to be an individual and to not be concerned with what other people have, but sometimes its a challenge. An invisible smile lit my face when he tossed me a look that seemed to ask, "is he serious? A new bag? There's nothing wrong with this one." Then, as he returned his attention to the boy, he said no in a manner that sort of mirrored the look on his face.
It got me thinking about the manner in which a lot of us spend money and the impression we give children. Children aren't likely to think that money has value if we just give them everything they want. It feels good to buy your kids the things they want and to be able to do so, but there are times when you have to draw the line. When Shakir was younger, each time we went to town, he'd bring me a bunch of things to show me and ask if he could have them. Well one day, I sat him down and we had a long discussion about money and expenses and why I cannot and would not give him everything that his little eye spies and likes. Now, we go to town and yes, he still asks for things, but he asks differently. "Mummy, when you get money, could you get me one of these?" "Mummy, if I behave myself, will you get me one of these?" "Look mummy, this one only costs $20." "Mummy, I have money, I want to buy this." Bless his heart, I hope he never changes.
This evening now, on the van heading to town, he asks me the strangest question. "Mummy, you know that the principal can send you home for behaving bad for a certain amount of days?"
"Yes. It is called being suspended."
"What you does have to do to get suspended?"
"Be really naughty and probably the teachers can't control you."
"Yes, but how?"
The trouble with having a conversation with this child, is his need for specifics. He can keep you talking for several minutes with his hundred questions and then when you get all warmed up in your subject, he'll switch it up by throwing a question that bowls you clear out of the ballpark. "Shakir, I just told you."
"Okay." Hoping he's finished, but knowing better, I wait. A few seconds later, "you get suspended if you're naughty by making a pool at school?"
A pool? Something is clearly up. "Shakir, are you planning something?"
"No. I just want to know."
"I'm not going to get into specifics with you. You need to behave yourself and be a good boy. You mustn't do anything to find yourself in trouble and its important to know that if you ever do anything bad enough for the principal to think you need to be suspended, that will be nothing compared to the punishment I will dispense at home."
"What will you do?"
Ever felt like you were moving in circles? Its always like this with this kid. He wants to know everything about everything and then why and how. Thankfully, I have amazing super mom powers of improvising. "I'm pretty sure you don't really want to know," I say. "You getting suspended means I will have to take time out from work to be home with you, and it means I will be forced to spend money on lessons for you, etc. None of this pleases me, so punishment will be severe. Be sure that there will be no TV, no wii, no DS, no tablet, no bicycle, no outside and whatever else comes to mind at that point in time, because none of that is enough. You can use your imagination here, but trust me, you don't want to ever find out what will happen."
For the first time ever, I actually rendered him silent. My powers are growing.
Allison is mother to two active boys who challenge her on a day to day basis with their escapades. In her other life, Allison juggles a regular day job as a marketing executive in a health food organization. At night, when everyone is asleep, she dreams of being a fulltime writer and super hero.