55 cents' worth of steadfastness

Okay, I know I'm not the only one who's ever had to refuse a child, but I have to tell this story...

Today I took Miss Bee with me to the music store to get some sheet music for an upcoming piano recital. She was very cooperative and didn't even touch any of the 4 dozen pianos in the showroom while I was finding what I needed in the sheet music section. We finished and got up to the checkout counter, which was where she discovered (among all the other music-related odds and ends for sale) a box of Whistle Pops. I had bought one for her on one (only one) previous occasion, but apparently she felt she deserved one again and asked for one. I felt she did NOT deserve one, since she had sneaked a Jello pudding from the fridge earlier today without asking, so I felt she had had her treat and told her just that. She responded by grabbing a blue pop and disappearing into the forest of pianos. (There went my cooperative little Bee.)

I was in the middle of my transaction, so I calmly finished it and fished the little stinker out from the pianos. We had a quiet but firm nose-to-nose conversation through our teeth, after which she very reluctantly put the Whistle Pop back in the box and burst into tears while I carried her out of the store. I hate being the center of public scenes like this, but several battles in Wal-marts all across North Texas with her brothers when they were her age have cured me of caring too much. She did not stop crying the whole 15 miles back to our house, and I heard all the way home how I was breaking her heart. Here are some examples of what came from the backseat:

"I wanted that! It was mine!"

"Oh, I miss her! I miss Missy!"

[me:] "Who's Missy?"

"It's the whistle pop! Mom, I named her!"

"Mommy, how could you do this to me??? Ohhhhh, MISSY! Now you're gone, and I don't get to lick you and play the whistle and eat you and - Ohhhhhh!"

"Mom, can you go back and get it? It has my germs on it - I licked it already!" [Yes, I was a bit horrified at this, but the sucker was completely encased in wrapping, and I'm sure if the salesman heard her say this, well, throwing 55 cents away wouldn't break the bank]

(If you've ever seen the movie Dan in Real Life, imagine the scene where Steve Carell sends his teenage daughter's boyfriend [who sneaked up to their family cabin] home in a taxi. Do you remember the daughter's reaction? Now imagine the same scene with a 4-year-old and a blue Whistle Pop, and you've got the idea.)

So, you may be saying, why didn't I just buy the candy? It was such a little thing. Was it that big of a deal? Was it worth 15 miles of tearful pleading and begging? Yes, dangit; I was standing my ground! And with my little girl, who I'll admit, is hard to say "no" to! There was a principle involved! Yes, she cried for 15 minutes solid, but we had to stop at the grocery store on the way back, and I got her out of the car and just let her sob in my arms in the parking lot for a minute, got her a sample from the tortilla machine in the bakery, and she was fine.

So now I'd love to hear your "NO" stories - blog about them and leave me a note in the comments. I'm sure you've got better ones than mine!


beckbot said...

This reminds me very much of a certain young boy and his Scooby-Doo action figure which was lobbed over the back fence and probably eaten by the neighbor's dog. dh even went over there and bushwhacked a bit looking for dear Scooby. Super Q still talks about it; he has a sticker on the bunkbed in commemoration, a sticker which never fails to bring forth a torrent of tears and laments ("Oh, Scooby Dooby Doo! I'll never see you again!")
Way to go with the tough love, Bee will certainly thank you later. Oh, and when she's an adult she'll buy whistle pops any old time she likes.

Susan said...

I, as you know, am not a mom, but I had a very difficult time saying 'no' to a primary child last Sunday. I was in the Primary room preparing for Singing Time (Sacrament Meeting had not yet started) when a little girl wandered in and asked if she could help. I kindly said "Thank You" and told her I was almost finished, but she insisted that she help me stick some peel-back magnet strips into place on some visual aids. When we were finished, she said "We can keep these" I said, "Yes, I would like to keep those with the rest of my Primary stuff so I can use it for other aids." Her: "No, we can keep them" I learned that "We" meant herself, and she continued to insist "I can keep just one strip". I couldn't say "no", so she kept one, but later I learned that another adult had convinced her that I needed that one back! She was very persuasive, and apparently I'm a pushover.

Leroy said...

Before we moved and I was still pregnant with K4, K3 wanted something while at the store, I can't even remember what it was. Her behavior was pretty bad that day, so I wasn't going to reward her. She cried and cried. In the car on the way home while she was still crying and I was telling her that she'd have to spend some time in her room when we got home, she sobbed, "I want my Daddy!" I then told her that Daddy would put her in time out too. She quietly sobbed and sniffled for a little while and then said, "I want my grandpa!" I couldn't help but laugh! I'm proud of you for staying strong. Many parents would have caved under similar circumstances.
I just remembered another story. I think this happened shortly after we had moved to Texas and I was at Wal Mart with K2 and K3. K2 has earned a toy or something because he had been behaving so well. This was my big mistake. While trying to pick something out he was overcome with the greedy gimmes and began demanding that I buy him all the things he wanted. At that point any previous good behavior was thrown out the window and he had lost his opportunity for a prize. I have never seen him come unglued in such a way. He cried and carried on all the way to the check out and while we stood in line--it was fabulous to say the least. The cashier just looked at him and then picked up the phone and told him that if he didn't stop crying she was going to call the police. She looked at him completely serious and did not put the phone down until he stopped. It was just the reinforcement that I needed and He never acted that way again!

Jeff said...

Not a parent myself yet, but having been the one to be denied a desired thing before (who hasn't), I've seen the wisdom of a good solid "no" before from up above and makes me reflect how we are tiny, growing, and evermore significant children in the eyes of God. It makes me look back and think of all the "no's" I've been handed and then perhaps when I've been an upset "little" kid in the back seat of a van. To complete the metaphor, I really enjoy the little "subsitute" treats that make me think..."yeah I'm okay after all..." Hooray for tortilla samples in grocery store bakeries and for the parenting process!