As parents, we should be the ones teaching the lessons, especially when the children are small and impressionable. It shouldn’t fall on the children to be the ones to remind us of the lessons that we’re trying to teach. It doesn’t always work out that way though.
Yesterday at breakfast, I got the wee ones’ food ready, I gave them their vitamins, and I left my husband supervising while I ran downstairs to wrap a present for a birthday party we had later in the day.
Shortly after I got down the stairs, I heard mild cussing by my husband followed by “I knew this was going to happen. I could see it coming!” in a not so happy voice.
I trotted back upstairs, prepared to intervene and do damage control. I found him mopping up milk from Little Miss’s placemat. He had placed her heavy spoon on the edge of the cereal bowl, and it had tumped over.
The issue here (for me) is that Little Miss has a dairy allergy. Therefore, she drinks rice milk instead of regular milk ($1.88 per regular gallon versus $2.99 for a quart). And since she can’t have many foods with calcium, she takes a liquid calcium/magnesium supplement to ensure she absorbs her calcium (since she’s too little for a pill, she gets it in liquid form). The vitamin that lasts us a little over a month is $23.95. She loves the blueberry taste and begs me to put it in her rice milk. I obliged yesterday morning, even though I was sure she wasn’t going to finish all her cereal and milk, but yet I couldn’t waste the vitamin.
Since the milk had spilled only on her just cleaned placemat, had I been in charge, I would have carefully returned the spilled milk to her cereal bowl. With my husband mopping it up, I had no idea how much she had or hadn’t taken, making it difficult to redose her. Plus the wasting of money.
I asked my husband to stop sopping it up and explained – not the most patiently, mind you – the issue. He just didn’t care a whit, as he doesn’t get the whole vitamin thing anyway. And replacing something wasted? It’s just money after all – yes, he came from a very different background from what I did.
I groaned, told him I didn’t care what he did and went back into the basement to finish wrapping the present. A minute or so later, Mister Man appeared on the stairs.
What’s this, Mister Man?
Yes, kiddo. I can see it’s a twenty dollar bill. What are you doing with it?
I want to give it to you so Little Miss can get some more vitamins. (And yes , just typing this is making me tear up again.)
Oh, sweetie! That’s really generous of you, but you keep your money.
But Mommy, they’re expensive. You said so. Do you have twenty dollars?
I do. I have a lot more than twenty dollars. You keep your money, Mister Man. I love how generous you are, but your money is yours.
I sent him back upstairs, and then I sat down on the steps a little and cried. He can be such a sweetheart and so generous and so worried about and protective of his sister. And sometimes I can really make a big deal about things that are so minor.
I’m so glad that he reminded me of this. After I was done, I was able to go back upstairs and change the tone so that everyone understood – especially the wee ones – that Mommy doesn’t like wasting things, especially expensive things, but that there are so many things in the world that are far more important.
And then we talked about the things that are more important. As my six year old son reminded me.