I Learned My Lesson

March 21, 2010 by Michelle

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.

Look, Mommy.

What’s this, Mister Man?

It’s money.

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.


  • Mrs4444

    Wow. What a beautiful boy. You're so blessed.

  • Fishsticks and Fireflies

    What an amazing little boy – so caring and so generous!

    (And I would have done the exact same thing with the spilled milk! I reamed my husband last week for leaving the SpotBot plugged in overnight “just sucking energy.” He is of the mindset that because he makes the money, he can spend the money however he pleases. I am not of that mindset – AT ALL.)

  • Unknown Mami

    The thing is, I think they are hear to teach us or to remind us of what we once knew.

    That is a very touching story and he is a beautiful human being.

  • Mary~Momathon

    What a sweetie!

  • Melisa with one S

    I love moments like that.

    They remind parents what a good job they're doing with raising their kids.

  • Tara R.

    What a sweetheart. Says a lot about how you are raising Mister Man that he is that empathic to his sister and to you.

  • WeaselMomma

    Sometimes we all need to take a step back and a deep breath.

    Really, you would scoop the spilled milk back in the bowl? Waste not, want not, but that does seem a bit extreme. =)

  • MaBunny

    your husbands reaction sounds like what i would have done. but as you pointed out, its the little lessons learned from the kiddos that really counts. You sound like you have amazing kids.

  • Roxane

    Looks to me like you are raising some wonderful little human beings. I wish all kids were that generous and compassionate!

  • Sherry

    That is so sweet! He is such a caring individual. 😀

  • Pat

    What a sweet, precious child he is. I love photos of sleeping children—the look of pure innocence.

    You are definitely doing something right with your kids!!

  • Michelle

    Mrs4444 – Oh I am. I so am. I just hate that I sometimes don't live up to it.

    Nichole – He is, which is such a great trait. I hope he never loses it. (Glad to know I'm not the only one who freaks out over the little things sometimes!)

    Unknown Mami – I like that perspective. It's much more uplifting than what I've been working with.

    Mary – Absolutely! If only I could harness it 😉

    Melisa – Yes, when my child shows me up in parenting, that's the proof that I'm a good parent. I like the circular logic!

    Tara – It's amazing how he'll stand up for it – so sweet. We were in the children's museum today, and they were working together and holding hands. I loved it!

    WeaselMomma – Ummm yeah. I'm somewhat cheap. And hey, it's rice milk and expensive vitamin and a clean placemat – I wouldn't scoop EVERYthing back into the bowl….

    Marcy – They are amazing. I hope we continue to learn from each other for a long time to come.

    Roxane – So do I. Especially some of the ones I see in public every once in awhile 😉

    Sherry – Absolutely! I love that his school is also teaching that so it's reinforced across the board.

    Pat – No kidding! The sleeping children is some of my favorite photography. After I took that, Little Miss wanted to know what I was doing. I told her I couldn't take her sleeping picture because she was awake – which quickly got her back to sleep!

  • Alexis AKA MOM

    You have some special children! You make this mom cry too!

    We so had the same bed set last year!

  • Corrie Howe

    He is a very generous boy. And yes, I am more convinced everyday that the Lord made us parents so that we can learn things from our children that we'd never learn any other way.

  • Michelle

    Alexis – Last year? Ha, we've had that for almost four years now. Fortunately he hasn't asked for a change, even though he plays with Thomas way less now. Someday soon, I expect.

    Corrie – He is… most of the time. I love the lessons the wee ones teach us. I just wish I'd learned some of them earlier.

  • Karen

    Ohhh, I love that little Mister Man!

  • Michelle

    Karen – So do I, so absolutely do I!

  • Hyacynth

    Just went from laughing along about cellophane wrap to tearing up reading about your sweet boy. Oh, man, these kids. They can really, really tug those heartstrings and open our eyes.
    I had a moment this week, too. Mine was over ham and cheese. Still getting choked up thinking about how kids love and care and teach us so much.
    Thank God for our little ones, our perspective givers.

  • Michelle

    Hyacynth – They really are special aren't they? Sometimes I wonder how we survived without them. I love what they do for us!

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