Saturday, February 7, 2009

Why I might really be the worst Mom in the whole world

For BB's birthday in December he got a digital camera. The camera plus memory cards and case ran me almost $200.00. This was an unusually lavish gift for my husband and myself to give one of our children. The reason was simple, we had a little extra in the bank from his previous employer paying out his accumulated vacation when he left them, and we (I) decided that since the last few years had been so lean, we (I) wanted to give them one Christmas that they would hopefully remember for a lifetime. My lucky ducky eldest happens to be an almost Christmas baby, so his special day ended up getting inadvertently lumped in with the reserved windfall.

My son is a photography freak. He loves taking pictures and for the first ten years of his life they were all taken with disposable cameras as we never seemed to have enough set aside to splurge on a real one. When my husband left for the wilds of Miami, I decided that a camera was a priority. He was going to be missing so much of the children's lives while so far away, that I wanted to be able to capture all the significant moments and share them with him via the computer. I found just the camera I desired, and it's, um, pink. Yeah, pink. The lust in BB's eyes when he saw my camera, coupled with his willingness to overcome his phobia of all things girly so that he might use my camera, brought me to the decision that we would get him his own. He carried the camera everywhere and filled memory cards faster than we could upload files. Then after Christmas, the camera enthusiasm faded. His grandparents got him a DS Lite, we got all of the children a Wii (to share) and plenty of games. There was an expected dip in camera activity.

Then came his science project. We were in the process of doing his experiment and I asked him to get his camera so that we could take pictures of the scientific process. Or to prove to friends and family that, I can indeed do scientific type stuff if I absolutely have to. BB was forced to tell me that he had no idea where his camera was. Impossible. I myself had been carefully monitoring the camera case in his top dresser drawer. Except, the camera wasn't in the case.

The science experiment was completed. The display was turned in. The household fell sick again. Dad came home for a long weekend. Stuff happened. I asked him to look for his camera, but he was pretty halfhearted about the whole thing. Then I started looking for his camera. The more I looked in his room, the more I found things that really bothered me about my son. Brand new DS games on the carpet under his bed. An extra stylus in my truck. Papers that were supposed to have been turned in to his teacher. No camera though.

I made the decision to tell him that he would not be getting any more toys until he took the time and energy to go through and organize what he already has. I just don't feel good about bringing anything else into this house that he will need to take care of when it seems like he has stopped caring altogether.

I had forgotten that he has some Christmas money tucked away. We were at the store the other day, and he reminded me, but, I refused to let him spend it. I am not sure if I did the right thing. I assured him that as soon as he does what I asked, I will take him back to the store. It is his money though. Do I even have the right as his parent to keep him from spending it if he wants to?


  1. Hells yeah you do! I think you made the right call. You didn't ask much of him -- just that he get organized and then he can spend his money, etc.

  2. YES YOU DO. You absolutely made the right call. He's lucky to have you.

    And you are not the worst mom in the world: my four year old has already told me that I am.

    (I have five too!)