Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Perfect Child

A few days ago, the Little Girl and I were in a store when she spied a Hello Kitty Jelly Belly candy dish.

Actually, I think I need to back this story up. My daughter LOVES to shop. She's only three, but she approaches the activity with the dedication and perseverance of an Olympic athlete. If I want her to jump up and get ready in the morning, all I have to do is mention that "We're going to the store." It doesn't matter what store, and she wants EVERYTHING. My husband thinks I spoil her and cave to her every desire when we come home with some small trinket, but he has no idea how many gazillion requests I may have actually turned down during the same trip.

A few weeks ago, I got her a small purse and wallet, and I'm starting her on a tiny allowance so that she can learn how to spend and save her own money. Now when we go to the store and she asks for some tchotchke, I simply reply, "Do you have money for it?" This strategy worked with my oldest child when he was the same age, so I've been hopeful that it will take with Princess, too.

So back to the Hello Kitty candy dish. She begged and pleaded and pleaded and begged. I told her she could buy it if she had money, but it was $10, and she only had $2 left this month. Sorrowfully, she left it on the shelf.

As we were paying, wouldn't you know it, but there was another candy dish just like it at the register. I noticed her eyeing it, but I was busy chit chatting with the cashier. It wasn't until we left the store and my darling announced, "Mommy! I have jelly beans in my bag," (as if they had simply jumped in there) that I realized I had a budding kleptomaniac on my hands. Sure enough, a search of her bag revealed a stolen Hello Kitty candy dish.

After explaining how wrong it was to steal, I marched her back inside to return the item and apologize to the cashier. Poor thing. I could tell she was a bit scared and ashamed as she whispered, "I'm sorry for taking this," to the cashier.

The cashier and her supervisor are both Indians from the old country, and in true Auntie fashion, they both started wagging their heads somberly and clucking at my criminal child. "Oh, no. Stealing is very, very, very wrong. This is very, very serious. You should not take things that are not yours." Even another elderly shopper at the register got in on the action. "No, no, little girl, you must never, ever steal. That is not a good thing to do!"

The ladies were awesome doing me a favor and backing me up with their sober faces and gentle admonishments. Inside, I was cracking up until I saw Baby Girl's face. She looked so miserable and ashamed. Huge guilty tears were welling up, and her little bottom lip was quivering repentantly. I decided she'd learned her lesson and we could all relent, so I ended her lecture with, "I know you're very sorry, and you'll never do it again. Right?" "Yes," nodded her tiny sensitive head. After we walked out of the store for the second time, she broke out into a full wail and wouldn't let go of me for the next half hour.

Later that evening, I recounted the event to my DH, and we thought were going die laughing. There is something so precious about this age. I melt over these little hearts that are quick to repent, that hold nothing against you for disciplining them, that want you to comfort them afterward, that want to be kissed and held. How could anyone not love them? They're perfect.

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  -- Matthew 18:2-3
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