#961: Self-awareness, Part 1—Self-control

The Boy has always been more, um, demanding than his sister whenever we go shopping. We’ve always been proud of our Girl for not asking for things when we go shopping (in fact, so many times, we have to practically force something on her: “C’mon. We bought something for your brother. Don’t you want something? How about this? Surely you’d like just this one thing?”), and we ourselves have never been keen shopaholics. But where our Boy got his I-want-I-want-I-want attitude, we’ve never been able to figure out. We’ve tried to move him away from it, and we like to think that we’re slowly becoming successful.

So it was interesting to have this conversation this afternoon, while entering Loblaw’s:

Me: Hey, kids, you know what would be fun? Let’s go check out this summer’s new President’s Choice ice cream flavours!

The Girl: Yeah! That would be cool!

The Boy: Oh yeah! Then we can buy some!

Me: Umm, no. We’re just going to look at them because they’re fun to see. We can’t buy that type of ice cream, honey. They’re really too sweet.

The Boy: Oh.

(Pause of about 10 seconds.)

The Boy: Mama?

Me: Yes?

The Boy: Do you mind if we don’t look at the ice cream flavours?

Me: Why?

The Boy: Because I would like them so much, and want to buy them. I would prefer to not see them at all.

It’s grand to see a four-year-old aware of his own weakness, and be able to control his consumerist desire. Even when we accidentally came across some Hot Wheels in the store later (really, marketers, putting Hot Wheels in the cereal aisle at kids’ eye level? For shame!) I was so proud of him for saying, “I just wanna look at them. I don’t want any.” I have confidence that this newfound self-control will be long-term.

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