August 17, 2009

The Epiphany of Materialism

My youngest son, who is two, has very strong ideas about the way things should be and when they don't go exactly the way they are supposed to go in his orderly little universe, his train derails and the whole world comes crashing in.

Once when I passed one of the roads we turn down to get to our house he started screaming, "WRONG WAY! WRONG WAY! WRONG WAY!"

I said, "Tristan, I just want to go look at something real quick and then we'll go home."


"Look, it's right here... this is where the fishing derby will be. I wanted to see how the new pond is coming along. See it there? With the big tractors?" Divert, divert, divert!

"Uh huh..." He sounded calmer. My brilliant plan was working. I am a master Toddler Whisperer. I could have my own TV show! I can rule the world!

"Okay, we'll go home now..." I drove on to take the next road that would loop around to take us to our house. No sense in backtracking, right?


"Tristan, we're going to the house right now. We can go to the house this way."

He starts pointing back to the road we passed that we have always taken pretty much every day for his entire life. "DAT WAY! ME GO HOME NOW! WRONG WAY WRONG WAY!"

He screamed the entire way home and when we pulled into the driveway he started crying because he realized I wasn't going back to the other road to drive home the "correct" way.

So, this morning when I was standing in the driveway buckling him into his carseat and he said, "Daddy not in car" I was certain we were headed for another episode.

"You're riding with me today. Daddy's going in his car."


I sighed. "Daddy's going to work."

"Why come?"

"Daddy has to go to work and make some money. If we don't work then we don't get money and we can't buy food and toys." This is bound to bring him around to his senses. The sheer logic of it was stunning. How could he not immediately improve his attitude if he just thinks it through? (By now it should be obvious why I'm parent of the year.)

"Daddy get money buy toys?!"

He's brilliant like his mother. We're connecting. He completely understands me! "Yes, so Daddy must go to work."

"Daddy get money! Buy me toys?"

Doubt sets in. "Um, well, yeah, that's overly simplistic, but kind of, yeah." I shut the door hoping that would end the conversation. I walked around to my side, opened the door.

Tristan yelled from the back, "We need buy more stuff!"

Julius pipes up. "YEAH! Let's go to Wal-Mart and look for toys!"

I growl under my breath, "Don't get him started!"

From the back, "Toys, Wahmaht, buy toys!"

I looked over at Julius, irritated. He shrugged and muttered an apology.

We pulled out of the driveway and did our best to change the subject. Periodically when it sounded like we said something remotely related to Daddy working, toys or making money Tristan would yell, "WE NEED BUY MORE STUFF!"

Sometimes randomly when we weren't talking about anything at all we'd hear him remark, "We need buy more STUFF!"

In a ten minute drive to daycare he suggested buying more stuff at least twelve times. I dread when he starts getting an allowance.

[For those who are environmentally inclined, you might want to check out The Story of Stuff.]


  1. Life is always good when you get your priorities straight.

    We all need more stuff!!

  2. Isn't it funny what sticks in a little one's mind? MyKiah had a good sense of direction when she was younger. If we got lost she knew how to get us back on track. Never failed. And, what kid doesn't want more stuff. I'm still wanting more. Hope all is well. Have a great Monday~

  3. at 5 1/2 mine can't leave the house anymore without asking where we'll buy him a toy. dunno where he gets it, its not like he gets one every time we go out!

    mine's a bit OCD with his 'trains' too. more than ten minutes off, and he will let you know about it! (he can't tell time yet!! how do they DO that?!)

  4. He doesn't even know what he wants. He just knows "stuff" is good. Definitely an American ; )

  5. New to blogging as of today, I'm just out searching blogs. It's been a fun stop here and I wanted to thank you for sharing. Your "a day in the life" aproach to blogging is refreshing and fun to read. I'll be back.

  6. OMG . . . What was your husband's reaction to this?! LOL

  7. It's those damned ATMs. How can we hope to teach our children that work equals $$$$ when those blasted machines are around?

    Of course, I have my own agenda with those wretched ATMs, in case you hadn't guessed. How can a person possibly keep her checking account balanced when those ATMs beckon fromn every corner?

    I hate them, I tell you. Won't use them, either.

  8. ... "master Toddler Whisperer" ... you always manage to make me laugh out loud. Thanks for that! I love you.

  9. In my house, Daddy's money buys Mommy more stuff.

  10. I don't know if it's at a particular age for just boys, or if girls do it, too, but both my grandsons, at that certain age, 1-1/1 thru the 4s, are/were very particular about what roads we take to certain places, and your conversation with your son was a duplicate of ours! I'm guessing it has something to do with the security and comfort factor of keeping to a routine? Or maybe the beginnings of that geographical thing men have that says "I don't need a map, I know how to get there"?

    Love the way you write ...

  11. Yes, mommy and daddy must work to buy stuff. That about sums it up. . . smart kid.

  12. All of that sounds eerily familiar! My two year old is very routined oriented, and if anything is out of the routine....there is a problem. Glad mine isn't the only one! haha.

  13. that is an adorable story! how funny!

  14. Hahaha! Oh, the simplicity of a child's thought processes! LOL!

  15. Moonshadow sent me over here because she said your son sounds like mine. She was right.

  16. The Toddler Whisperer! That one is going to have me giggling all day!!


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