Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pillow Pet Acquisition Day

My girls go bazzerk over this commercial. It's a pillow. It's a pet. What's not to love?

The Pillow Pet was an empty pipe dream at $20... until recently. We were at the State Fair and walked right passed a booth displaying Pillow Pets. Emma was beside herself! She asked if we would buy one for her. It never hurts to ask. 

We said no, just in case your forgot what blog you were reading. These parents don't pay full price for over-hyped, sub-quality toys.

It was all Emma could talk about after the fair. One day she used chairs and baskets and found her forgotten piggy bank where I hid it on top of a tall book shelf. She's quite the thinker and remembered that she had stashed birthday money in the bank. It wasn't with the money I keep visible for chores she completes (the total in that jar was about $1.25). Next, she wanted me to help her count the piggy bank money. Our impromptu math lesson came up with a total of $37 and change. She's been saving her birthday money for a few years now... make that 5 years.

"Is that enough for a Pillow Pet?" She asked excitedly.


Over-hyped, sub-quality toy or excited little girl?

I said it was and yes, she could buy a Pillow Pet when we went to the fair that next Sunday.

That would be the end of the story. Not really touching. Not really blog worthy. But there is more....

On Saturday, the day before the day we like to call "Pillow Pet Dreams Fulfilled Day", Emma was having a huge attitude problem. It started when I asked her to help me pick green beans and she preferred to sit in the car. She wouldn't work and I was taking away privileged left and right, but she didn't care. She lost her tv privilaged, then her dessert, and her later bedtime. 

Then I told her to help me snap beans when we got home. How could I? 

Her attitude was getting so bad that it was turning into a horrible fit, screaming and saying nasty things. The discipline I was prescribing was only escalating the situation. It used to work! I was losing my temper and she had already lost hers.  I was really at the end of my knowledge of what to do with her. I put her in time out and I went to my room to calm down. I prayed for wisdom. I prayed for patience. And I prayed for my daughter, showing behavior that was so contrary to the desires I have for her to be a Godly young woman.

God didn't speak audibly to me, but He did bring to my mind a blog post I read a long time ago written by my friend Season. She was describing a fit her daughter was having at the park and how she made it "unproductive" for her daughter to continue her tantrum. I thought about Emma's behavior and how it started because she was unwilling to help with work we needed to do as a family (me and the girls). And also that her behavior escalated to disobedience. While I prayed and thought, I clearly saw my beautiful daughter acting this same way as a teenager. Out of control and selfish, she would ruin relationships and her hardened heart would not know the peace of a life lived in obedience to God.

What would be important enough to her that she would think before she chose selfishly?

The Pillow Pet.

I came out of my room and talked calmly (it was difficult) to her scowling face. I explained that she would no longer be getting the Pillow Pet. The yowling and screaming from her commenced again. She was disappointed now and her crocodile tears showed me that perhaps I had hit the mark. I went and got the envelope with her $20 in it for the Pillow Pet and I took out $1. I told her that I would take out a dollar for her fit.

She yowled louder.

I took out another dollar.

This continued until she finally got the idea and stopped crying. Emma was now missing $3, but talking to me calmly. Relief. We talked for quite awhile about her behavior and she said she was sorry for how she acted. "Now can I get a pillow pet?"

My lecture went something like this, "You selfishly did not want to help your family and that is why I took money away from you. You will only find happiness when you love others above yourself. You do not get what you want when you act disobediently."

She thought about it for awhile and then asked if she could earn the money back. I told her it would be 12 chores at .25c each and each chore would be serving her family. If she had any bad attitude problems I would take away another dollar. With a smile on her face she asked me all afternoon, "What can I do next?"

It was quite the challenge to find 12 chores, but I was proud of her for working hard.... bad attitude long gone this time. Dusting the living room, vacuuming, folding laundry, sweeping, cleaning out the car, unloading the dishwasher.... to name a few.  She earned her money back and prayed that night, "God please help me to obey and be a good girl." Although it was an emotionally tough day I was thankful for it and just as excited as Emma about the Pillow Pet Acquisition.

It was finally Sunday, "Pillow Pet Dreams Fulfilled Day." We went to the fair and Jeff took Mandy and Rem to the garden area to play while Emma and I went to find the Pillow Pet display. Mandy knew what was happening and she wanted a Pillow Pet as well. We knew there would be disappointment, but it would be a lesson for her. Emma and I went to the booth and she happily picked out a lamb and handed the sale's lady the heavy envelope with her money in it. The older women looked surprised and asked if it was $20. I said, yes, it was $20 and Emma had earned the money. She remarked, "I've never seen that before." We smiled and said thank you as we left with Emma's lamb Pillow Pet, the fulfillment of her dreams. The sale's lady called me back and picked up another Pillow Pet off the table and tossed it to me. "She needs two. Have a good day."

Emma and I were both surprised. A free Pillow Pet? Then Emma said without hesitation, "Now we have one to give to Mandy!" When we approached Jeff, Mandy, and Rem, Emma ran to them and gave Mandy the pink bunny thingy. Mandy was delighted! I loved the look on Jeff's face that said, "You didn't buy another stupid stuffed animal just so Mandy would have one too.... did you?" I told him what happened and we reveled in the blessing.

As parents we realize that life isn't fair. We know that our children have to learn things the hard way sometimes. Emma learned through her efforts the day before that hard work and a good attitude are things we have control over. We pray she continues to work hard in obedience with a good attitude! Blessings along the way are an encouragement. For grown-ups and kids too.



Carissa said...

Wow. Nice work momma. Landon has been throwing some great fits lately. He will scream and go limp if I try to put him down then, when I get on the floor to talk to him he crawls away from me screaming. He is only one! Let the training sessions begin! See you Friday!


Sherri said...

a lesson she will never forget- and I love the extra blessing God threw in!

Coleson & Tate said...

brought tears to my eyes! good job mama!

Melanie said...

Wow - that is a great story! Every time I walk past those Pillow Pet booths, I have thought of your daughter and her desire for one. Now I will think of the lessons learned here.

Andee said...

In K-2nd grade Sunday School this week, we nearly had a Pillow Pet revolt. We were talking about wanting something just because someone else had it. It was unanimous. The Pillow Pet. I tell you, those Pillow Pet marketing people are amazing. I'm glad you were able to use it as a learning experience and not just an example of greed gone wrong among the pre-school set.