Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Tale of the Watermelon or Why You Shouldn't Ever Promise Things to Your Kids

Last week I went to the grocery store with all three kids. Surprisingly, it was not a fiasco and they behaved themselves reasonably well (thank you Safeway and your free cookies from the bakery), although Jackson managed to smash an entire chocolate chip cookie all over his face and shirt.

When we got to the produce department, Camryn begged me to get a watermelon. I have tried to explain to Camryn before that it is generally not a good idea to buy watermelon in the dead of winter, because it is expensive and doesn't taste as good as it does during the summer. However, watermelon is Camryn's FAVORITE food and she was politely persistent (and I haven't bought it in a really long time), so I found one that seemed reasonably small and I put it in the cart. We made our way through the store over the next 45 minutes or so and our quick shopping trip to buy a few items for a potluck was rapidly turning into a full-blown shopping expedition.

We have been trying (like so many other people in today's economy) to make a bigger effort to be frugal. I have been trying to use this month to prove to Dave that I am actually capable of sticking to a budget/spending limit and so far I have been doing pretty well. As I approached the cash register I looked at several of the items that had made their way into the cart and asked the inevitable "Do we really need this?" The mid-winter watermelon caught my eye as an example of an unneeded extravagance, so at the last minute I handed it to the clerk and said we weren't going to get it.

When we got home, Camryn looked through the shopping bags for her beloved watermelon and it wasn't to be found. She asked me where it was and I told her that we got a lot of other stuff for the potluck so I decided to wait and get the watermelon another time. Camryn looked absolutely crushed and said, heartbroken and starting to cry, "Mommy, you tricked me! You told me we were going to get a watermelon and then you tricked me!"

At this point I felt like scum. How could I be so deceitful and wicked as to tell my child that we were going to get a watermelon and then gleefully change my mind at the last moment? Regardless of my wicked or non-wicked intent, I did feel really bad because I had told her we would get a watermelon, so I apologized to Camryn and told her we would get a watermelon the next time we went to the grocery store. This calmed her down.

Every couple of hours for the next few days Camryn asked me when we were going to go to the store and reminded me that we needed to get a watermelon. Finally on Saturday I told her yes, we were going to go to the store today and yes, I would finally get her watermelon. But Saturday was a busy day and I just didn't make it to the store. As Dave and I were getting ready to leave on our date that night, Camryn handed me a sheet from my shopping list pad with "WATRMELIN" written on it. She smiled at me with complete confidence and said, "Don't forget mommy! You promised!" (Grrr, I hate it when I am cornered!)

Dave and I went on our date and on the way home ran into Safeway to get the much-looked-for watermelon and a few boxes of cereal. As I got to the checkout I couldn't figure out why our total was so much. Did we get the wrong size cereal that wasn't on sale or maybe they got something wrong?And then I saw it... the watermelon that I had promised Camryn cost $8. Yes, $8 for a piece of out-of-season fruit, when I'm trying to be frugal and stick to a budget. So I asked the lady if she could hold our order and went back to the produce section to see if they had any smaller watermelon. They had a 1/3 of a watermelon that was only $3, so we got that instead.

Camryn had a yummy lunch the next day with her very favorite food. She also had her confidence restored in her mommy, that she really wasn't out to trick her. And I learned my lesson that you should never tell your kids that you will get them anything. Ever.

1 comment:

LCM said...

I have learned not to tell the girls when I come up with anything. It's either, " when are we going, when are we going, etc" or "why do we have to go, why do we have to go". Either way it makes me crazy and sometimes I just change my mind. That's one of the great things about being a SAHM. Thank heavens you were able to find a cheaper alternative. Isn't it awful when you disappoint your kids?