Friday, October 9, 2009

I Can't Have It All

Sophie: How much are you asking for Mommy?

Mommy: (singing Queen's song) I want it all.

Sophie: You can't have it all Mommy.

It's another phase we're going through in the house. The love of shopping at the grocery store. If we can't actually be in a REAL grocery store, Sophie will set one up in the family room and we are given opportunity after opportunity to buy things. In this instance, Sophie wanted to know how many eggs I was looking to purchase. When I told her that I wanted all of them, I was summarily told the truth we all learn at some point in life; I just can't have it all.

While I'm not sure when and where Sophie learned that I can't have it all, I'm positive that she has no clue that she can't have it all yet. Many times conversations with our little lady start with her saying, "I want...." Beyond the fact that we're working to change those two word to a better four-word version; "Can I please have...." we're also trying to teach Sophie that even if she asks nicely she just will not always be able to get what she wants.

One thing that we have learned throughout the work of changing the "I want it all" mindset is giving a full explanation as to why she (and we) can't have it all. Whether it's reminding her that she already has a half-dozen baby dolls and so no, she doesn't need the one she sees at the store or that dinner is in 30 minutes so no, she can't have a cookie right then, it's obvious that she appreciates it when we take the time to tell her why we've made the decision about what she can't and can have.

Sophie will continue with the "you can't have it all" learning process for quite a while, but somewhere along the line, probably in her 30's or so, the lesson might be forgotten. I know that because I've seen it lived out on the news and somewhat in my own life. Forgetting that we can't have it all means running up high credit card balances in the attempt to get it all even if we can't afford to. Forgetting means scamming millions out of your company and leaving your employees with nothing and then getting caught and losing it all anyhow.

Even this morning Sophie showed us another lesson that can be learned from not being able to have it all. When she told me that she wanted something and I had to tell her that she couldn't have it, her next question was, "Can I have it another day?" Delayed gratification. What a wonderful lesson.

Sophie, it's a different song, but the same principle; "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need."

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