Sunday morning I was at the kitchen table trying to get some work done before the day got crazy. Leo threw herself dramatically into the chair across from me and shot me a frustrated look. Over my laptop, I shot her back a "what's up?"
"MOM...I need an iPhone."
"Really? You need an iPhone?"
"You're 7. What makes you think you need one?"
"I just do."
She had been playing her DSi and got bored. So she proceeded to list all of the items that she "needs" because her friends have them but she doesn't: a cell phone, a wii, a laptop, and highlights. Not the Highlights magazine I read when I was a kid - she wants platinum blonde streaks in her hair "because Payton has them!"
I tried to explain to her that she needs food, water, shelter, clothing - that among other things a phone, especially an iPhone, is not a necessity. But as soon as the words left my mouth my voice sounded just like Charlie Brown's teacher.
How did this happen? I am a minimalist and I have tried so hard to prevent my kids from feeling like they have to have material possessions in order to be happy and fit in. So, is this my fault? We went several years without tv service and I was delighted that my kids didn't know what Zhu Zhu pets were. But should I have exposed them to marketing ploys and peer pressure more than I did?
And why is Leo growing up so fast? Is this normal? I think back to when I was her age, and of course I wanted the same toys that my friends had - but I wasn't in any hurry to grow up. The Toys 'R Us theme song was my anthem!
She wants to text her friends. She wants to make videos and post them to YouTube. And have I mentioned that she is seven?
I know I can't just compare my kids' experiences to my childhood. The pace of life is so much faster now. But I want to slow it down for them. And I want to smack myself as soon as I start to say, "well, back when I was your age" because I know that to my kids it's a history lesson and not a way to relate.
How do you balance your kids' wants with what you think is right for them?