I just had one of those impossible to win conversations with my four year old. We had just finished watching a movie that had a rainbow in it and she asked me if rainbows ever come down closer to us. I told her they don't; they stay up high in the sky. She said: "No Mom, I mean, do they ever come down here right by us? Again, I repeated, "No honey, rainbows are very high in the sky." "But Mom" She protested, "Do they ever come down close enough for us to get on and ride them?" "No sweetie, they don't. We can't ride them, they are just colors made of air." "But Mom, just sometimes-can we ride them?" "Honey, that's not how it works?" "Just sometimes Mom?" "Carly you can't ride them--there's nothing to ride?" "Please Mom--just sometimes?" "Honey, the colors are made of air and you can't ride air? There isn't anything to ride" "Maybe--just sometimes--please?" O.K--maybe. (Conversation Over)
A few years ago my brother in law and his kids stayed with us for awhile. My niece was about Carly's age and just at the "I want" stage. Every time a commercial came on during cartoons with some new kid's toy she would say to either her dad or me "I want that--can I have that?" If the answer wasn't some form of "Yes" we either got to have a similar conversation as the one above (multiple times daily) or there was pouting or sadness to deal with. When I had my own kids I braced for those stupid commercials and the aftermath they could cause--but I came up with what has so far worked out to be a clever solution. At least so far I have not had it smack me up the side of the head. We will see how it goes. Whenever Carly says, "Mom, can I have that?" or "I want that?" I simply reply with "I'll add it to the list." (Now we have talked enough that she knows the list I'm referring to is either for her birthday or Christmas--or some future event.)
I have made the mistake before of saying "I don't know" or "We'll see" and that turns into a begging/pleading session--but "I'll add it to your list" has satisfied her from the moment I started saying it. In fact, she has sometimes double checked with me after the cartoon was over to make sure I got such and such added to the list. I always say, "Oh, I'll do that" or something to that effect. And yes folks, I have been through a birthday and Christmas since I started doing this and haven't used this list at all and she didn't miss a thing!
I take that back--I think we did see pillow pets on a commercial first and then got her one--but that's the only thing I remember getting from "The LIST. Most of these commercials appear to be send away items that are fairly expensive and I'm not sure they wouldn't be rip-offs anyway.
I know, I know--one of these days I am going to be found out! Hopefully by then she will be at an age where I can reason with her and help her understand she can't have every single cute thing she sees. In the meantime, I will just add it to the list. Oh, and if you have a complaint about the way I am handling this--I have a list for that too. :)