Home > Child Development, Family Life, parenting > The [Damn] Alien

The [Damn] Alien

My son always knows what he wants. Today – the black shirt with a skeleton. Tomorrow – the grey sweater. And the blue boots. And the striped leg warmers. And the green belt. And the big rabbit. And the big motorcycle that plays music. And the blue car with eyes. And the shoes with lights and not the shoes with laces. And the gummy fish, not the oatmeal raisin cookie today (I love oatmeal raisin cookies, but I don’t want any now).

Always specific. Always clear. Always certain. About what he wants.

I think that’s good. I want to support it. This ability to hear the voice inside him calling for something and to be able to read it, without editing it…That’s all good.

Until we find ourselves in a shoe store and he points to a pair of Cartoon Network boots with an alien on them. He doesn’t know who the alien is. Neither do I. Access to cartoons is very limited in our home. Peppa, Tractor Tom, Noddy, about ten DVDs, all in Serbian, and a few Elmo episodes, that’s about it. But he responds to cartoon characters, like all kids do. He doesn’t care that he doesn’t know who the alien is. Of course, if there were boots with Spiderman, Batman, or Superman on them, he would have picked those. But in the absence of his favorites, any cartoon character will do.

I point to a few other pairs of boots, at least one of them in a bright color, something Andrei gravitates to (the brighter and the more intense, the better). A resounding No each time.

I stop and think. He wants these boots. I don’t want these boots. Yes, my hair raises when I see “Cartoon Network” on the box. A bell goes off in my head. Commercialism. Brainwash. Disney. (And I could go on and on).

But, my son doesn’t know anything about all of these things. He just likes the cartoony guy. Something in him likes the guy. Something in him responds to the cartoony alien.

I say, Okay. I don’t want him to walk out of the store with the boots I like. I want him to walk out of the store with the boots he likes.

Many times we successfully reach a compromise. Not this time. There were no boots in the store that could beat that alien.

I am happy that my son heard the voice inside him so clearly. So easily. But I still hate the Cartoon Network boots. What they stand for. And I wonder if I made a mistake when I let my son walk out of the store with the alien boots. Did I?

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