My kids don’t care when we get pizza. And why should they? We get pizza all the time. Pizza and movie Friday nights are a well-established tradition at our house. There are very few weeks that go by when we don’t order a pizza, and so it is not a treat.
Now when I was a kid, getting a pizza was tied with going to Disney World in terms of the excitement and frequency of the occurrence. We never got pizza. And now that I have my own kids, I want them to feel the excitement that I felt about pizza, but every single week! But they can’t. It isn’t sustainable. The actual pizza wasn’t the reason I was so excited (although pizza is amazing). No, the reason that I loved it was because of how rare of a treat it was.
I think I am doing parenting wrong. I have tried to give my children, with greater frequency, all of the things that I only got once in a great while as a child. Special treat from the grocery store? Sure, why not? A new toy or a book that I think they will love that I bring home as a surprise? Absolutely! Fun and exciting adventures all over the state and country? At least once a month. And as it turns out, I have ruined my childhood for my children.
They do not care if I bring them home a toy or a snack. I mean, they like it, but more specifically they are upset when I don’t bring them something. Am I raising spoiled brats? I don’t think so, but I do think that they take a lot of things for granted that I never did. And it’s my fault.
How much childhood is too much? How many toys are too many? How many trips to the park does it take before you don’t care anymore? How many games can you play? How many stories can you read? Can there really be too much?
But of course there are things that I did all the time as a kid that we hardly do at all now, because they are just not that impressive to me. I mean, they are but not like pizza and watching a movie are. My kids go to the movies all the time! Those lucky devils.
But my kids, they get so excited when we bake together. I used to bake with my mom all the time. She was always baking something. We didn’t really do store-bought cookies when I was kid, which is why I think they are such a treat today. Not my kids. They hardly ever get to bake with me, and they talk about it with excitement when we do.
So my childhood excitements are not exciting to my kids. But the cool thing is, they have their own excitements. Things I do just the right amount to make them thrilling and rare. So maybe I didn’t do parenting wrong after all. Maybe I just did it right, in the wrong direction.