Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The one with the watering can

Isaac circa April 2012

I think one of the most challenging things about being a parent is trying to explain things to your child in a simplified yet accurate way, instead of brushing them off with a "when you grow up you will understand." or something similar.

We often encounter this when we have to explain to Isaac why we can't send him to every holiday camp his childcare teacher tells him about. Or why we can't buy everything he wants or likes immediately. We find that, the older he gets, these instances are getting more and more frequent. 

Last Sunday, after lunch at the coffeeshop, we had a bit of spare time and decide to shop around a bit. Window-shop, that is. We're rather controlled when it comes to buying stuff, and we hardly even go shopping a lot, but now and then, if it was convenient, we do like to look at stuff...

Isaac:"Mummy look at this!"
Me:"Oh, a watering-can."
Isaac:"Yes! We can buy this to water the plants!"
Hubbs:"No, we don't need that. You don't need a watering can to water the plants."
Me:"What plants?"
Isaac:"Our plants! In the garden!"
Hubbs:"You can use a cup, to take water, and still water the plants in the garden."
Me:"What garden?" (We stay in a hdb flat, so I was rather confused.)
Isaac:"Our garden! our huge garden! Our TREES ARE DYING! If you don't water them, they'd DIE!"
Me:"Huh? Our huge garden with plants and trees???" 
Hubbs gives me a significant look. 
Me:"OH, yes, our huge garden." (We've come to adopt the common gardens below "ours", just like how we have a nice playground, and a huge carpark (the multi-story carpark) etc.)
Isaac:"Yes! We need to water the plants in our garden. So we must buy this watering can."
Me:"Okay, we'd think about it." (escapist, me)
Hubbs:"No, we only buy things that we NEED. We don't need this to water the plants."
Isaac:"Why can't we buy?! Everytime we just see, see, see. It's soooo boring!"
Me:"Really? So boring? Okay, then we shouldn't see at all next time. No more shopping. Come, let's go."
Isaac:"No! We should BUY! Seeing is so boring! Should BUY! Buy, then more fun!"
Me:"Seeing is fun! It's more fun than buying. When you buy, you need to pay money, then you bring the thing home, at home already so many things, no place to put."
Hubbs:"Isaac, we should only buy things we NEED."
Me:"Yeah, see, you can only BUY things you NEED. But, you can SEE - EVERYTHING! Even things that you don't need, you can SEE! Isn't that great!? It's so fun!" (Hubbs sniggers in the background)
Me:"Ah! Isaac, you know what?"
Isaac:"What, Mummy?"
Me:"Let's go home and make our own watering can! Let's take an empty plastic bottle, poke holes, then you have your watering can already!"
Isaac:"Yes, Mummy! That's a great idea! Now, we just need to make a handle!"
Me:"That's right! Oh wait! If we use the Meiji milk bottle, it even comes with a handle!"
Isaac:"Oh yes! Let's do that!"

Phew! And another episode has been averted. 

I wonder where they get these notions that "buying is fun" but "seeing is not fun" from. When I was a child and buying was not a real option, I certainly derived loads of joy from "seeing". Ah well, next time, we'd just make everything. At least that's an activity I like! :p


  1. Seems like I'm having the same problem as you too :)
    My kids also like to buy stuff which are not necessary & usually I will tell them that I don't have excess $$$ or ask them to save up to get the things they want to buy. They will complained that why daddy & mummy can buy things like clothing & other stuff. My hubby will tell them," If we don't buy clothing to wear, then how to look presentable to go to work?". Haha...I guess they have nothing much to rebuke for our reason to buy clothes :P

    1. Yeah it's never ending! But I can recall that I used to be like that as a child. It's really just that they don't know the concept and the value of money yet and that it is not easy to earn money. Think it's just a phase that all would have to go through!

  2. I like the making watering can part. Post it when done! :)

  3. We tell E that he gets to buy toys only on special occasions (like his birthday or Christmas) or he can badger grandma to buy (haha just kidding).

    There was once he told me that he wants to go for a holiday where there is snow. I told him it's very expensive and we don't have the money. He said, "Just go to the machine and get, the one where the money comes out."

    Wah, he thinks ATM dispenses money freely. I also wish!!

  4. I shall be the bad guy and buy him a watering can (from Daiso). Lol!

  5. I shall be the bad guy and buy him a watering can (from Daiso). Lol!

  6. Happens to me too espcially when I step into a toy shop or even Daiso.. Sophie will be grabbing things off the shelves even when I try to stop her. Sometimes I will see what she wants and ask her why she wants it. She'll also give me the "because I need it" if "because I want it" doesn't work.

  7. Isaac is absolutely clever, ...having fun reading your blogs. Nice:-) Can't wait to read the continuation of this story, making watering can...


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