Before I had children, I loved the Laura Numeroff books.
If You Give a Moose a Muffin
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
If You Give a Pig a Pancake
Now they just hit too close to home to be funny.
My children are the Moose, the Mouse and the Pig.
There is no end to their string of requests.
A big ball of string.
A big ball of never-ending string.
Unlike the Moose, the Mouse and the Pig, there doesn’t seem to be a coherent reason for the next necessity.
If you give a pig a pancake she’ll want some syrup to go with it.
If you take a boy to the pool to play he will ask for a box on the way home.
If you give a mouse a cookie he’s going to ask for a glass of milk.
If you give a boy a cookie he’s going to ask for 3 more cookies, a trip to the park and a piece of scotch tape.
Very long and winding non sequitur.
That is the root of the problem. It appears that the Moose, the Mouse and the Pig are more reasonable than my children.
I am raising kids who are less reasonable than fictional barnyard animals.
Lately I have tried preempting the post-offering request:
When we go to the pool, mommy will decide what else we do and where we go and who we see and you will thank your dear mother for the trip to the pool and thank God for such a sweet mother.
When I give you this cookie, that is it. I would be glad to offer a glass of milk to drink with it, but nothing else. Not even scotch tape.
The basic problem with the preemptive post-offering request is that I am not as creative as my children and can’t even come close to covering all the crazy demands that they find so important.
So I just say NO.
And they just say WHY.
And I find myself in some crazy explanation why I don’t carry a box of 1000 paperclips in my purse that they need, that we can’t drive to China and that Venus Flytraps don’t usually eat people and aren’t sold at Target so we won’t be buying one today.
And this is where my boys could learn a lesson from the Moose, the Mouse and the Pig: Reasonable requests are hard to turn down.
Of course you can have syrup with your pancake.
Of course you can have milk with your cookie.
I would need some syrup and milk too.
How can you have pancakes without syrup?
How can you have cookies without milk?
And while we are on the subject of things we can learn from fictional barnyard characters, I would like to point out that the mouse swept the entire house then washed the floors…