I Might Have Sold My Soul for $4.00, But I Will Do Anything For My Children….Except Sell My Soul

Yup.  I am cheaper than Bart Simpson.  “One soul for sale, slightly used.  The deed to this property is already on hold by the Father-Almighty, but I’m willing to pawn for a little while.”

Yeah.  Bart Simpson sold his soul to Millhouse for $5.00.  I sold mine for $4.00, the exact cost of one box of Girl Scout cookies.  And, at this moment, I have over 200 boxes of Girl Scout cookies in my house awaiting to be sent to their new owners.

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The Boy reading to the Girl.

I am introverted.  As much as no one believes this, I am incredibly shy.  Asking people, even if I really like them, if they would be willing to buy Girl Scout cookies was a horrible experience because I had to talk to people even if I do like them and ask them to do something which might make them uncomfortable which makes me uncomfortable because I don’t like making people uncomfortable.  Vicious cycle.  I know.  Trust me.  I really do know this.

But the Girl took one look at the prizes on the Girl Scout cookie order form and saw that the Girl Scout demons were offering a stuffed animal cheetah if a girl sold 200 boxes.  And, of course, the Girl just had to have the cheetah because she was in love with how cute it was.  So, I took the order form to school and started the process of walking the halls and offering up my soul on behalf of my daughter.

At this moment, I am taken to Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening in which the main character, Edna Pontellier, understands that she loves her children and would do just about anything for her children, but she wouldn’t give them her very essence, her soul.

And, in some respects, I understand her, but not for the same reason.

Now, what I am about to say is going to sound whiney.  I am NOT whining.  This is merely fact and recitation of fact.

I give up a lot for my kids, sometimes because it’s just easier than fighting the kid-system.  Every time I turn on the television, the children come into the room and want to watch with me.  Soon, they start complaining about what I’m watching, declaring their boredom and misery with my adult-oriented show, and beg for the remote control.  Yup, hand it over.  It’s just easier.  My second childhood has been spent with hours idly listening to Disney movies, Barbie movies, and Spongebob.  I think my brain has decayed.

And I will give up just about anything to make sure that my kids are happy and safe and loved.  However, I won’t just give up everything.  Many times,  I will get the kids to…fight, struggle, barter, negotiate for what they want.

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The Boy and Girl in Germany

I love my kids, but I will not contribute to a generation that behavioral scientists have recently described as narcissists.  I really will give up just about anything to ensure my children are happy, but I still believe that children need to know what it means to work for what they want.

The Boy recently got an iPod for his birthday.  My husband and I helped pay for it.  We wouldn’t not buy it outright.  The Boy promptly dropped and dented his new iPod so the Husband and I agreed that we would buy the Boy a new iPod case.  However, the deal was that the Boy was going to have to pay us back.  Currently, the Boy is drooling over getting a smart-phone.  I think he’s nuts.  The Husband thinks the Boy is nuts.  The Boy thinks he’s logical (he’s not).  That’s okay.  The Boy will eventually learn what it means to save and scrimp for what he wants because the Husband and I are not going to fork over a smart phone when the Boy does not need a smart phone.  The Boy needs a reality check which won’t bounce.

The Girl, several years ago, bought herself an iPad.  Yes, she paid for it herself through honest labor and winning the hell out of a summer book-reading competition.  Yeah, I’m a bad parent and a bad English teacher.  I paid my kids to read books.  But, now they love reading.  Sue me.  I don’t care.  I traded my pedagogical integrity for children who are competent readers and literary analysts.  In the end, my daughter paid for a device that many children are now just being given without having to work for it.

I see this narcissism everywhere, and not just in the current adolescent generation.  Whether it’s the aggressive drivers who have to be in front so they can have those ten extra seconds at the stop light or the people who triple park so their car won’t be damaged, I see people operating without thought of others and only for themselves.  And I refuse to contribute two more members to a self-centered world that doesn’t realize we have only two poles, and they are north and south, not Mr. and Mrs. Wonderful.

I sold my soul for a stuffed animal cheetah.  And I’ve processed about half the boxes but realized that I wanted to eat a couple of oranges and sit back and write and say hello to the world.  Tomorrow, while my kids are washing dishes, sweeping the kitchen, taking out the trash and recycling, and cleaning up after the pets, I will finish processing the rest of the Girl Scout cookies.  And then, the Girl and I will walk around the neighborhood and deliver the cookies that she sold here which will be another nightmare of extroverted behavior on an introverted woman.

But that’s okay.  It’s for my Girl.  And she’s happy.  But she’s also seeing how the business world operates and that’s okay too.

By the way, Girl Scout cookies are still on sale.  Just $4.00 a soul….I mean box.

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