The problem with good things is that they leave us wanting more. If I have a bite of delicious cake … I want more. I have some good sex…I want more. I try some amazing pure Columbian cocaine…I want more. The nature of pleasure is to desire more, more, and more of it.
Part of being an adult is learning to moderate the seduction of indulgence. We are expected to find balance because we have the foresight to understand that too much of a good thing is actually bad. Too much food destroys your heath. Too much sex gives you bumpy rashes. Too much drugs can kill you. Understanding boundaries is part of growing up. The alternative is to end up an addict.
The thing with kids is they don’t get it. They have no concept of time, so rationalizing the limitation of a certain behavior because of future consequences is futile. I can tell my kid “Look, if you eat all that chocolate you are going to feel sick and shit your brains out later.” Her response will always be “I don’t care.” It is up to me to moderate her intake, because left to her own devices The Munch just doesn’t give a fuck.
I’ve tried letting The Munch totally indulge, so she could do a little soul searching on this subject. The prevailing logic was that she would realize for herself the results of excessive behavior, and consider the impact the next time she is faced with temptation. Yeah. No. That really didn’t work. Saying to my four year old “Remember last time when you ate too much ice cream and felt really sick,” only resulted in yet another “I don’t care.” Whatever memory of the ice cream tummy ache from the past held no power over the delicious taste of ice cream in the present. I guess The Munch is very Buddhist because she only exists in “the now,” but the awareness of past or future effects is a pivotal part of learning restraint.
The Munch is relentless in her quest for more of everything. She is never satisfied and this is annoying as fuck. She will make a promise like “Mom, let me watch something. I will only watch one episode of My Little Pony I promise. Then you can turn it off and I won’t fuss.” So I let her because I trust her* (*want to get away from her) but when her stupid neon colored show is over, The Munch immediately says, “okay just one more. I PROMISE!”
While I admire The Munch’s commitment to negotiation, everything becomes a battle because of her inability to be content with what she just had. She will literally be eating a cookie while asking for another. I will be like “Dude, you don’t need to double fist cookies. Just relax and appreciate what you got!” But then she will start crying because I won’t give her another cookie WHILE SHE IS STILL EATING THE FIRST FUCKING COOKIE.
Here is my dilemma. I can’t tell if The Munch’s excessive wanting “more” of everything is a result of her age or a precursor to a struggle that she will battle with for the rest of her life. I don’t want my kid to grow into an adult with an addictive personality. That is how you end up in back allies doing things you really regret. And is a hard thing to overcome. It is difficult for me to distinguish between normal kid shit, and the makings of a person who is going to beat up old ladies to steal money for blow. It is a fine line, my friends.
Munch: Mamma, can I bring two lollipops to the beach?
Toni: No Munch. One is enough.
Munch: But what if I want another one? Let’s just bring two just in case.
Toni: Munch, that is excessive. You don’t want to feed that part of your soul. We all crave more, but it is pivotal to know your limits. Being greedy is a detrimental trait because you will never be satisfied, nor truly appreciate anything. Be grateful for what you have. You are so lucky and have so much abundance in your world.
Munch: Okay how about I eat one lollipop now, and we bring the other one for later.