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i didn’t know that

January 17, 2012

Maya: “Mama, can I have a trip to Hawaii for my 7th birthday?”

When Maya asked me this question a few days ago, my first instinct was to embark on a long lecture about how spoiled she is, how she has no regard for money, and how she is totally out of line for asking something so ridiculous.

But then I realized that I have nobody to blame but myself for this outrageous question. After all, it’s not like she’s taken herself to New York and Paris.

Me: “Maya, did you know that some big people don’t ever have the chance to fly on a plane?”

Maya: “No, I didn’t know that.”

Me: “Well it’s true. And that’s just one of the many reasons why a 6-year-old should not be asking for a trip to Hawaii.”

Maya: “Okay. Sorry Mama.”

At this point I was congratulating myself for not flying off the handle and screaming at Maya. For not lecturing her about how lucky she is. For not taking away her toys or sending her to her room in an effort to teach her a lesson. And then…

Maya: “What about for my 16th birthday? Can I have a trip to Hawaii then?”

I didn’t even answer her. Instead, I made her get the broom and sweep the kitchen floor. Just because it seemed like the right thing to do.

142 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2012 12:38 am

    Parenthood is so so challenging :I

  2. January 17, 2012 1:37 am

    Makes perfect rational sense. 10 years later and she will be a big person. Totally acceptable gift at that point.

    But I am going to go out on a limb and say she just might make it to Hawaii before 16 🙂

    • January 17, 2012 9:03 pm

      You are so right. All she has to do is ask her grandfather…

  3. January 17, 2012 2:17 am

    I think you might be thinking deep down that it might actually be a good idea, but just don’t want to admit it yet. Have a think about it, as something tells me, this topic is not going away.

    Lovely view in the background.

    • January 17, 2012 9:04 pm

      I’ve been to Hawaii once…it was gorgeous. But I have no plans to go again! Maya will have to work it out herself!

  4. January 17, 2012 3:00 am

    Eeks Maya reminds me of me- don’t know if that’s a good thing! I remember one summer throwing a fit when I had to be India for the summer (i was living in London at the time) for family reasons rather than travel to Greece with my friends. Instead of being grateful that I actually have the means visit these places any other time in life, I was whining about how selfish my parents are- whoops! I guess we can all use the reminder to be grateful for all that we have because let’s be honest, it’s quite a bit! Yet here we are most of the time wondering whether to pay for a gym membership, go organic or not and so forth: we’re lucky to actually have these ‘problems’!

    • January 17, 2012 9:05 pm

      I think we all remember and cringe at some of the ungrateful comments that slipped out of our mouths. You are not alone! And yes, we are so lucky to have these “problems.”

  5. January 17, 2012 5:37 am

    This reminds me of me about 20 years ago when I asked my mom for an allowance. That is one lecture I will never forget!

    • January 17, 2012 9:05 pm

      Allowance! I remember asking a similar question once. Never again.

  6. January 17, 2012 6:37 am

    awwwww.. look at her..

  7. January 17, 2012 6:51 am

    Hey Doll!! I think it is BEYOND amazing you are able to show your child the world…most people don’t have that privilege at all, so its rad! I understand the lessons the you’re sharing, but come’on….there’s a part in there that wants to go to Hawaii too…….lol!!


    • January 17, 2012 9:06 pm

      My worst nightmare is to be the mother of a spoiled child! Forgoing a trip to Hawaii is worth making sure Maya’s not a complete disaster. 🙂

  8. January 17, 2012 7:10 am

    You should just take her now before she turns 16! 16=trouble!

  9. January 17, 2012 7:24 am

    She looks adorable. You should def take her – before you know it she will be asking to go holiday, without you or Ali! Besides, Hawaii sounds like such an amazing place to visit.

  10. January 17, 2012 7:48 am

    Hahahahaha – you guys need your own television show! And the view out of those windows is gorgeous. Oh how I miss multi-story buildings.

    • January 17, 2012 9:07 pm

      I can’t imagine how much worse Maya would be if she was on a TV show!! 🙂

  11. January 17, 2012 7:54 am

    Great response 🙂 It’s great that Maya is so worldly so young!

  12. January 17, 2012 8:32 am

    Maya looks so adorable! You should take her to Hawaii, especially since she’s still at the age she asking to go with Ali and you. Before you know it she’ll be asking to go on holidays with her friends!!

  13. January 17, 2012 8:55 am

    ahahaha! I guess it seems logical… she’s technically bigger then…

    • January 17, 2012 9:08 pm

      I think she’s been watching my Super Sweet 16 when I haven’t been around…

  14. January 17, 2012 9:20 am

    hahah. you’re a great mother!

  15. January 17, 2012 9:30 am

    Yeah, it’s definitely good that she is well traveled. She’s lucky. I think you are doing a good job of at least TRYING to keep her grounded! It’s gotta be a hard balance. She looks like a sad but lucky little Cinderella in front of that awesome city view.

  16. January 17, 2012 9:48 am

    Maya is such a doll. She reminds me of Cinderella… lol. You know, she is definitely privileged, but that’s what every parent wants for their child, an opportunity that they may not have had growing up. I would do a trip to Hawaii, followed by a trip to India to show her how truly lucky she is. Till this day when I travel to India, I return humbled every single time.

    • January 17, 2012 9:09 pm

      I really want to take Maya to India – I think it was one of the best things my parents did for us kids!

      • Jaya permalink
        January 19, 2012 4:52 pm

        Amen, Ameena! I credit a big part of my budding sense of social justice and simple living to Tose childhood visits to India. Oh, and I’ll also never spend $3 on a juicebox of that gross trendy coconut water after drinking the real thing for a few pennies. Don’t even forget me started on eating fresh samosas, jalebi and custard apples…YUM!

      • January 21, 2012 8:45 pm

        Jaya – I suddenly feel the need to go to India and eat something amazing right off the street….

  17. Lady Jennie permalink
    January 17, 2012 9:52 am

    That was funny. But I may have granted her request just for the chance to go to Hawaii!

    • January 17, 2012 9:09 pm

      Luckily I’ve already been to Hawaii – no need for me to go again!

  18. January 17, 2012 10:09 am

    slave labor, that’s good right there. Heh.

    • January 17, 2012 9:10 pm

      Having kids is all about free labor! And she’s finally old enough to provide some. 🙂

  19. January 17, 2012 10:13 am

    I struggle with this as well. Obviously on a different level than your family, but it’s a balancing act all the same. I grew up with so little & I have such an appreciation for everything I have I want my children to have a grateful spirit as well.

    I think we are the best judge of our own children and teaching them to work and take responsibility. No matter how much you have or don’t have appreciation can always be learned.

    But heck if I had the money, I would fly my whole family to Hawaii today!

    • January 17, 2012 9:11 pm

      I grew up with more than enough but my parents had 3 kids so it was definitely not the same as it is for Maya. Having only children can be tricky when they are on the receiving end of everything!

  20. January 17, 2012 10:23 am


    Hawaii sounds exquisite.

    Xxx Can I go, Mama?

    • January 17, 2012 9:11 pm

      You can go but then you’d be responsible for Maya’s vomit from motion sickness. 🙂

  21. Mariposagirl permalink
    January 17, 2012 10:43 am

    Maybe I should ask for a trip to Hawaii for MY next Birthday!

    Maya is on to something.

    this is one big kid who’s BARELY been on a plane, let alone a trip to paris or anywhere that required sun screen.

    Cabo was it and that was because my Dad took me. and BOY I loved it!!!

    Maya has a great life….SMILE MAMA!

    • January 17, 2012 9:12 pm

      I haven’t been to Cabo yet! I totally want to go. As will Maya, I’m sure.

  22. Piya permalink
    January 17, 2012 10:58 am

    Maya is a smart girl 🙂

  23. January 17, 2012 11:32 am

    I think thats an exceptional gift for 16th birthday…right? I’m spoiled too…

    • January 17, 2012 9:12 pm

      I think I asked for a stereo for my 16th birthday. I guess I’m old…

  24. Tandra permalink
    January 17, 2012 11:54 am

    Hehe…Reading this sure made my day…Maya is soo smart…and she is soo cute…

    • January 17, 2012 9:13 pm

      Glad I could make your day. And you just made mine by saying so!

      • Tandra permalink
        January 19, 2012 6:09 pm

        You are welcome, all said and done though, I completely agree with your stand. I know you can probably take her to Hawaii a bunch of times, but it is important for her to know the ground realities and appreciate her privileges…I try everyday to make my son ( who is Maya’s age) realize such stuff. And as you say visiting India did make a difference for you, I hope that it leaves some impact on him as we leave for a 6 week vacation soon. He has visited earlier too, but he was too young to remember. This time though,I hope he has a memorable trip but comes back with some realization of how grateful he (or we) should be for so many things that we take extremely for granted !!!

      • January 21, 2012 8:44 pm

        Safe travels Tandra! I hope that your vacation is fabulous and that your son has a memorable trip for many reasons….

  25. January 17, 2012 12:16 pm

    Owww…. Maya is adorable & smart! I would say yes, just because I’ve never been to Hawaii myself either .. 🙂

    • January 17, 2012 9:13 pm

      Luckily I’ve been to Hawaii so I’m not tempted to say yes!

  26. Katie permalink
    January 17, 2012 1:16 pm

    Great story. 🙂

    I never flew until I was in college. I haven’t been out of the US (and I’m nearly 30). My parents have never flown in their lives, much less been out of the US. I consider myself entirely lucky to have done the little I have (which includes Hawaii!). I want my kids to experience the world, if I am able to afford it. But I also want them to know that they are lucky to be able to do so and to be humble.

    A friend posted on FB the other day how her high school son was complaining that her ideas for their Senior spring break weren’t cool enough – trips to Mexican resorts, etc. Someone commented, and I wholeheartedly agreed, that ANY trip should sound cool. To be so lucky to be able to have all that ever in one’s life, much less at a young age, is a privilege and wonderful thing all at once. I wouldn’t ever make her feel guilty for it, but I would definitely hope she appreciates both you and the privileges she has in her life. 🙂

    • January 17, 2012 9:14 pm

      I love this comment. What I want to know is how I raise such a well-adjusted, kind, and appreciative person like yourself. I would love to get some tips from your parents!

      And yes, ANY trip is cool – well said.

      • Katie permalink
        January 24, 2012 11:42 am

        Whoa now, don’t get too excited – I’m not sure I’d go as far as to say I’m well-adjusted! 🙂 haha But thanks, and you’re doing great. Sometimes I learned the most from doing the opposite of my parents. It all works out.

  27. January 17, 2012 1:49 pm

    Why do Indian parents follow any request with a nice long lecture. Oh and the”there are are poor kids, who cannot afford things” speech, still don’t understand the point in making me feel guilty.

    Give her some credit, Ameena. She apologized and moved her request forward to her 16th birthday, I mean it will be sweet sixteen celebration after all.

    PS: I may have to change my perspective in a few months 🙂

    • January 17, 2012 9:15 pm

      Oh you’ll change your perspective…I guarantee it. 🙂 It’s inevitable!

  28. January 17, 2012 2:47 pm

    just when you thought it resonated! I think she’ll get it someday soon, long before 16.

  29. January 17, 2012 2:51 pm

    LOL! Maya is adorable with her sweeping 🙂

  30. January 17, 2012 3:10 pm


    is that broom purposely for her size?

    • January 17, 2012 9:57 pm

      Yes – it was part of a kid’s set! It’s actually a really cool broom…I use it myself!

  31. January 17, 2012 3:14 pm

    Can’t get over the floor to ceiling windows in your apartment!

    I love how Maya calls you “Mama”…so cute.

    • January 17, 2012 9:57 pm

      She tried “mommy” for a while but I wasn’t having it!

  32. January 17, 2012 3:48 pm

    Six year olds forget easily, but sixteen year olds? Hehe, you’ll need to be ready then! (But nice deflection :P)

    Sounds like something my mum would have done as well. Except in my case it would have been me asking to go out clubbing with my friends at age nineteen.

    And her making me stay home and clean my room “because it’s filthy” or go to some random family friend’s house instead.

    • January 17, 2012 9:58 pm

      Oh yes…being forced to go to the “family friend’s house” was punishment enough. I totally can relate!

  33. January 17, 2012 3:57 pm

    Good for you!!! You are a great mom 🙂

  34. January 17, 2012 4:47 pm

    Those over-privileged Big Bloggers who take everything for granted would have benefited from a mother like you.

    • January 17, 2012 9:59 pm

      It’s my dream that someone – anyone – will benefit from my crazy parenting tactics! 🙂

  35. January 17, 2012 4:59 pm

    hahaha Maya is hilarious. Good thing she’s cute eh?

  36. January 17, 2012 5:36 pm

    Haha! She sounds pretty awesome 🙂

  37. January 17, 2012 5:58 pm

    Well, heck, if she can’t have the trip to Hawaii can I? :)~ I sent Alex off to sweep today as well. Gotta put them to work once in a while, right?

    • January 18, 2012 8:34 pm

      I can’t wait until she can sweep and actually do a good job of it…

  38. January 17, 2012 6:13 pm

    I think that’s fair…make her wait until she’s 16. Hehe.

    And I think sweeping the floor is a good lesson most of the time.

  39. January 17, 2012 7:04 pm

    Now that is a gal who keeps her eyes on the prize!

    • January 18, 2012 8:35 pm

      I suppose she does have her priorities in order??

  40. January 17, 2012 8:11 pm

    I totally laughed out loud at the broom photo. My little brother (he’s 10) has been asking to go to the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. My family is trying to go to Ireland this summer and Daniel said, “it’s not going to be as fun as Atlantis!” Ugh.

    • January 18, 2012 8:36 pm

      I want to go to Ireland! Who cares about the Atlantis resort??

  41. January 17, 2012 8:35 pm

    You should give her kudos for trying. It doesn’t hurt to ask, right? She will make a great negotiator one day. On the other hand just think of the proverbial “carrot” that you have dangling on the stick. “Sure Maya, once you graduate HS and get accepted to Stanford (thinking west coast) we will celebrate in Hawaii”. Or would you like her on the East Coast instead? (Cornell/Columbia)

    • January 18, 2012 8:36 pm

      East Coast of course! I’ve already educated her on Harvard and Boston College and Georgetown…

  42. Ashwini permalink
    January 17, 2012 9:30 pm

    I remember asking my dad if we could go to Kashmir for a holiday, I was 10, maybe 11. And, his response – ‘If you want to die, please let’s do so here rather than travel all the way there and get shot!’ I dont think I asked him for another vacation.

    • January 18, 2012 8:37 pm

      That sounds like a typical Indian dad answer. They are usually dramatic and right to the point!

  43. January 18, 2012 2:06 am

    I was an only child until my half brother came along when I was thirteen, I still consider myself an only child. When you mentioned, “being on the receiving end of everything, that was me. My husband is the last of nine, can you believe that? I’ve learned a lot from him!

    As a mother I appreciate your example in asking Maya whether she “knew” these things. That’s a great tool to keep calm, one that I could be using a wee bit more around here. Thanks for your honestly, it’s refreshing. Take care,

    • January 18, 2012 8:38 pm

      9! Wow. I have the utmost respect for his mother – truly.

      And thank you for the compliment. I am so glad people appreciate the honesty!

  44. January 18, 2012 6:09 am

    Last line is awesome…ok, sorry mama! End of story haha!
    Your humor is amazing…love it!


    • January 18, 2012 8:38 pm

      Thank you for the compliment Katie! And for reading. 🙂

  45. January 18, 2012 10:45 am

    I’d be more outraged of such a request from a 6 year old if I wasn’t so busy drooling over you kitchen floor (granite?) and gorgeous view!

    • January 18, 2012 8:39 pm

      The granite kitchen floor is fantastic because it never, ever shows dirt!

      Thank you for the compliment. 🙂

  46. January 18, 2012 12:32 pm

    Pft….I would have made her scrub the toilet…with a toothbrush.

  47. January 18, 2012 4:31 pm

    When you book your tickets for The Big Island (invariably, you’re going to see a great deal in an advert in the next two weeks), I will not be saying I TOLD YOU SO. Rather, I will be whooping and cheering on Maya from the sidelines. Say what you will, she’s got a great grasp on using The Secret at such an early age.

    p.s. Sweeping would have been my first response too. That or attempting to fold laundry.

    • January 18, 2012 8:40 pm

      You are totally right! I think she’s channeling The Secret. Perhaps she watched an old Oprah episode behind my back?

  48. January 18, 2012 5:26 pm

    aww she is so sweet 🙂

  49. Leslie permalink
    January 18, 2012 5:53 pm

    You make me remember a funny story I heard Mary Matalin tell at a dinner in Washington DC. Before you think I’m a republican (democrats ftw!), her husband James Carville was there, too.

    She said that as she was dressing to go out that night, she implored her daughter Matty to behave for the baby sitter. Matty said she would be good for $1. (Clearly too many bribery stores around that family table at dinner.) Matalin said, “Why can’t you be like your dad and be good for nothing?”

    Laughter all around.

    • January 18, 2012 8:42 pm

      I love it Leslie! You have the best stories….

      And even if you were a Republican – no judgement. I am a Canadian after all! 🙂

  50. January 18, 2012 8:48 pm

    OMG! 🙂 I cannot believe ho candid you are … You know one day she will be reading your blog, right? Haha

    ♡ from ©

    • January 19, 2012 8:48 pm

      I’m sure she will be…and I can’t wait to hear what she thinks about her antics!

  51. January 18, 2012 9:40 pm

    I am laughing so hard at this. At first I thought she got out the broom herself as if the “work” would encourage you to change your mind. Had I grown up spoiled, that would have been my tactic.

    • January 19, 2012 8:48 pm

      That was totally my tactic when I was a kid! I’d make my parents tea to get back on their good side. Maya apparently doesn’t feel the need to do the same…

  52. January 18, 2012 11:05 pm

    Poor Maya, but I guess she will be on her way to Hawaii much before 16. :)..The view behind is awesome…

    • January 19, 2012 8:49 pm

      Her grandfather will make sure of that…and thank you for the compliment!

  53. January 18, 2012 11:41 pm

    Hmm…of all the places, why Hawaii? Gotta say though, girl has taste. Like mother, like daughter 😉 🙂

    • January 19, 2012 8:50 pm

      I agree – Hawaii was a random choice. Maybe a friend of hers just came back from there? Who knows??

  54. January 19, 2012 12:16 am

    Hawaii…hmmmm… kids can be very silencing sometimes 😀

  55. January 19, 2012 2:09 am

    Haha, the kid’s got guts thats for sure! I was also afraid to ask for extravagant gifts when I was a kid – still am actually! I’m never quite sure I deserve it/think my parents have paid for enough over the years (private schooling, university etc.) In all honestly though I don’t think Maya will grow up spoiled, (you and Ali make wonderful parents) especially not after your little broom trick!

    • January 19, 2012 8:51 pm

      You are one amazingly grateful child! I have my fingers crossed that Maya will appreciate things like private school tuition eventually…

  56. January 19, 2012 4:33 am

    Hahaha It’s almost as if you’re subconsciously trying to condition Maya to think that every time she asks for a trip, you’re going to ask her to sweep…that way she won’t ask you for a trip again. Kind of like associative learning but disciplining in this case. I don’t know if that makes sense! LOL

    • January 19, 2012 8:52 pm

      I didn’t think of it that way…but what a great bonus!

  57. January 19, 2012 5:38 am

    You do have to give her points for imagination and confidence. Maybe a ‘field trip’ to volunteer at a homeless shelter (one that is for families and has children in it) or a food pantry is in order for her. I’ve done that with Dudette and it’s sparked several good conversations.

    • January 19, 2012 8:53 pm

      I’ve taken Maya to many events where we pack clothes/food for the homeless..not sure how much sinks in at this age but I keep trying. A trip to India would be a fantastic conversation starter…

  58. January 19, 2012 9:39 am

    Well done Mama!!! You handled that like a pro – with poise, firmness and style. Not to mention the brooming was the perfect exclamation point to this story. But I do believe this lucky little girl will be on her way to Hawaii sooner than later 🙂

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

    • January 19, 2012 8:53 pm

      Thank you Devaki! I have a feeling you are right about the trip to Hawaii…

  59. January 19, 2012 9:42 am

    Hahaha! I once asked for something outrageous and my parents took me to our maid’s daughter’s birthday party. This was over a decade ago and I swear I’ve never had a fancy birthday celebration since then. Parenting is as challenging as it is fun and you’re doing an awesome job Ameena.

    • January 19, 2012 8:56 pm

      Thank you Gayatri…as Maya’s birthday approaches I wish she too could see how over the top her birthdays are…

  60. January 19, 2012 11:46 am

    LOL…this is so cute and such a smart child she is:-)
    It is actually scary sometimes to think what they’d do as teenagers considering they are so smart abhi se:-)

    • January 19, 2012 8:56 pm

      I totally agree! Kids are way smarter than we were at their age. Too much too soon I guess…

  61. olya permalink
    January 19, 2012 12:50 pm

    I remember asking my parents to take me to Japan the moment we stepped off the airplane from China and mom said that she will take me next year. It was a revelation for me that we’re meant to have a holiday only once a year.

    • January 19, 2012 8:58 pm

      I don’t even remember going on ONE vacation a year – I remember a handful total from when we were kids. I guess traveling with 3 kids was an expensive proposition for my parents….

  62. January 19, 2012 1:02 pm

    ha ha that was cutie, maya is smart girl and you are super smart mom, managed to beautifully 🙂

  63. January 19, 2012 3:59 pm

    $5 says she thinks that because she swept the kitchen she’s in like Flynn for the trip for her sweet 16th. I mean, she DID do an honest days work, you gotta give her that.

    • January 19, 2012 8:59 pm

      In like Flynn…I love it. I’ve never heard that before!

      And Maya has yet to learn what an honest minute of hard work is, never mind an honest day!

  64. January 19, 2012 5:00 pm

    I want a DSLR for my graduation, so there.

    • January 19, 2012 9:00 pm

      And I want a shirt from Bloomingdale’s…we are no match for Maya.

  65. January 19, 2012 5:04 pm

    Ah, you can’t expect someone that young to understand the concept of luckiness or expense or any of that, She’ll get it eventually.

    • January 19, 2012 9:00 pm

      I feel like she should get it now. I expect a lot from her! It’s a problem.

  66. caloricandcrazy permalink
    January 20, 2012 8:18 pm

    I was always afraid to ask my parents for things growing up. I still am to this day! It really irks them around the holidays though when they absolutely have no clue what to get me 😛

  67. January 21, 2012 2:53 pm

    ahahahahaha! well at least she still listens to you and now you have a clean floor 😉

  68. January 22, 2012 12:33 am

    Ha! You have to quit letting her read my blog. It’s giving her too many bad ideas. (But if you take her to Hawaii for her birthday, please be sure to invite me along. I promise to pay my own way…)

  69. January 22, 2012 4:51 am

    Ha ha..I loved the tag “why I yell so much at my kid”. I would have liked to say – give a break to the girl, after all by 16 she would have earned many brownie points for a nice vacation..But alas these words doesn’t help a mamma put in the spot by a cute & smart child!

  70. January 22, 2012 2:52 pm

    Hahaha.. You truly make parenting hilarious!!

  71. January 23, 2012 12:31 pm

    She is only six now…so, yikes 😉 At least it was not a trip through Europe 🙂

  72. January 24, 2012 12:01 pm

    Hey! At least she gave herself 10 years! 😉

    Brooming helps everyone IMO. 🙂

  73. May 7, 2014 9:56 am

    Hello! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa?

    My blog addresses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other.
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    Great blog by the way!


  1. an ounce, a grain, and a dash « Fancy That…Fancy This

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