I'm not sure exactly how to explain it, but my 4 y.o. son has been in a constant state of "want" for the last few months. I would say 90% of the conversations we have start with "I want.."
a batman costume
a knight costume
a car that I can drive
an electric guitar....
he will often be fixated on on thing for a while (sometimes days, sometimes weeks) and then switch to something else. Often he goes back an forth. I wouldn't describe it as whining--it's conversational, just repetitive in our days and weeks.
Some of his wants are outlandish (car/motorcycle). Those which are not we tell him we will keep in mind for his birthday (which unfortunately is a few weeks before Christmas). His list for his birthday is now 10+ things.
This morning I took him to the zoo briefly on a special mommy son date. I followed his lead. He goes there often with his grandmother so he does see the animals frequently but (no lie) he spent way more time in the various gift shops (separate rant there!) than he did looking at the animals. I told him at the outset and repeated often that we did not come to the zoo to buy anything (and we did not). I have a suspicion that there was something in particular that he wanted but he didn't want to ask me because he didn't want me to say no to it. He did not have any tantrums but he did seem a bit disappointed with the outcome.
I wish I knew how to deal with this. We are not a family that buys a lot of stuff. We've been trying to simplify (which is why I tell him to wait for birthday/Christmas). He will often try to make himself the thing he wants out of tape, string, playsilk, etc., but he knows it's not the same and gets frustrated and then goes and on and one about how he needs XYZ.
Sometimes I try the "wouldn't it be cool if you could have XXX" game from How to Talk So Kids Will Listen...thinking that maybe he just wants to fantasize, but it doesn't seem to help and it seriously never ends. Any other ideas?
Can I assume it's a personality thing-? I know that my older brother and I differ dramatically in our spending habits (same parents, just two years apart). A preschooler thing? I don't mind saying no, especially when I know that whatever it is he needs right now will more than likely be forgotten next week, but I do wish I knew why it comes up so often!
Thanks for any insight!