Yesterday I took the kids shopping.
S. has recently started a school without uniforms, so she’s building her wardrobe. She’s also a slender, four-foot, four-inch, eight-year-old girl who loves wearing skirts and has definite taste. Finding something that suits her, fits her, and covers enough leg can be a challenge.
Little A., having just discovered the power and purpose of money, wanted to go to Target to buy a toy with his allowance.
Guess which part of the shopping trip made me want to gauge my eyeballs out with a rusty cash register?
In fifteen minutes, S. and I found a skirt she loved that didn’t fit, then one she liked that did fit, and then a top that we both loved. Done!
In some indeterminate, excruciating amount of time (I think we got sucked into a wormhole?), Little A. looked at every single toy in five aisles at Super Target. We looked at cars, trucks, tracks, trucks and tracks for cars, robots, cars that turn into robots, Legos that make cars, Legos that make robots, Legos that make cars that turn into robots, and Angry Birds.
Now, mind you, my kids have been educated in the brainwashing techniques of store design since birth. They KNOW the expensive toys get shelved at eye-level for them. Little A. knew he needed to be shopping the “up high” toys with his budget. Did he? Of course not.
If he had, then Mommy wouldn’t have gotten to say—67 BILLION TIMES—“That IS really cool, but it’s $16. You can save up your money or put it on your birthday list.”
After it became apparent that this ordeal would continue until we all passed out from exhaustion or starved to death, S. decided to help. Now, the finer points of letting people down gently still escape her, as does the art of sticking to the point.
Her tactful responses to her brother’s desire for $40 racetracks involved screeching in a pitch that made dogs in a three-mile radius wince, saying, “NO! That’s too big! You should get this.”
Then she would point out a small—but still too expensive—toy. “Oh, COOL! Look what this does!” And both children totally lost focus while admiring something HE CAN’T BUY! And then (67 billion and one) I said, “That IS really cool, but it’s $8. You can save up your money or put it on your birthday list.”
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Finally, Big A. called to see if we still planned to meet him after work. I gave Little A. five minutes to get it done and lifted him up to see the “up high” toys.
Happy and proud, he checked out all by himself, paying $1.07 in change to take home a Hot Wheels snowmobile.
Exhausted and flattened, I debated the merits of checking myself into a rubber room or giving Happy Hour a whirl.
S. asked if we could have pasta for dinner.