Saturday, November 15, 2008

Silver lining

I'm still tired, but owe the story.

So we're in Toys R Us buying a birthday present for a party on Saturday. The Boy is obsessed with Bakugan lately, so of course that's what he wants to get for his friend. But of course, wily creature that he is, he has also figured out that he has enough in his saved allowance to buy one for himself. One small $6 one. And while I really want him to be able to buy a birthday present for a friend WITHOUT also getting something for himself, I agree--it is his allowance, after all.

Toys R Us is one of the worst places on Earth, first of all. If you don't have to go in, I recommend total avoidance. It's floor to ceiling crap that no one needs, but the minute my kids hit the doorway, they suddenly!!! I have seen more tantrums and screaming in TRU than any other place.

But we agreed on 10 minutes in the Bakugan aisle, a quick visit to the baby doll aisle for Bitty Girl, and then home. Oh, I think I forgot to mention that this trip is Friday after a full day of school and after a trip to Fred Meyer where they had no Bakugans. Key detail omission, sorry.

We find the Bakguan aisle, scan the shelves, letting our eyes fall upon the completely empty racks of $6 Bakugan toys. Of course they have the $11 big Bakugan balls, the $23 set, and the $16 Bakubelt, as well as the $15 Bakugan shooter. Lots of lovely things for a birthday present, or for a holiday/birthday wish list, but nothing that you can afford when you only have $7-8 of your allowance money saved.

And your mean Grinch of a mom won't let you spend money you don't have. Doing you a favor kid, trying to make you follow in your father's financial footsteps rather than your mother's, but that doesn't matter in the aisle at Toys R Us.

He was heartbroken. Real tears and real sobs. Not a greedy tantrum, but seriously sad. He had his heart set on the Bakugan, he had saved his money, and he was so excited to buy one. He knows his birthday and Christmas are in 4 and 6 weeks, but that's like eternity when you're 5.
Luckily, I stayed calm and Bitty Girl behaved herself in the cart. We looked at the prices, explained what he could and couldn't buy, and talked about being disappointed. He kept crying, but picked out the present for his friend. Many other people came into the Bakugan aisle, commented on the lack of stock and the high prices, causing me to realize that this is the hot item of 2008 for young school-age boys.

I explained that he had $7-8 and he could choose to a) save it until we found a Bakugan or b) buy another toy that he liked. Here's where I was so proud. He dried his tears, with only a slight underlying sniffle, and found a Ben 10 action figure that he liked. He had trouble deciding, but agreed to get it. I explained that if he bought this one, he wouldn't have enough money to buy a Bakugan until after his birthday. Now he had to think. I said he could hold onto it while we went to see the baby dolls (little sister's choice). As we were walking over there, he said, "No, I decided I'm going to put it back and save my money for what I really want."

My heart skipped a beat. Seriously. At the age of almost-6, in the whole pre-holiday crush of nasty old Toys R Us, he managed to show restraint, prevent an impulse buy, and focus on what he really wanted. Granted, what he really wants is a $6 piece of crap plastic ball that opens when it touches a magnet, but we all have priorities.

So although he can be greedy and always wants more, even though he has far too much already, I was proud of him yesterday. He continued to cry all the way home, slightly eroding my pride, but I'll take it where I can get it.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Rachel, you are so funny. You call him "the Boy"...cracks me up. Matt