Finally took the people today to spend their birthday loot from their great grandma: $25 a piece. Standard, universal birthday gift from this well loved Granny. :)
We first popped into a small mom-and-pop type store selling "Educational materials and toys". Though I typically resist (subtext : detest) anything labeled as "smart" or "educational", i had gone in earlier this week with Lauryn and we found ourselves exclaiming at many, many cool things and we decided together to go back for the Big Birthday Shop. So we started our morning there, spending much of our time oohing and aahing; Lauryn marketing all the things she might like to have access to but not enough to spend her money to actually buy it, to Ryan. I fended her off on his behalf and he managed to find a super cool dinosaur puzzle book. Each page had a different category and the photo was it's own puzzle. He poured and poured over the book so much so that I encouraged him to spend his money on that. He was keen and we bought it. Lauryn, however, didn't want anything badly enough to part with her cash, so we left for another store.
The second store, fancy and 'rich-up' as it was, was less 'mom-and-pop-y' and more 'wealthy-business-owner-y' but still small and not too overwhelming. She picked up toy after toy after toy and either couldn't afford it or was unwilling to spend her money on it. I could see her weighing the cost/value ratio with the things that fit within her budget. Meanwhile back at the ranch, Ryan was LOUDLY playing with a great many stretchy-dragon, miniature car, molded dinosaur, chinese dragon puppet and anything else that was within reach and could possibly be imagined to shoot lasers and attack other things and people. (chwk! chwk! "I CHOOSE... PURPLE DRAGON! and GREEN DRAGON!!... (loud unspellable grating noises here)" Then the toys he chose would merge (he would actually kinda squeeze them together) and become a single, more powerful unit. We would battle. And I would lose. Every time. And yes, I totally played with their toys with him 'cause I knew that we were not "using up" any of the toys' inherent fun or harming the toys in any way.
And still Lauryn roamed.
She finally came to the conclusion that no, this store wasn't the right place; didn't have the right thing either. I asked if she wanted to go to the other conglomerate Toy Store. She agreed but was quick to point out that they also had "supplies for grown-ups" too.
I won't bore you and tell you how LONG we spent in the stuffed toy aisle and then even 10 million times longer in the Barbie sections. But it was LONG. Verrrrry long. I mean LONG-ONG-ONG-ONG-ONG. A revolving dialogue of Can I afford this? No. This? No. This? No. Aw MANNNN! This? Okay- anything more than twenty five is too much because that's what you have. Okay.
...So, can I afford this?
Not too long there after she kinda figured it the pricing thing out. How much is this? $40. Oh, too much. Is this one 38? Yes. Oh, too much. She was soon reading off all the prices and declaring whether they were too much or if she had enough. And after many long hours I finally heard it: Mom, this (fancy Barbie) is only 10 dollars!!! (me) NO WAY!! Nothing's that cheap in this store!
Off to the scanner we trooped and she was right! Then she soon found a PONY - a DISNEY PRINCESS PONY for TWELVE DOLLARS. I was like No Way that's right. And it was!!! So she got TWO things for UNDER $25 in The Conglomerate!
She was pretty proud of her buy! She loved giving the money to the cashier herself and toting her own big shopping bag (no, sorry not the reusable kind. I forgot it!) to the car. It was just after 2 by then and I asked what else they wanted to do for the day. We just wanna go home and play with our new stuff, they said. And I was happy to comply.
She was ecstatic when we got home. And played all afternoon with them. Of course, the pony was in the tub within an hour of being freed from it's plastic packaging.
As I said: Economics 101.