The Case of the Shopping Spree, Part 1

Katherine turned 8 this week.  I know a lot of parents who comment “I’m just not old enough to have kids this old!”  Well, I can honestly say – I feel old enough to have an 8-year old.  I would love to know when the two curves intersect, though.  You know, one curve showing the age of my child and the other curve showing my perceived age.  For those other parents, those two lines have apparently intersected, after which “I’m not old enough to be your parent!” becomes the mantra.  For me, they still feel like they’re roughly parallel.

But, back to the birthday girl.  We surprised her with a few gifts, but CJ wanted to take her out shopping this year.  Katherine decided that she wanted to get a detective kit.  According to Katherine, any respectable detective would need a nice magnifying glass, a pair of handcuffs, a fancy notebook, a tweed coat, and so on.  (And yes, the tweed coat really was Katherine’s idea.  I suspect she’s been reading our Sherlock Holmes collection surreptitiously.)

At any rate, the only thing that CJ and Katherine were able to find on their shopping list was a pair of toy handcuffs.  Just the fact that it made it on the list caused a raised-eyebrow.  There are all kinds of ugly situations brewing at the Gilbert household, but I’m pretty sure “cuff ‘em Kat!” won’t solve most of them.

Instead of trying to finish out her detective kit that day, CJ and Katherine decided that she should switch themes and look for Disney Fairy toys, which they found scads of.  Katherine came home with a set of small fairy figurines, and proceeded to organize them by talent: water, tinker, animal, etc.  If nothing else, Katherine has a very organized imagination.

Now, of course, Lucy joined Katherine and CJ on this little outing.  Lucy is now 20 months old.  Lucy understands a LOT about what she sees and what she hears people saying.  She claps when people clap.  She laughs when they laugh.  If someone raises their voice, she yells too.  Did we REALLY expect her to blithely walk through a store filled with eye-catching, noise-making, wallet-draining items from floor to ceiling, and NOT expect her to want the aforementioned gems of wonder? 

CJ was happily looking over the shelves with Katherine and watching Lucy out of the corner of her eye.  When Lucy made her way back to the cart, CJ turned to find her holding two lunchboxes in one arm and dragging a backpack with the other.  She was grunting mightily with the weight of her treasure, especially when she started flinging them into the cart.  Don’t worry, Mom – I got this!

Then she found the Princess and the Frog Polly Pocket set.  The rest of the toy world was soon forgotten.  Nothing else mattered.  When she said “MINE”, you could hear all four letters being capitalized.  Now, CJ had already decided to buy Lucy a toy since she could see her sister getting a few.  If Lucy weren’t younger than 5 she might have settled with the Polly Pockets. (For those of you who are not aware, Polly Pockets are VERY small dolls, and have miniscule accessories – very not appropriate for a 20-month old.)

CJ calmly put the lunch boxes and the backpack back on the shelf.  Then she tried to take the Polly Pockets away, which Lucy was still holding.

Lucy tightened her grip.

CJ persisted.

Lucy clutched it her chest.

CJ pried her fingers off as gently as she could.

Lucy exploded into a writhing mass of toddler tornado.

All the way to the checkout.

Somewhere along the way, CJ found a much larger Tinker Bell doll that, once the age-inappropriate accessories were removed, would be perfectly fine for Lucy.  And oddly enough, once Lucy calmed down to focus on it she found that she actually liked the doll.

And peace settled over the land.

Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion to “The Case of the Shopping Spree”.

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