Monday, January 11, 2010

Yin and Yang, Part 3

As I have blogged about previously (here and here), my kids can be oh so different. They also share many traits, but I am sometimes struck by their differences. Like last week.

It was a rainy Friday after school and I needed a diversion from the fact that Daddy does not come home until 5:30. Jackson was obsessed very excited about some new software that Daddy was going to load that night. So we needed something to fill the time.

Enter: Christmas gift cards. The kids have been gifted books at Christmas and birthday by one of my closest friends since their birth. This year, my friend sent them each a gift card to a book store so that they could pick their own. Jackson actually had another gift card from the same store from his birthday. Perfect diversion.

So, I brought a snack for the drive from school to bookstore and off we went on mission: bookfind. I hoped that they wouldn't pick the first book they saw only because that would not kill nearly enough time. I shouldn't have worried.

As we entered the large bookstore, I steered them toward the far corner of the store, the kids' books section. On the way, we happened upon "Kids Bargain Books". As these apples don't fall far from this tree they immediately started looking for bargains.

I pointed out to Jackson a book entitled Ghost Stories. It was perfect: longish stories but with vivid pictures. "I might get this one, Mommy."

Then Jackson sees a book on the human body with a three dimensional heart protruding. "Look how cool this is? I might get this one too."

Meanwhile Sydney has found a Tinkerbell "Search and Find" book that appeals to her. But she puts it back on the shelf and says "I'm going to look at all these other books."

I pointed out to Jackson a book, UFOs and Aliens. "WOW!!!!! I am definitely getting this one!!!!" He said the same thing about Field Guide to Fantastic Creatures and 100 Greatest Inventions.

Each of these books cost about $15 so he's already at $75 in books and we're on the first shelf of the first section in the first couple minutes in the store.

Sydney was meanwhile systematically going through the books. She was taken with one called King Arther but mostly because it has dragons and things she knows her brother would like it (at least that is my assessment of it.) Girlie Goo went to on dismiss a series of princess story books, a book on weather prediction and several Disney movie-based books.

Jackson was exhibiting a nervous tick as he realized that his $20 gift card will not cover all the books he wants. I reminded him he has another gift card but I don't know the value. It must be at least $10, which means he has $30 or two of the prized books he can choose. He narrowed it down to his two favourites, UFOs and Aliens and Field Guide to Fantastic Creatures. He looked and felt pleased and proud.

We made our way to the actual kids section. Jackson was convinced that there was a new Wimpy Kids Diary book out there. He has all five of the series and I know, in fact, no new one exists as the most recent one just came out in October. But he was told by some kid at school this week that a new book just came out. I'm discovering that anything said by anyone in his class is treated as gospel and carries more weight than common sense, his parents, or even the universal fount of knowledge, Google.

We checked and sure enough, no new Wimpy Kid Diary book.

Sydney asks about the "real kids' books" so I direct her to a display of popular fairy books. They are above her current reading level, but I thought they might appeal. She flipped through about eight of them and then saw some other books closer to her reading level. She sat on the floor and flipped through book after book after book after book.  After 15 minutes, I started giving her suggestions "How about this Scooby Do one?" "Here is a Cinderella one!" and she compliantly went through those I suggested. Each one was returned to the shelf.

"Which ones look good to you?" I asked.

"Well, I like some of them, but I don't want to buy them." she said.

Meanwhile Jackson has discovered some Star Wars books that are well beneath his reading level but hey, if it's about Darth Vader with vivid pictures, who is he to turn it down? He looked longingly at them and somewhat anguished said "I don't know what to do."

By then I had received a $5 coupon to use at the store that day so I told him he could also get a Star Wars book. He went through several, and agonized over which one before settling on Darth Vader.

He obligingly followed his sister to the chapter book aisle where she looked at more fairy books, some Junie B Jones, First Grader, some Geronimo Stilton, some Captain Underpants and another half dozen popular series. Her arms were empty. Mine were aching from carrying around the tomes that Jackson has chosen to add to his library.

Sydney took us back to a book, intended for high school girls, which is a diary book much like Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It was Dork Diary or something similar. I thought this might be above her in terms of the language (a lot of OMG) and it was $18 for one book.

I steered the kids back to bargain books where I thought Sydney might find something. She went through many of the ones she had seen previously, and I directed her toward a new shelf where more bargain books were located.

After 10 minutes, Sydney had not settled on anything, but Jackson found another must-have: Fright Night. He anguished over what book to get when a helpful staff member came by and brought me a bag to hold the books and also took the additional gift card to ascertain its worth. We discovered it was a generous $20 so Jackson has $40 to spend. I agreed that he could have the three $15 mega books but we'd leave the Star Wars behind.

Sydney meanwhile tells me Dork Diary is the only acceptable book in the whole store. I consult with Daddy via phone who thinks it will be fine and no worse than the inappropriate TV we let them watch.

On our way back to Dork Diary we run into a clerk we saw an hour ago and she saw the fatigue on my face and offered assistance. I asked her if there are any diary type books geared a little younger and she brought us to a 4 book set of Dear Dumb Diary which was acceptable to all.

It was closing in on 2 hours when we lined up for my celebratory latte.

Yin = boy who gets excited about every book he sees.

Yang = girl who weighs the decision so long and so hard, she might still be looking 3 days later but not for store hours and Girlie Goo bedtimes.

One might wonder which one takes after me?? Well, both.

I remember at about age 4 I was pining for an allowance as my 7 year old brother received weekly. My parents had a rule about allowance starting in grade 1. But my parents, knowing how hard it was for me to see big bro receive his parental annuity, made me a one-time offer: I could order one thing from the Eaton's catalogue that cost $1. It was winning the lottery. Back then (mid sixties), a buck went a long way.

I spent hours and hours pouring over that catalogue. I'd run my choices by my parents, babysitters, any visitor to the home or Fuller brush lady that came to the door (anyone remember them??). After weeks, I settled on ordering some plastic dishes. I already has some so this was really an expander set. I actually remember having some regret over the decision as I chided myself for not ordering something NEW. Parenthetically, my parents kept my old dishes and my kids have played with some from this same set. They were not up to the rigours of kids in this millenium and most cracked under the pressure.

On the other hand, I have had a love of books ever since about grade 4 and long summer days spend voraciously reading Nancy Drew books. Even in lean times, I have made room for books in my budget, and I've been an avid library user for much of my life. I can impulsively buy books whereas most purchases nowadays I consider well.

So I guess each apple fell to a different side of this tree.

1 comment:

DramaMama86 said...

Hah! I wrote a post about Dork Diaries tonight on my own blog, as I didn't think it was appropriate for my daughter either -- and she's 9!