Thursday, April 03, 2008

Who's On First?

The kids have been looking forward to a book fair at their school for about two weeks. Yesterday they got to go down and peruse the offerings. Today and tomorrow, they get to buy what they have money for.

You may not know this about Joshua, but he is already training up a powerful shopping addiction. The child likes new trinket. It can be the cheapest, crappiest Happy Meal, Dollar Tree, plastic, made-in-China piece of soon-to-be garbage, but for the ten minutes that it takes for the new to wear off, he's on a high most people would need a Big Gulp full of bath tub crank to achieve. So as you can imagine, he was quite eager to make sure he'd be able to purchase something at the book fair.

"Mr. C said we need to bring five or ten dollars to buy something with," he told me repeatedly on the ride home from school yetserday. Ten dollars, really? That seemed a little steep for a first grader. I settled toward the lower end of that range and mentally planned to give each kid $5 for the fair. Or more accurately, to tell Big Daddy to give each kid $5, because I never have any cash. Never one to wait once he's got something on his mind, though, he started right in on the calculations and the money round up as soon as we got home. He somehow had three dollars, including two that he "found" somehwere. I'm still not sure where that came from, but my don't ask, don't tell policy kicked in once his mumbled explanation left me more confused than I started out. Apparently there was a "How to Draw Pokemon" book that he wanted for $4.99, but also some other book that cost $3.50. Gradually he came up with a zip-lock bag containing the three dollars of questionable origin plus a lot of quarters given to him by Calvin, which he may or may not have gotten from the jar of change BD empties his pockets into daily, all of which added up, allegedly, to about $6.50. "That's great!" I told him. "That's plenty of money to get the Pokemon book you wanted." This made him really happy. For a minute.

"But Mr. C said we need five or ten dollars to take. "
"Right," I replied, a little confused, "you have $6.50 to take."
"But that's for the book I want. He said we needed money to get something at the book fair."
"Yes baby. You have six dollars and fifty cents to take to the book fair to buy the book that you want."

We went on like that for a few rounds before he sighed deeply and said in his frustrated voice "I know! I just got a little confused up here," he said, pointing at his temple. He still did not have it straight, I could tell, but he wanted to drop it, so I did.

When I told this story to BD later, he said "But we're still not worried?" This was in reference to a sort-of on-going discussion we have about this particular offspring's level of normalcy. Joshua is really a lot like I was as a child. He's kind of off in his own little world, gliding through the blur of days somewhat obliviously. His occasional cluelessness doesn't bother me because I know what it's like to be that child, and because in most ways he's totally normal. Or as normal as he can be as the oddball in an odd family of kids.


Shannon said...

did he think there were toys to buy also?

RJA said...

Shannon's comment just adds to the confusion.

warren said...

From my own experimenting, a big gulp full of bath tub crank will lead to those symptoms you describe.

Stephanie said...

The paragraph about all the money he kept producing really made me laugh! I'll tell you, Connor is the same way about a new trinket. Doesn't matter what it is- he is just overcome with joy to have something new.

Stacey Greenberg said...

yes satch and jiro are the same way about NEW. i don't think JP is not normal.

Rita.the.bookworm said...

Yeah, that sounds normal, at least for our family. It was just a little burp of confusion, with what he'd originally had in his mind (a concrete 5 or 10) to buy whatever called out to him at the moment vs. the concrete uneven $6 and change (how much more variable can you get without adding pennies or irrational numbers???), to buy something that he'd already decided upon. It was that huge dichotomy between the vision in his head of how it WOULD be and then the reality of what it was turning into.

I dunno, that's how it was for me, and it seems to be the way of my kids, too. Something so big and hyped up as BOOK FAIR mixed my wonder of the world with my anxious tendencies to make up a whole scenario in my head of how it would look, feel, be and how I would navigate it with possible grace. So many obstacles--the books, the choices in that alone, and then there was the whole handling money without looking like an ass aspect. Would I indeed have enough? Would I make the right BOOK CHOICE, would the lady at the cash box cheat me out of change and make my mom yell at me? See? So very many things to fret over and turn around in your head. So, then I'd say he was just a little taken aback when things got mixed up and his fantasy popped and it was all different. When I get into those conversations of insurmountable confusion with my kids (even the easygoing one gets anxious over some of these things where they're told to do something some specific way), then I kind of just let it fizzle out because it's just some reconciliation in their head that needs time to work out and they do, in a short time, get it.

At least that's my interpretation of it a million miles away being told the story through a bit of black and white. Maybe it's all wrong, lol.

Secret Agent Mom said...

I think he thought there was an entry fee. Because it's a book fair!

The Saucier said...

My nephew is sneakier than you think. That was a straight out con job for some extra cabbage. Do you have two tens for a five? Suckers.

Anonymous said...

They do sell little junky toys at the book fair...scholastic knows it's target buyer and knows that they need to have a variety of offerings, besides books. Hunter bought that Pokemon book too.