I read Jenni’s post, “Leverage”, last week with amusement. Her son is about 6 months older than you, but I anticipated probably using Santa as leverage this year, too.
What I didn’t realize is that it also works the other way.
This morning I took you to Wal-Mart. I hate going there and so do you…unless of course there’s something in it for you. But I had to get Advil really badly, and your father worked late last night, so I wanted to let him sleep. I bribed you with the promise of selecting ONE toy (maybe a $1 Hot Wheels car), and off we went.
You picked up a shirt with your favorite Cars character almost right off the bat.
“I want dis,” you proclaimed. Ugh. $12 for a shirt, Disney? Fine. I guess you need clothes.
Two aisles later you declared your undying love of some fingerpaints. Messy, sure, but about half the price, so I let you choose them and put the shirt back.
We continued through the store that way, you trading up to a $30 art set, and then back down to a soft plushie penguin. I left the toy aisle for last, hoping to talk you into that $1 Hot Wheels car. Instead you latched on to a small set of bright yellow Tonka trucks, which were at least reasonably priced (although I didn’t realize until we got home that every single one makes some kind of obnoxious noise).
The trucks lasted through several temptations on the way to the till, so I thought that you had claimed your prize. Until we got to the checkout and you tried to trade again – for a massive bag of M&Ms.
“Uh, no,” I told you. “We aren’t getting those, sorry, buddy. Come on, it’s almost our turn.”
“I put dis back!” you protested, trying to set the trucks on the shelf.
“Sweetie, you can’t trade for those. We’re not getting the M&Ms. It’s the trucks or nothing,” I said firmly, moving ahead of you. “Come on, it’s our turn. Mama’s going to go pay now, you’d better hurry up or I won’t be able to pay for your trucks!”
A nice woman, there with her mother and her infant, was standing behind you watching with amusement as you muttered and paced undecided in front of the candy. Suddenly she gave a little whoop of laughter.
“Did you hear what he said?” she asked me. I shook my head.
“He said, ‘But I want them for Santa’!”
Oh yeah. That law degree is looking likely for you.