I sometimes bribe the boy with the promise of french fries if he behaves. He wasn't too awful, but we didn't stay long. (He let us know it was time to go by prostrating himself on the floor in front of a jewelry kiosk. It was awesome.)
We got out of there and went to lunch. We thought he'd be happy. This time, though, it wasn't french fries that he wanted. He wanted to go to the "Star Store," or Toys R Us. (There's a star in the logo, so there you go.) OK, eat your french fries, and we'll take a quick walk through the Star Store.
So my husband and the ten year-old waited in the car, and I took the boy into Toys R Us. He didn't wander or look around. He didn't notice the gigantic Monsters University display. He walked with purpose, making a beeline to the action figures. He hadn't been there in months, but he seemed to know exactly where to go.
The Phineas and Ferb toys. I took a quick look, and thought, OK, good. Nothing he doesn't already have.
He picked up a set of figures with a little car. $22. He hugged it to his chest.
"I want Phineas and Ferb toys, please."
"Yes, sweetie. You have these at home. Let's put this back."
"I want Phineas and Ferb toys! I WANT PHINEAS AND FERB TOYS!"
"You have these at home."
|This effin' thing.|
That's when I realized just how badly I'd screwed up. See, it didn't matter that he already has these toys. It also didn't matter that he doesn't actually play with most of them. See, what mattered is that these Phineas and Ferb toys were in the box. He wanted them, but he was not going to get them. I'd be damned if I was paying $22 for a box.
I somehow got the box away from him and marched him out of the store without having to resort to the fireman's carry. I was so jazzed by this minor victory that I ignored the people staring at my sobbing son. I set my face in an expression that I'll call "determined serenity"--if there is such a thing.
By the time we got in the car, he was in full-blown tantrum. He was screaming, sweating, and kicking the back of my seat. The funny part is that while he was rhythmically and savagely kicking my seat, he was screeching, "PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!" Good manners! Then he noticed that our car was moving away from the store, and belted out, "GO THIS WAAAAY! GO THIS WAAAAY!" Our 10 year-old pointed out that he sounded just like Steven Tyler, and I about burst with pride. Not only did he handle his brother's meltdown with humor, but he also made an Aerosmith reference. Excellent!
Eventually, the boy wore himself down enough that my husband and I could hear each other over the screaming.
"I didn't want to set a precedent. And I sure as hell didn't want to spend $22 on a box," I explained.
"No, you did the right thing," my husband replied.
Just then, the boy took off his shoes and flung them at the dashboard.
"But you know," my husband continued, "whatever money you saved on not buying the toy, we will more than make up for in alcohol consumption tonight."