Saturday, August 06, 2011

Retail therapy

On Friday, the kids had dentist appointments. And the second thing we had on the agenda was to complete all of our back-to-school shopping. To Mallory, this meant the culmination of six months of watching and waiting, as she has had a backpack picked out for just about that long. She passes by it at least once a week on a regular field trip with Cindy, and possibly again if we are running errands in the same vicinty, and every single time she stops to make sure it's still there and fawn over it (and beg me to get it for her).

So I told her that Friday was the day, and she was beside herself. She could not stop talking about the dentist appointment to be followed by the shopping trip. She was totally gung ho. We walked into the dentist's office and all went back to an exam room, where Liam breezed through his appointment. I don't know what it was, but something must have spooked Mallory, because when it was her turn to get into the chair she clamped her mouth shut and refused to open it.

This was not the first time she went to the dentist's and the last time, she had no problem with it. Like I said, I have no idea what has gotten into her. I begged, pleaded, and finally threatened: you open that mouth, or there is no backpack for you.

No dice.

Having wasted enough of the office's time, I called it quits and marched her up to the front desk to pay. Liam was allowed to pick a treat out of the treat jar. The hygienist tried to sneak a treat to Mallory but I caught her and said no way. I also informed Mallory that there would be no backpack today. She was being quiet about it, but there were tears streaming down her face. (Good! I thought.)

Finally, when I was halfway through paying the bill, Mallory told me she was ready to reconsider. I marched her back down the hall to the dentist's chair. They said they still had time to look at her. They skipped the polish and fluoride and x-rays, but at least she opened her mouth and they got a visual.

Even though it wasn't a complete checkup, I decided to get her the backpack anyway. She would need it for school, after all. We went straight to the mall and up the escalator and she marched over to where the backpack was. Except that it was gone.Here she is, not quite sure what to make of the situation. Luckily they had merely moved the display inside the store. Here she is with her purchase:After that errand, we went down the street to the toy store, and got her the dual-sided lunch bag she also requires. I wasn't allowed to take a picture of that. Apparently I was embarrassing her.

And then, after being a sweet and patient saint, it was Liam's turn. I turned him loose in a department store with his Grade 1 school supply list. He read almost the whole list by himself, and had a wonderful time running back and forth in the aisles to collect everything he needed. "Twenty-four pencils!" he crowed. I think the volume of supplies delighted him. "Six erasers!" As if picking out the supplies themselves was not enough fun, Liam had to factor some decision-making into the process. "I need six erasers. And these ones have two in each pack. So I could get three of these and then I would have enough. But these erasers have five in each pack, so I would need two packs, but I wouldn't need all of the erasers, so maybe we could leave some at home." There he was, doing math in his head without even knowing it.It was a stinking hot day, and one of my last Happy Fridays of the summer. I'd given the kids three choices for the afternoon, all involving water. We could swim at home, we could go back to the new splash pad, or we could go to the beach. I thought they wouldn't be able to contain their excitement over their choices. But in the end, we stayed home, dipping into our backyard pool for only a brief time. The kids had way more fun spreading their school stashes out on the living room rug, taking stock of their goodies, arranging and re-arranging and filling pencil cases and figuring out how to stow the thermos inside the lunch bag inside the backpack. No further entertainment was required.

(According to the dentist, Liam has FOUR loose teeth! Barely-perceptibly-loose, but loose nonetheless. He's going to look like the guy from Meet the Robinsons who can't find his dentures pretty soon. It's going to be a hoot.)