I've been flooded with work, work & more work. So yesterday & today I've been stuck in front of the computer, trying to get through it all so I can do some fun things with the kids tomorrow and over the weekend (even if I have to stay up all night tonight to get it done).
But there was a nice surprise in yesterday's mail - my brother and his family sent the kids belated birthday gift cards, so of course we had to go shopping in the late afternoon, after much poring over catalogues to see just how far their money would go (which was an interesting little exercise in mathematics and value).
Once we hit the shop, the X-man headed straight for the Ben 10 merchandise - do NOT stand in the way of a 5 year old with a mission! There was much comparing and contrasting of various items - pyjamas or a shirt? Four Arms or XLR8 or Upchuck or Wildvine or (the new) Chromastone? Should he choose Season 3 of the TV show on DVD? A jigsaw? Microfigurines? A clock? A lunch tin? How much is this? How much will I have left? What else can I afford? If I put this back and get this instead, does that mean I can this as well? Will I get any change?
We had the same sort of questions with Miss Tizz, but also had to walk from toys to DVDs to sports equipment to books and back again. As someone who doesn't really enjoy shopping, it was frustrating, but as the mother of two young consumers who are learning about the value of money, it was gratifying to see them turn down some flashy plastic items as they realised that they'd become boring very quickly, certain books that they realised they could borrow for free from the library, Disney DVDs, and doubles of things they already had (even if it did have a different character on it). They also volunteered to put in some money together to buy an item they both really wanted, and Miss Tizz offered to give the X-man some money towards another item. Worth overcoming my impatience :)
Much as I'd like to keep them protected from our consumerist society, realistically they're going to be confronted with it sooner or later, and our strategy is to show them how it works from an early age, so when they're on their own, they can make sound decisions. So while we guided them yesterday, and discussed the pro's and con's of various items with them, ultimately they made their own decisions about what they would buy. We came away with a t-shirt, a Ben 10 figurine with a vehicle, a couple of DVDs (ones they will watch more than once), a game of Ker Plunk!, and a pink netball. Not all necessarily what I would have chosen for them, but chosen with thought - I'm proud of them :)