Last month I was allowed to spend almost a whole day with 4 year old Jeffrey. We had a ball.
One of my promises to him was we would go shopping at the store where everything costs $1, and he could pick out one item for himself and one for his brother who was almost 6 and at the hospital for a simple procedure.
By the time we got to the store he had expanded my largesse to include his two sisters and his mom and dad. Somehow he overlooked the family cat.
When it comes to shopping I am really a pretty organized person. So I suggested taking care of his sisters first because the stuff they would like was in the closest aisles. Jeffrey was more organized than I, so he made a beeline for the toy aisle, the last one in the store, but the first one in his heart.
Within three steps he had changed his mind three times. I reminded him he was only allowed to get one item for himself and one for his brother. It was obviously a difficult choice. I could understand this. It would be like turning me loose in a women’s clothing department with orders to buy only one item.
We decided he could put anything he wanted in the shopping cart, but the previous choice had to go back on the shelf. We worked our way very slowly down the aisle. At the end of the aisle we had to return to the first stop because he wanted to dump the last item for the little binoculars he had chosen first for himself and his brother.
Next we took care of the sisters. I showed him some ceramic baskets. He said, “OK, just make sure one is pink and one is purple.” He did know their favorite colors.
Then we began to check out the aisles for Mom and Dad’s gifts. I pointed various things I was sure his mother would like, but he didn’t think so. Finally he spotted a dustpan with a long handle sitting at the end of an aisle. He brandished it proudly as the perfect gift for Mom. I tried to put it in the cart, but he insisted on using it like a cane as we continued through the store.
Choosing a gift for Dad was a real challenge. He looked at tools and cookies, but found perfection in a plastic wastebasket, a blue one, which was in the middle of a stack of green ones. We huffed and we puffed, and finally got them separated.
We were heading toward the cash register when Jeffrey said, “Look!” He was pointing at a shelf full of colorful metal bells with wooden handles. “My daddy would like one of them!” We took the wastebasket back and returned the bell shelf.
It quickly became apparent not just any bell would do. We stood there and rang every last bell until we found one with the perfect sound. It was the second one we had rung.
Again we headed for the checkout, but Jeff said, “We need candy!”
I calculated quickly and figured six gifts, $6. I could afford the candy, and we were standing right beside a display of varicolored Easter sweets. “OK, pick out what you want.”
“No, not this. I want real candy,” and he flew off in another direction. I caught up with him in the aisle where the chocolate candy was. There is a lot of his grandma in that boy.
We paid the bill and headed for the door. Jeff was still using his mother’s new dustpan like a cane. But, when we stepped outside he noticed it was raining, so he quickly turned it upside down, lifted it up over his head, and walked to the car with his own imaginative umbrella.
It was time to take Jeff and his gifts home. He had as much fun distributing them as we had shopping for them.
We also “did lunch” that day at a local kiddy hamburger haven. This was another real adventure. I’ll tell you about it another time.
Author’s Note: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate March 28, 2001.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.