Monday, January 7, 2008

The Toy Store

So this was my genius idea for 2007 . . . let Beren set up a toystore to sell all his "outgrown, damaged, and too much hassle to keep any longer" toys to make room for the new installment of Christmas loot. But wait, there's more! Not only would he get to set up and run the store (an activity I knew he would love) but we would pay him real cash money for the toys AND he could use the money he makes from selling his toys to buy Christmas presents for us. Win, win, win! This might not work with every child, but Beren is just the right age and temperament for this sort of scheme. He was awesome during the weeding out process. We must have jettisoned 2/3 of his stuff. He had one wobbly moment regarding an oversized, plastic VW Beetle, but I was happy to relent in light of the gargantuan pile of puzzles, stuffed animals, and happy meal toys that we had already exiled. It was so funny to hear him argue for and against certain toys. He's pretty logical for a four year old and had pretty good reasons for hanging onto the things he did retain. Even when I disagreed in some particular, I respected his position. For example, he felt we needed two toy cash registers because it cut down on fighting when friends came over and wanted to play store.

Because Beren had so many items to sell, we (Eric and I) had to come back to the store several times as different customers. Some were fairly memorable. Eric came back once as a shoplifter and Beren had to really bring the hammer down. He ended up calling the police I think. And he was very considerate of me in my "Old lady" get-up. After helping me choose toys for my fictional grandsons and assisting me with my cane, he spontaneously offered to take me to the Doctor once his shop closed. One of Beren's favorite aspects of running his toy store was using his cash registers and his ATM. We used real money so he had to do some quick calculations. Fortunately, one of the cash registers has a built in calculator and customers (excepting the nasty shoplifter) were suprisingly honest about the volume and pricing of their purchases. All in all, it was a lot of fun for our family and created some nice memories. Eric and I both enjoyed the carefully selected gifts Beren got for us with his toy store money. He gave daddy a giftcard for hot chocolates and pastries for a special father/son outing at Border's Cafe and he gave me a magical mailbox that not only contained two chocolate oranges, but continues to fill up with complimentary notes, coupons for shoulder rubs, and one of a kind art creations (kudos to daddy for his creative assistance on this one). I like checking my Christmas box (I know I have mail when the flag is up) way more than the one on the side of my house!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Beren: *Pretending to be a vacuum cleaner while chasing and generally terrifying the cat around the house*
Dad: Beren, don't terrorize the cat!
Beren: But Dad, I'm a vacuum cleaner!
Dad: So?
Beren: Vacuum cleaners don't KNOW any better!


This is the book Beren requested for reading the other night when it was my night to read him stories and put him down. You might have noticed that it is in fact the Oregon Driver Manual. Yes, that's correct. I didn't get the link wrong. When he saw the puzzled look on my face, he said "I have to learn a lot more about cars, Dad."


I've been mostly dead all Christmas. Let me explain. No, there is too much, let me sum up. Buttercup is marry' Humperdinck in a little less than half an hour. No wait... that's not right. Ah yes, Christmas. It was good times. I need a vacation now, though.