Boots and the really cool rainbow pointer
"Do they have Thomas books?" he'd asked that morning.
"I didn't notice, but even if they don't, they have a lot of things you'll like. But, remember, no toys," I said as I tucked his money into his backpack.
Yeah, I know it's risky trusting a 5-year-old but I thought Boots was good for it. He's usually careful with his money. Big Guy will fritter it away on lollipops and ice cream, while Boots keeps his eye on a bigger prize he's saving for. I was sure he'd make the right decision.
Bwa ha ha ha ha!
Boots nodded solemnly and said he understood what I was saying. That was the last I saw of him until he rang the doorbell, grinning, five hours later.
"I can't wait for you to see! You're gonna love it. Now, go into the kitchen while I get it out of my packpack. I want it to be a surprise," he said.
Seconds later, he summoned me. His hands were behind his back, his smile was gigantic. "Ta DA!" he shouted, pulling out a purple pointer. "Do you love it? Do you love it, Momma."
Oh dear. Here he was, over-the-moon excited, and I was going to have to be the buzz kill.
"Didn't I say 'no toys' " I asked gently.
"Oh, it's not a toy, Momma. It's a tool! See! It points!"
"But it's not a book," I said. "And besides, don't you have another pointer here somewhere?"
"Yes, but this one has a purple hand. And the stick is a rainbow!"
He had me there. The older model, which I had agreed to buy during a weak checkout counter moment at Hobby Lobby while we were on vacation, has a rather pedestrian green stick and a mundane white hand. I couldn't figure out for the life of me why he was so intent on having it, but he did at least make use of it. On the hour-long drive back to my parents', he acted as a human GPS, pointing and clicking his way home.
He couldn't wait to show it off to his grandmother, who was just as baffled as I. "What do you do with it?" she asked.
He rolled his eyes, exasperated at these silly, silly adults. "You point with it."
He hadn't used the older model in weeks, and I thought we were over the pointer compulsion. Ay, but that was before a purple-fisted rainbow model popped in front of his face.
When Big Guy got home, he wasn't nearly as gentle as I had been.
"Why did you buy that? Mommy said 'no toys.' Why didn't you listen?"
"It's NOT a toy," he boomed. "It's a tool." He whacked Big Guy across the nose with it to demonstrate.
I'm lucky to have a bunch of supportive friends on Facebook who have suggested other uses for the "tool." You can annoy cats with it. You can pester your mom as you watch TV. And, yes, it's also the ideal whack-a-bro tool.
As it turns out, it has some educational value as well. Later that evening, Big Guy managed to pry it away from Boots and spent ages on the patio, tracing numbers in the air. Really big numbers I didn't even know he knew, such as seven thousand, five hundred and 13.
7,500 ... 13, Big Guy drew in the air. It wasn't what I was looking for, but I have to admit, he had written exactly what I said.
For the second time that day, a kid had followed my instructions as he understood them. What the kid understood, though, was not what I'd meant.
To try to be perfectly clear this morning, I looked Big Guy square in the eye as I tucked his money into his backpack and said, "books only."
I can't wait to see how he spins that one.
Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.