Toy-Buying Trip Provides Afternoon Of Excitement


Just for fun, I took the grandkids to Target on Sunday with the express purpose of buying them each a toy. Because I am a grandma, I get to do that.

But we do have a routine. I begin by piling them into a shopping cart where we rehash the reason they have to stay in there until we reach the toy department. I dramatically tell the story of when they were little and each ran off in a different direction, and I couldn’t catch them both at once. I was worried, worried, worried until a checkout girl found Skippy roaming around alone, almost crying. They love this story.

“Were we bad?” they eagerly ask.

“No, you weren’t bad,” I reply, just like I do every time I tell the story. “But you did a bad thing.”

They are smugly satisfied with this because they regard their previous behavior as something babies would do — very adventurous, devil-may-care babies.

Once the cart rule has been established, they stay for about five minutes until they decide they need to hang off the front of the cart, or the side of the cart, or stick their feet out of the cart, dragging their shoes along the floor while they test every possible boundary of staying “in” the cart. Their boundaries extend as far as my patience and, usually, as far as the toy section.

Once there, we regroup, getting everyone back firmly in an upright and seated position with their arms and hands inside the cart. Now I push the cart slowly up and down each row. I make a mental note of the rows we will have to revisit, hoping it won’t be all the rows. Skippy is on to me. “32!” he shouts, after our tour is completed. “Go back to 32!”

This is where the Pokémon cards are located. I have tried to play Pokémon with Skippy on several occasions and have found it be to excruciating. I don’t understand the point system, don’t know how to use the energy cards and can’t identify any characters except Pikachu. Luckily, at age 5, Skippy knows only marginally more than I do. But he’s ecstatic to have my full attention for an hour or so while he gives me rambling instructions. At Target, he chooses a packet of cards (always the foil-wrapped ones) and then wants to immediately go home so he can play with them.

But then there’s Tess. Tess shops like a girl. Namely, she looks at every single item on offer in order to make sure she gets the very best thing. Skippy will never understand this. Pokémon is the very best thing — he came, he saw, he conquered. What is taking her so long? After perusing every item in every aisle of the toy section, Tess finally chooses a plastic tea set.

As for me, I decide to pick up a four-pack of tomato soup on the way out. But wait! What’s that on the top shelf? Campbell’s now offers chicken noodle soup in cans adorned with Star Wars and Frozen characters! When I hand one to each child, their joy is insurmountable. I am instantly catapulted to the Grandma Hall of Fame.

It’s a wrap. We head for the exit, everybody happy. A truly wonderful day.