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July 15, 2014

Kali Davies-Anderson: Maybe toy car purchase isn’t half-baked after all

NEW CASTLE — This morning I took Violet (my firstborn) to the store to pick out anything she wanted as a reward for becoming (mostly) potty trained.

On the way there I asked her what she thought she might like to have.

Her answer?

Mommy, put my window down NOW … pwease.”

OK, so obviously I was looking forward to treating her to something more than she was looking forward to being treated.

At any rate, I continued to reiterate that we were picking something out because of her being potty trained, attempting to instill some kind of bribery concept in her for future purposes.

As we made our way to the back of the store, also known as the toy department, my almost 3-year-old’s eyes lit up.

I typically avoid the toy area of all stores for obvious reasons, so this was all new and exciting for her.

I tried talking her into a few different really nice toys: A giant pirate ship, a potty training Elmo doll (OK, that one was a little strange) and more than one kind of Barbie.

At first she seemed interested in each of these things, but then within seconds something else caught her eye and that was the end of that.

Then I heard a squeal like that of an elated toddler and, turning my head, expected to see something giant, mechanical, expensive and not age appropriate.

Instead, I saw her pointing enthusiastically toward two tiny plastic cars.

Each cost $2.98.

Feeling as though I would be robbing her of a much nicer toy by allowing her to get the cheap cars, I attempted to talk her into a doll that was sitting near us in the aisle.

But, Violet wasn’t having it.

“No, I want deeze, mama … PWEASE!”

So, I took both cars off the shelf and placed them in her hands.

“OK, mama, now let’s go home.”

In that moment I wondered where my 2-year-old went. I felt like I had been negotiating with a high profile attorney.

As we walked to the check-out and then to the car, I contemplated her decision.

While quite simple, it was also quiet prolific.

No one is born with preconceived notions of value, worth and importance.

It is something that we develop over time, only after being exposed to other people’s opinions on material possessions.

To my daughter, those cheap plastic cars were much more valuable than the giant Pirate Ship, the dolls and all of the other toys that we looked at.

I think it will be a little bit sad when she is not as impressed by such trivial trinkets, but I hope to raise my children in a way that they never fully lose sight of what is truly important.

My parents always made sure that we knew what really mattered and it was rarely material possessions.

Last week I finally found a favorite snack of mine that local stores stopped carrying 10 years ago. A few days ago a package from Amazon.com arrived at my doorstep and I could barely contain my excitement.

Tearing open the brown box and revealing the 16 individually packaged bags of “Half Pops” felt like Christmas, my birthday and Easter all wrapped up in one delicious moment.

I like new clothes, cars, gadgets, dinners at nice restaurants and vacations, but I also really like snacks. I might like snacks even more.

I suppose in that moment I was much like my 2-year-old daughter, and my biggest wish for her is that when she is pushing 30, she will be jumping up and down in her kitchen at the sight of a bag of half-popped popcorn kernels, as well.

 

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