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Tricycle on Aisle Three- No, Four- No, Five

Maddie and I ran errands yesterday and
ended up at one of Maddie’s favorite places of all time
– Target.

Keep in mind that I’m not one of those moms who buys her kid
a toy every time they enter a store; Maddie has no guaranteed
“new thing” to look forward to each time she hits a
Toys R Us or anything. My kid simply likes to shop, whether
it’s perusing all the catalogs that come for her every day
(“Did I get any mail? Any catalogs? Oooh!” she squeals
at mail call each day) or running through a store. She’s got
a vivid imagination and loves playing with all the
“new” toys, and is (mostly) content to leave them on
the shelves when she heads home (a few memorable meltdowns not

Let me also say that I’m not one of those moms who allows her
kids to take all the toys off the shelves, create a huge mess, and
leave it for some poor teenager making five bucks an hour. But I do
let Maddie fondle the stuffed animals, poke at the displays through
a toy’s box, and in general explore in a tidy fashion.

So when we hit Target, Maddie’s
spirits were high. Not only does Target have toys, but they also
have clothes (another favorite shopping item) and books (ditto),
and they have PRETZELS. When winter hits and we’re desperate
to get out of the house, we often hit the Big T for a pretzel and
people watching. This particular day I’d already outlined our
schedule several times so Maddie knew what to expect: the clothing
section to get socks for Cora, then a pretzel, then the toy section
to buy a birthday present for a friend. Maddie understood
we’d be going home with nothing for her but was excited at
the upcoming play time.

All went well for the first few minutes, but our time was quickly
derailed when Maddie looked across the clothing section to sporting
goods. “Ooh, Mommy, maybe they have bicycles!” she
said. “Um, maybe honey, but maybe not,” I answered
hesitantly. “Let’s go see!” she begged. And off
we went.

Ten seconds later Maddie spied the big back wall of bikes.
“Oh! Oh! Oh!” she squealed, her hands (I kid you not)
clasping in front of her mouth in rapture. “They DO have
bicycles, Mommy! They DO!”

“Yes, kiddo, but they may not have tricycles in your
size,” I cautioned. This was quickly getting away from me.

We rounded the corner, and there, complete with heavenly spotlight
and angelic chorus, was a row of tricycles. “TRICYCLES

“Yes, ok,” I said weakly, “but they may not let
you try them.”

Of course this was the one time in the history of the store that an
employee was hanging around, and she smiled and said, “Oh,
it’s ok, she can try them.” Maddie burned rubber to the
section and would have pulled them all off the shelf herself had I
not hastened to help.

Once we’d gotten her settled on a tricycle to “try
out”, Maddie insisted she needed a helmet to wear. After all,
Elmo always wears one. This posed a dilemma for me: on one hand, I
want my kid to know she always needs a helmet on the bike, and on
the other hand, you have to buy one before you can take it out of
the box. I settled for explaining that she didn’t need to
wear one inside and she was satisfied with that.

For the next ten minutes, Maddie rode the tricycle up and down the
sporting goods aisles, singing that stupid Elmo song the whole
time. I kept her away from the main walkway but she still passed
several (mostly) grinning people. She was, predictably, reluctant
to leave the tricycle and move on, but Maddie handled it like a
trooper and gave in incredibly graciously. My heart broke that I
wasn’t able to buy my kid a tricycle right now when she so
obviously is in love with them, but seeing her ability to leave it
on the shelf reminded me she’s learning a valuable lesson:
you don’t always get what you want right away.

And somewhere out there I bet there’s a security guard with a
pretty great video snatched off the overhead security cameras of a
little girl singing and riding a tricycle, imaginary wind streaming
in her hair, pretend sun warming her shoulders.

I hope he keeps a copy of it.


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