Saturday, June 30, 2012

From Superman to Madagascar

Sam and Pete both have good behavior charts tapped to the wall in the play room. They are set up kind of like a board game. Think Candyland or Chutes and Ladders. A winding path leads to a prize. Earn all your stars by having good bedtimes, eating all your dinner, sharing, and not screaming (kind of hard to reward, but it's on there, nonetheless).

This is their second go-around with the good behavior charts. The first time through--which they both navigated successfully--they earned a toy. The first Saturday afternoon I got back from Rio, Elise and I announced that we were taking Sam and Pete to a special surprise place. They couldn't guess where we were going. Pete kept guessing we were going to play the "driving games" (HotZone in ParkShopping, the giant arcade). The whole way to shopping center, Elise and I kept them guessing, "I wonder where we could be going?"

We ended up at the toy store, much to their shared delight, to pick out the toy they had earned by completing their good behavior charts. We went up and down the aisles a few times, debating whether or not it should be a Thomas the Train toy, or a Hot Wheels toy, a Lego or an Imaginex toy. That's when I started to have sticker shock. I didn't remember the toys being so expensive the last time we had come to the toy store. A Lego construction set was 500 Brazilian reais, about $250 USD for a toy that would cost $39.99 at Toys R Us.

I thought for sure I was effed. There was no way I was getting out of this one. Especially, after I had built it up, at home, on the drive over, even as we walked through the mall. I gently and carefully attempted to walk back my previous commitment. We came to the toy store to pick out a toy that we were going to buy later on the internet, I explained to Sam, who immediately burst into tears. I felt terrible. I tried to mollify him by promising to buy him two toys on the internet. After a little more crying and a little more explanation and the promise that we would go directly home (after stopping for ice cream at Girrafa's), get on the internet and order our toy. (We did this successfully only to find out the following Monday that the DPO service to Brazil had been reduced from 500 kilos a delivery to 50 kilos a delivery. In other words, it may take a month for the Hot Wheels race track we picked out to get here. In the meantime, Sam and Pete will race down the driveway and meet me at the car as I pull in from work EVERYDAY to ask if any packages came. They did this before they were expecting a super cool crash n smash Hot Wheel race track in the mail!)

Now that we are on our second good behavior chart, we are also on the way to our second reward, a movie. But not just any kind of movie. A movie in the movie theater. Sam and Pete have never been. Everytime we mention it, Pete immediately starts chanting, "Coc'corn! Candy!" as if seeing the movie were entirely secondary to completley pigging out on junk food. They both want to see 'Madagascar 3', which just recently came out, both being huge fans of the original 'Madagascar'.

It reminds me of the first movie I ever saw in a movie theater, 'Superman'. 

The year was 1978. I was six. My dad took me to go see it at the Twin City Mall which has long since been demolished and replaced by a shining new Publix. I remember, too, going to the Twin City Mall much later when the only stores left were a book store (this was before the days of Barnes and Noble and, even, Waldenbooks) and an Orange Julius. And I also distinctly remember if it was really possible to stop and reverse the march of time by reversing the spin of the Earth.

I mention this because Sam is almost five, and it is neat for me to think that he may be now forming memories he will have for the rest of his life (or at least until he is forty.)

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