Sprout spent her saved-up birthday money recently. She had $8 in her jeans pocket heading into Walmart.
First, she bought something she needed.
Well, she didn’t need a new comb. But, in a toddler’s world of necessities and wants, I would rank comb closer to the former. She was careful. She browsed the entire hair section, gently touching glittery hair ties, packs of neon hair bows, and “funny-looking” headbands.
But she didn’t let any of those things dissuade her. She “needed” a new comb. A pink one. The only pink comb came in a pack of 2 with a black one. “I don’t need two,” she said. “But I want pink. At least when the pink one is all used up, I will have the black one!”
Two combs for $2 (and some change). I decided, internally, to cover the change and taxes because she isn’t quite ready to learn about rounding and “giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s.”😉
Then, she chose something to give away.
She wanted to buy a toy for her new baby sister. I explained that she had $6 left, and that if she bought for her sister, she might not have money to buy any toys for herself.
That was alright by her. She was determined that she wanted to spend her own money on a toy for her baby sister.
She looked at bigger toys that light up, play cell phones, and large stuffed animals. Finally, she found a box of small plush rattles.
A small toy for a new baby, $2. It was “just right,” though she was not sure her sister would like it. “But maybe she will.”
Finally, she bought something fun for herself.
With $4 remaining, she looked up and down every toy aisle. What caught her eye was a stretchy, soft-bodied “life-like”… lizard. The very last one, and it didn’t have a tag. She was so sure this was what she wanted.
So I tracked down an employee who gave me the shelf tag to take to the cashier.
A $3 lizard for herself.
My heart was full, and I am still in awe of this child.
Everything about the experience amazes me yet.
Her restraint. She didn’t once ask me for more money so that she could buy something bigger or “better.”
Her determination to buy each of the things she wanted with the money she had.
Her generosity in thinking of someone else before herself. Someone she has not yet met, in fact! She didn’t choose the toys she liked best for someone else (the light up ones). She carefully considered what the other person would enjoy.
Her joy and pride in doing this by herself (mostly) and being successful.
I’ve tucked her first receipt away in her baby book. I know this is a memory I will share with her into her adulthood. Such sweet innocence and purity found in just $8 in the hands of a three-year-old.