This is pretty long, so feel free to hit the bathroom and then grab a snack/beverage from the kitchen before you settle in....
Sooooooo, A has been invited to a birthday party this weekend. It sounds so fun...it's a pajama party with other 5 year old friends from church/school and it's during the glorious hours of 5:30-8:00 p.m. and all invitees are supposed to wear pajama's and have hot dogs and other fun treats and then, close to 8:00 they get a bedtime story and a snack. How great is that??? I must remember this fun themed idea, especially since we have put the Big Nix on any sleepovers (but that's for another blog entry).
Happily, this also means that we got to go gift shopping today.
Now, for those of you who don't know, I'm on the Aldi's Plan. That is, I shop every week at Aldi's for groceries and then I have either one trip to Wal-mart or one trip to Costco (every other month) to get stuff that they don't carry at Aldi's but that we use on a normal basis (read: diapers and wipes and stuff like that). This sadly is a necessity for us as we are saving for our crazy high deductible insurance plan/baby. While I'd love to claim that I am naturally thrifty and have overcome my financial indiscretions of my youth, I must confess: I love shopping (I have written that phrase at least 5 times and deleted it like it's some dirty little secret. But there, I have left it!), and I love to shop at stores like Target and Wal-mart where they have almost EVERYTHING I want (notice the word) and/or need.
ANYWAY! The Aldi's plan has really helped curb my random spending (for example, I used to go into Wal-mart with the kids and while there, I'd be like, Oh, I/we need this and this and this and chuck it into the cart before the baby pitched a fit and before you know it, I'd gone over the budget by 50%). With the Aldi's plan, I've actually really been able to save and learn that this is a wonderful feeling in and of itself. So, I've been doing this since January and it is, indeed, very satisfying actually coming in UNDER budget. Yay me!
That said, Aldi's is somewhat limited in their toy selection, so I was hoping for the best as far as gift giving and boy howdy! For whatever reason, they had Princess Barbies and Mariposa Barbies for a SMOKIN' deal. A and O were with me (E was at preschool) and we scored three Barbies...two for friends who are having birthdays this very week, and one for O. We also got these cute pajama sets for A and for E (though the latter will later reveal through wet crocodile tears she'd rather have had a doll...ugh. Will I ever get this right????). All this at Aldi's!!!! I was very pleased.
Of course, A could not keep her hands off the Barbies and she asked if she could hold the various boxes at the store, which I was fine with. Once home, though, the holding of the boxes continued for a while until I decided we were getting a little overzealous with the packaging and told her she could only hold O's Princess Box. After I got the baby down for a nap, I went downstairs to the basement to walk the treadmill for my 12 minutes and when I came up, A was sitting on the floor with the Mariposa Barbie's box and the tape. Yes. She'd broken off a piece of the box (a butterfly thing that stuck out) and was trying to figure out how to tape it back. Keep in mind, Mariposa Barbie is one of the GIFT Barbies. You see where this is going...
Now, Gentle Readers, I'd love to say that I saw her panic and calmed her down, telling her in soft dulcet tones that it was going to be all right. But you realize I'm pregnant, right, and excessively hormonal right now (another blog entry for another time: Loathing and the pregnant woman...coming soon)? You realize that I have about 23 seconds worth of patience. And with that frame of reference:
As I had yet to really assess the situation and, honestly, I was miffed that she hadn't listen to me, I instead growl at her, "What are you doing? Were you playing with that? Did you have permission to play with that? Get up to your room--and don't wake up the baby!!!!!"
With tears starting to flow, A streaks up the stairs to her room. E steps up the plate for her, as always, "Mom, don't be mad at A."
"Honey, I'm not mad. I'm just super disappointed," I say as I'm trying to simultaneously figure out how to repair the packaging with the least amount of unsightliness, decide if I need to go buy a different doll, decide what to do about A, decide what to do about my reaction to the situation. So, I place a call to J at work. He can't talk at that moment but says will call me ASAP (which he has yet been able to do). I'm on my parenting own.
A deep breath later, I call my red-eyed girl down from her room and with tears in eyes, we talk about the importance of not touching/playing with someone else's present, as well as the distinction of buying something for our friends verses ourselves. We revisit, amidst E's own fresh tears, the sadness of the pajama's and no doll, as well as E's desire to also attend the party she wasn't invited to. We talk about what we can do to make it better, and decide the tape will probably do just fine, because it is, after all, just the box that is somewhat damaged and will inevitably be discarded anyway, and that E and J can probably go on a Daddy/Daughter date during the party hours and will have a great time.
In the end, it all worked out. But this is assessment time, Gentle Reader, when I go back and try to figure out what the heck I could have done differently to have avoided this whole mess. Ugh. I am emotionally spent and tired now. So, here's the thing: the dolls were such a good deal at Aldi's, I could have just gotten everyone one, but then I would not have felt great getting the cute pajamas...which quite frankly will be a big hit come Saturday when they can wear them AND use the wand that comes with 'em. And all of this was sort of a splurge anyway...I mean, we went for the gift after all (see what I mean about liking to buy things?). I could have put the dolls up sooner and not allowed any more touching. I could have not freaked out when I saw A on the ground.
Oh well. It is what it is. I'm sure I will have a pearl of wisdom later about this...I just don't know what it will be. :)