David has been studying money in school and he recently received some money as a gift. In the past, I have taken David's money and used it to purchase something that I thought he would want, or probably more often, something that he needed. I sometimes have to remind myself that he is six and like any other six-year-old, he would probably enjoy the opportunity to select something for himself.
So last Friday, I sent Michael and David, armed with a twenty dollar bill and some instructions (because, after all, Michael LOVES my instructions). I encouraged Michael to try to make the experience a teaching moment, to have David look at prices and try to get him to indicate if he had enough money to pay for the desired item. A real life lesson.
I thought that they could start in the DVD section because I was relatively certain that David could find a new SpongeBob DVD that he would want. I received the first phone call at work shortly after they had arrived at the DVDs. "Do we have SpongeBob Squarepants – The Complete Second Season?"
Ironically (or perhaps purposefully, because I often do not give David enough credit), the DVD set that David had decided to purchase was on sale for $19.99, leaving him a penny in change without tax, of course, but that is another lesson for another day. Now if I were to stop my story here, you would probably find it sweet, if not unremarkable. We are always trying to incorporate little therapy sessions into our daily life.
But, as Paul Harvey used to say, here is "the rest of the story." The second phone call came to me at the office a few minutes later; a much less jovial Michael was on the line. In our Target store, the DVD section is relatively close to the seasonal section, currently lawn and garden. (If you are a regular reader, you might already see the foreshadowing.) David, of course, spied the display of freshly minted garden carts, plastic gleaming, and had one off of the shelf, handle extended and started down the main aisle of the store before Michael even had a chance to utter feebly and without any expectation that it would make an impact, "David, no!?!"
Apparently, David turned on the afterburners at about the frozen food aisle and took off at a dead sprint toward the automatic doors of the front entrance. Now, if you know Michael, you also know that he is not exactly the sprinting type so he quickly moved to Plan B—call Kathy at work. Now, what exactly he thought I was going to do about it, from my office roughly eight miles from the scene of the crime, I have no idea—unless maybe he just wanted plausible deniability. "That cannot possibly be my son, traveling at the speed of light with a garden cart in tow, because here I am, talking nonchalantly on my cell phone." Anyway, he must have quickly realized I wasn't going to be much help, because he hung up abruptly. (Perhaps the fact that I was laughing hysterically, also contributed.) And, that was the last I heard from Michael.
It was when I did not receive the immediate follow-up phone call that I started to worry. What if David ran into the parking lot and got hit by a car? What if he was abducted by someone trolling the entrance to the store at that very moment? What if he just kept running in Forrest Gump fashion until he decided to stop running several states away? I quickly dismissed the last two options and settled on the first.
I waited what I considered to be an appropriate amount of time before I called Michael back. Fortunately, David made it to the air lock between the two sets of doors and recognized the error of his ways—or maybe got distracted by the doors, who would know. Michael was able to shove the cart back onto a shelf at the front of the store, eluding store security. He paid for the movie and hustled Mr. Sticky Fingers out of the store without further incident.