I took Benjamin to Toys R Us last week. We had been there the week before, scouting possible birthday presents, but we hadn’t bought anything. Now, he had filled his sticker chart, and we were off in search of a reward.
“I’m going to get an Iron Man toy,” he told me as we drove through a light drizzle. “I saw them down the aisle when we were there.”
“Most people didn’t see them, but I have a sharp eye,” he said.
Because I have a sharp eye, too, I knew that the Iron Man toys were just around the corner from the Appelgate Farms Flocked Pony Set with Dog. This is the very same pony set he had returned to three times on our last trip, sighing over the beauty of the horses and exclaiming that it came with a little brush for giving the ponies beauty treatments. I strongly suspected – despite the best laid plans of mice and men – that my son would be leaving Toys R Us with an Appelgate Farms Flocked Pony Set with Dog and not an Iron Man toy.
That’s just how my middle child rolls: half Iron Man, half ponies.
Normally, I wouldn’t get him either cheap crappy horses from China or a plastic violent superhero, but we give a little more latitude with sticker chart rewards. That’s sort of the point of a reward.
When we pulled into the Toys R Us parking lot, the rain was picking up. “Mommy, do you have an umbrella?” Ben asked. “It’s kind of raining.”
“I do, sweetie.” I got out of the car, opened the umbrella, and then opened his door. He stepped out, and I handed him the umbrella.
As we turned to walk across the parking lot, he raised the umbrella. It wasn’t a conscious thought, and he wasn’t trying to do the right thing. He just saw that I was getting wet, and it was natural to him to try to cover me with the umbrella.
That moment. That little motion. That’s how I know – despite his impulse control issues and his tendency to bend the rules and what can only be described as a double dose of testosterone – that Benjamin is going to be just fine.
Happy fourth birthday to my little Iron Man.
And yes, he is now the proud owner of an Appelgate Farms Flocked Pony Set, complete with brush. He lets his sister play with the dog.