About six weeks ago, Henry spotted a toy airplane in the window of the Bargain Shop uptown.
We figured it was an on-the-spot whim that would pass. We distracted and moved on.
He kept bringing it up. Every day for a week, he mentioned it several times. We decided to turn it into a lesson (we're also fond of moralizing).
If he could save his own money, he could buy it himself.
We set up a system of chores that we figured a 3-year old can handle. Clean up your toys. Help set and clear the table. Help with your sister.
Each chore earned him a dime, which went into a jar in the kitchen.
The airplane cost $9.97. We figured it would take a while.
Henry was so focused on that thing that he worked his butt off. He hit the 5-dollar mark the middle of this week. We were so impressed, we decided to meet him half way. I exchanged his 50 dimes for a 10-dollar bill.
Today was The Big Day. He and I walked to town this morning, went to the shop and bought it. He was very proud to hand his purple bill to the cashier.
While we were there, we bought Janey a My Little Pony. Just to be fair.
He held on to that airplane box the whole way home. He didn't say a word for several blocks. I asked what he was thinking about.
"I'm thinking about all the work I did."
Hot damn, I thought. I'm a kick-ass dad!
We took the box to the kitchen table and opened it up with my jack knife (all kick-ass dads carry them).
I have to say, the much-lusted after toy is pretty cool. It's not just one plane. It has the basic frame for two planes, with parts to mix and match to turn both into helicopters. It even has a fancy little handle that you can fix to either one. Pull a trigger and it turns the propeller.
We built. We zoomed. We created spectacular crash and rescue scenes. It was a good 20-minutes of non-stop aerial action.
Then he discovered Silver Glow, Jane's My Little Pony.
He spent the rest of the day dancing with the blue and purple pony with the come-hither eyes. Then he discovered the small catalogue that came with her. He spent an hour drooling over photos of Silver Glow's pals: Wind Drifter, Royal Bouquet and Tulip Twinkle. He's especially fond of "Wysteria as the Crystal Bride" (Wedding cake "magically" pops up!)
He helped me clear the supper dishes tonight, which earned him another dime. As he dropped it into his jar I asked him what he's saving up for this time around.
"A whole set of My Little Pony!"
I'm a kick-ass dad who hates ponies.