Kids and their grandparents shop at the bookstore all the time. Often the grandparents are babysitting, but sometimes they come to the store to scope with the grandkids for birthday presents. This can be a very interesting shopping experience to witness.
Yesterday a lovely grandma and her two charges came in. The boy, Jackson, is turning five in June. They spent a long time looking at a wide range of books. Jackson vacillated between a Star Wars book and a “book about the layers of the earth.” I have to admit, I love it when kids come in, especially ones as young as Jackson, with such specific interests. We had lots of books of for him to look at. Then Grandma did something interesting.
She suggested that she get him one book, Rocks, Fossils and Arrowheads, right now and save the How to Speak Droid for his birthday. Jackson looked at her and said, “How can I not remember that book?” That was an excellent question. At only four and eleven twelfths (as we determined) he very smartly knew that his memory was excellent. He assured us that no matter what fun things he did between now and his birthday he would know the book was coming to him and it wouldn’t be a surprise, so why not just get it today?
I likened this period of delayed gratification for a little kid to being home all day and making something yummy in a slow cooker: after an hour of cooking you smell yumminess and have to wait seven more hours to eat dinner. Grandma had a good solution after Jackson put on a prodigious display of his memory — he rattled off a list of everything, and I mean everything, he got for Christmas last year, which wowed everyone in the store: she gave him both books. She said she’d give him one less book for his birthday.
If I were her, I’d already have forgotten how many books I gave Jackson, and I’d come back without the grandkids and get him a big ol’ stack for his birthday.