"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Pet Store: a game {of redemption} for all

Yesterday was not our best day. It began with temperatures in the barely-double digits and no snow to speak of to make that frigid blast worth it. Then, it sunk down into the depths of Spoiled and Ungrateful Children, which lead to a Mommy Meltdown and resulted in a Bedroom and Playroom Clean-Out of epic proportions. 

Once our discarded buddies were given final (dramatic, teary) goodbye hugs, and bags and boxes destined for Goodwill were packed, we settled into the comfortable midday routine of lunchtime excessive-mess-making and nap-refusal. 

Just when I thought I'd really lose my mind, I shut myself and Molly in her bedroom to answer a phone call from a friend. For the next 30 minutes, we chatted, Molly tucked in and untucked and re-tucked in her buddies under a blanket on the floor, while Max and Evan quietly (remorsefully?) entertained themselves in their slightly less-full bedrooms. 

The afternoon promised to be endless.

Until Max had a plan.

Max is full of plans. Most of them of late require fancy dresses, tons of costume jewelry, the Frozen soundtrack on repeat, and the adoption of "princess voices," which sound a lot like really obnoxious Valley Girls.

This one was different. Thank god it was different. Max suggested that we play Pet Store. 

First, they gathered some of their remaining buddies and put them in their places.

Seriously, this isn't even all of them. And this is AFTER we filled a donation bag. #spoiledkids

 And then, of course, the animals needed to be fed.

The first customer arrived right after the Grand Opening. She carefully inspected her choices, finally deciding on a lovely new pet panda. She was sure to bring home his food dish as well.

The "checker-outer" rang her up for her purchase and she handed over her rumpled wad of three dollar bills.

As new customers came through the store, the checker-outer switched. This particular clerk gave wonderful Animal Care Advice, such as "Don't forget to walk your new dog 2.6 miles everyday," and "That bunny prefers to eat 1.3 pounds of fresh carrots every morning."

The littlest checker-outer was so interested in opening, emptying, refilling, and closing the cash drawer (on repeat) that the customers finally just left with their new, free pets.

The game went on for nearly an hour. They played together....each child participating in parts of the game that suited their interests and abilities. Evan was the professional salesman. Max was the indecisive pet-buyer, flitting around the store telling all the pets how fabulous and special and wonderful they are....Molly was the Queen of keeping the pets' food bowls filled (only occasionally requiring the clerk to call out over the loudspeaker, "Clean up in the Doggy Aisle!").

This game literally saved the day.

Lesson Learned:
Life is good when the kids are engaged.
Life is good when they play together.
Life is good when the stars of happiness and cooperation and turn-taking and sharing align.

Life is good when Max's plans are simple and don't require obnoxious accents.
Life will be GREAT when he gets to go back to school on Monday.


  1. We also have Frozen on repeat. :)

    1. That is, by far, the most enjoyable part of his princess game. :)