Grandpa and RG Visit the Zoo. Chapter 6: RG Discovers Consumerism.

December 14, 2008

As the wind and rain were increasing, a little shelter in the storm appealed to me as well, so we entered. The building turned out to be the zoo store. [The mommies later told me that they avoid taking RG into gift stores when she goes on educational trips to zoos, aquariums, museums and the like. Grandpas are naïve about such excursion pitfalls.]RG looked over the contents with considerable interest. Her eye fell on a large table covered with stuffed animals, ranging from stuffed aardvarks to stuffed zebras.

She picked up several animals and considered them judiciously. RG owns about twenty stuffed animals, so she is not a child suffering from stuffed-animal deprivation. To be fair, she plays with many of them frequently; nevertheless, there are animals that frequently live in loneliness.

RG held up a stuffed platypus. “Grandpa, please buy me this animal,” she politely requested. That she used “please” without being prompted indicated she was quite serious. I realized that Random Granddaughter, although sheltered from much of modern life, had discovered consumerism.

“No,” I said. “I bought you the chips, and that was as much as I intend to spend or buy you today,” I explained.

“You still have money in your wallet,” she said. I could see that her understanding of economics was growing by leaps and bounds.

I replied, “Yes, I do, but I spent all the money on you I intend to today,” I replied.

RG looked at me with an expression of shock and disbelief, indicating this was not grandparently behavior.

“How about a little animal?” she asked, holding up a stuffed mouse. I could see that she is preparing herself for married life. After a request for a mink coat is refused, she will ask her spouse, “How about this little stole?”

“No,” I said. As she is only four years old, I can still stay one step ahead of her, though by the time she is five I will probably be putty in her hands. It was obvious where she was going next.

“If you buy me an animal, I will take a nap,” she said.”

“No,” I said. “You should take a nap because it is something you should do and it will be good for you, not because I bribe you with a stuffed animal.”

“But I really want an animal,” she replied in some desperation.

“Will a new stuffed animal make you happy?” I asked in preachy and pompous grandfather style.

“Yes!” she said.

“I don’t think so,” I replied. “In any case, I am not going to spend any more money on you today. If you need more animals, you can discuss it with your mommies.”

“I won’t take a nap,” she repeated with calm determination, similar perhaps to Adolf deciding he was going to invade Sudetenland. She repeated the statement about ten times.

Finally, I said, “Let’s go home.”

“I won’t take a nap,” she said again.

“OK, we will go home where you will take a “not nap,” I said.

“What’s that?” she asked suspiciously.

“It’s where a little girl who needs to take a nap doesn’t take a nap,” I said.

We walked back to the parking lot, to the sound of more, “I won’t take a nap,” statements.


10 Responses to “Grandpa and RG Visit the Zoo. Chapter 6: RG Discovers Consumerism.”

  1. The escalation is alarming. What, oh what will happen when you get home?

    Children’s forthrightness is so … hilarious and disconcerting at the same time.

  2. This reminds me of what I told David about us having to do with the boys when they were little — “No, of course you don’t have to take a nap. You do have to stay in the bed, and be quiet with the light out till I come back for you. But by all means — don’t nap.”

    You are lucky that she didn’t pull what I’m told one of my nieces did at about that age: “Nana, if you were me and I was you, I would buy it for you.”

    That would have been it, I think.

  3. modestypress Says:


    RG is definitely hilarious and disconcerting at the same time. Also, frightening.


    I figure that gambit will be in RG’s repetoire by the time she is five.

  4. truce Says:

    Ah yes, the pointing out that you still have money in your wallet gambit: a masterful stroke. Nicely parried Mr R.

    When she gets to the point where she points out that, even though you no longer have any money in your wallet, you can go to one of the machines in the walls on streets and it will give you more, you are doomed.

  5. modestypress Says:


    RG had a “keycard” for entry to her last preschool. As you will see shortly, she has embarked on her career in financial management, so by next year she will have her own bank account and and Automatic Teller Machine card.

    Probably, I will be begging her to loan me money for snacks at the snack stand.

  6. spectrum2 Says:

    Lovely story, and I think I have had a very similar experience w/my oldest.
    As for stuffed animals, as children, my husband and I had the dilema of not wanting to prefer one over another and often ended up with a bed of stuffed animals.

  7. Spectrum, I knew I liked you.

  8. pandemonic Says:

    RG is taking a page out of my daughter’s book. She has an apt target. Men dissolve under the subtle pressure of an attractive woman. I often say no, so my daughter heads over to dad, who often says yes after I have said NO.

    I can’t blame her. She’s a typical female. But good for you for holding your ground at the zoo. Believe me, you might have won the battle, but eventually you’re going to lose the war. 🙂

  9. modestypress Says:

    Early in our career as parents, my wife and I made a firm decision and stuck by it: no divide and conquer. If one parent said, “This is how it will be,” the other followed the script.

    We sometimes had private script meetings and agreed as a couple to change the script, but out of sight of the audience.

  10. […] RG once again visited the zoo; compensating for her disappointing trip with Grandpa not that long ag…Mommies took RG to the zoo during her birthday week. RG now has her own bank with slots for spending, saving, and sharing. They money in the three slots now probably exceeds the money in CitiBank, Bank of America, and your bank, whatever it is. […]

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