Tuesday, March 06, 2007

It's All About the Accessories . . . Even When You're Three

Though I’m certain it wasn’t the first tongue lashing I’d received from my mother (also a very noted ranter), I can clearly remember one instance.

I was, at most, 3.5 years old. It was just my mother and me. We had been shopping all day and I was restless and tired. But my mother had assured me that if I would stay quiet in the hallowed aisles of Dillard’s, she would take me to K-Mart and allow me to use some of my “savings” to buy a toy or four.

At three and a half, toys are powerful motivators for silence. Particularly when coupled with the fact that I could be a “big girl” and buy it with my very own money.

Let me tell you: I was decked out.

I had on my boat-necked turquoise tee that perfectly matched the turquoise, hot pink and bright yellow stripes of my best skort. My pink jellies (shoes, people, surely you remember jellies) had the tiniest of heels and complimented the pink stripes floating happily above. My hair was coiffed appropriately and my necklace was a large gold heart replica of Orphan Annie’s prized possession. I, also, had on my officially licensed 'Muppets' Miss Piggy watch in a lovely shade of lavender, something I never left the house without.

I was accessorized to the hilt. Right down to my pink Cabbage Patch Kids clutch purse.
In which, was a fifty dollar bill that would procure me the toys I had been so manipulatively promised.

When we reached K-Mart, the only thing on my mind was the Barbie aisle. Skipper had just emerged on the scene and I was determined to have the newest item (in this, I’m not much different today – my mother calls me the “Gadget Queen”). I took my mother’s hand and led (read dragged) her to the toy section.

My mother has never been keen on watching me. She raised me to be independent and responsible and knew I could be trusted in the aisle alone. She was, as it turned out, quite wrong. This is not to say that she left me. She was simply at the other end of the aisle looking at the baby-doll accessories. I had informed her, quite petulantly, earlier that I was out of Cabbage Patch diapers.

I, focused on Baby-Sitter Skipper complete with a high chair and a small plastic baby, laid down my cash filled purse and began to search the box for signs of other parts – such as a bottle or a small spoon and bowl to feed her with.

I imagine it’s typical of a 3 year old to forget her own items when faced with a treasure of such magnitude. So, true to form, I forgot to retrieve my purse. I took my Skipper doll and the Cabbage Patch diapers my mother had located and moved hurriedly to the next aisle. I was in dire need of Shrinky Dinks.

My mother failed to notice the absence of my purse until we reached the check-out lanes a good 15 minutes later.

“Meghan, where is your purse?”
“I dunno.”
“You just had it. Is it in the buggy?”
“I dunno.”

My mother searched frantically in the buggy without reward. We then scoured the toy aisles for any sign of my purse – or my fifty dollars. Needless to say, they were not located. Purloined by K-Mart scavengers, I have no doubt.

Mom, god love her, restrained herself until we reached the car, but then she laid into me with all the force of a Fire and Brimstone preacher on Sunday morning. The words “responsibility”, “maturity”, “disappointed” and “angry” were used several times. Several, several times.

She actually seemed more upset about the loss of the purse than the money.

“I can’t believe you lost that purse. Your Aunt Cheryl gave that to you. It matched your Cabbage Patch dress perfectly.”

It is, after all, all about the accessories.


Traveling Chica said...

$50??? At 3???

I think I was about 12 the first time I ever had a $50 bill. Wow.

Man, I loved Shrinky Dinks... I really wish they still made those.

Coyote Mike said...

I can't believe she didn't hold on to your purse while you shopped. And I never understood why you had to keep buying new cabbage patch doll diapers . . . it wasn't real poo, couldn't you just reuse them?

Burg said...

I'm with chica.. Did you know Daddy Warbucks?

Sadly, I was never allowed Shrinky Dinks.. My cousin had them and she never let me forget it though..

Does anyone else remember Buzzy?

Bone said...

I'm with TC. I don't remember having a $50 bill, or even fifty dollars for that matter, until I was 12 or so.

Shrinky Dinks were the best. I mean, come on, a toy you bake?!?! That's like a carnival in a box.

I miss them. Along with Lite Brite, Spirograph, Legos, Rebound... I'll stop now.

meghansdiscontent said...

Chica - Ummm. . . I didn't think it was that odd, but I've talked to some people since seeing your comment and have learned that it's atypical for 3 yr olds to have $50. Who knew?! I had very generous grandparents and was a pretty frugal kid. I saved up and mom always thought it was harder to lose one bill than, say, five. So I had large denominations. Hmm.

I'm with you on the Shrinky Dinks. I keep looking for them, hoping they'll come back out so I can use them with my therapy kids. But no such luck.

Coyote - Of course she didn't hold my purse. She believed me independent and responsible, even at three. I've come to realize that my upbringing was rather odd. Wonderful and amazing, but odd. As for the diapers . . boys just can't understand.

Burg - You weren't allowed Shrinky Dinks!!! That's bordering on child abuse! As for Buzzy . . you're going to have to elaborate, what was/is a Buzzy?

Burg and Bone - See what I told Chica about my Moolah.

Bone - Speaking of toys you baked . . what were those toys that you could make Christmas ornaments and window hangings out of?? They were shapes or Care Bears or Transformers and you put them on a foil covered baking sheet and poured crystals in them and baked them and they made like little stained glass ornaments?

Somebody please tell me they remember those things.

I have Legos - I use them with my therapy kids.
I have my Lite Brite - it's in my parents attic.
I think my brother's Spirograph is up there, too.

What in heaven is a Rebound??

CHECK THIS OUT: http://www.shrinkydinks.com/


Jon said...

At that age, $50 came once a year, on my birthday. And I always blew it on one video game at Toys R Us. And I still go to the same Toys R Us every year on that day and buy a game.

Walter said...

OH DAMN, that was your purse? Sorry.

Jason said...

You still have the Orphan Annie gold heart, don't you?

Admit it.

meghansdiscontent said...

Jon - Well, at least you have traditions. :) Once a year without fail. Are you that regular at everything?

Walter - You still carry it! I know it. A little pink purse with green piping would be right up your alley.

Jason - Umm, yes, I sure do have the Little Orphan Annie necklace. I also still have the Muppets Miss Piggy watch. I'm a sentimental girl! I can't help it! At least I don't wear them anymore! (admittedly because the heart's gold has flecked off in many places and the watch won't go around my adult wrist, but, umm, who's counting)

Burg said...

Buzzy was a gingerbread man shaped toy that had some kind of rotary type think in the middle.. He came with a few templates that you were to lay on top of a graham cracker and then guide it along the rotary thing and it would cut the cracker into that particular shape. Then you could decorate the "cookie" with different gels that came with him.. I think I might actually be the only person alive that remembers him.. And Zoobilee Zoo...

Mr Shife said...

It is about the accessories isn't it? I can't remember anything like that from my formative years. I would have to think about my earliest memory but I know it wasn't when I was 3.5.

Anonymous said...

Good news! You can still buy Shrinky
Dinks at Hobby Lobby and fine craft stores everywhere.

Johnny said...

Were your panties turqoise too?

mmm! Delish!!! :D

meghansdiscontent said...

Burg - I have no knowledge of these toys you speak of! :) Which is sad because they sound fun.

Shife - Oh, that's sad, too. My earliest memory is when I was two. I blogged it once.

Anon - Seriously!?!?? I spend tons of time in Hobby Lobby and have never seen them! I'll have to start looking harder.

Johnny - Panties??

Walter said...

Yeah, the purse goes great with my green stiletto heels. :)

Steph said...

Wow! I think she should have been more angry at herself for expecting a three year old to be responsible for such a large sum of money.

Traveling Chica said...

Okay, very excited to learn that you can still get Shrinky Dinks... may be taking a trip to Hobby Lobby tomorrow. :)

Yeah, I'm still standing by $50 as a 3-year-old that you got to spend was amazing. And kind of outrageous. My nephew is 2 now, and I can't imagine sending him shopping in a little less than a year with $50. And not holding on to it. Wow.

meghansdiscontent said...

Walter - Who are you kidding? You can barely walk in tennis shoes.

Steph - Eh. Everyone's family was a little different. I have no qualms with how my parents raised my brother or myself.

Chica - Yay! Let me know if you find any. I haven't had a chance to get by there yet, but my therapy kids would LOVE it and I know it. We made homemade mini-pizzas for snack the other day and they were beside themselves. And it's not like I had $50 everyday. . .