And let the record show that I did not go back the next morning and buy the cheetah

I took Mabel with me on Thursday after school to pick out a present for her to give to Dash. (Dash has a “school present shop” where he bought presents for us, so it seemed only fair.) Beforehand, I double-checked with her that she knew we were shopping only for her brother, and that she wouldn’t get anything for herself. She agreed, but I was still a little doubtful that she could pull it off.

We nearly turned around and left as soon as we got through the front doors, because she desperately wanted a cheetah from the dollar section. But then she said “Just let me play with them for a while” and I stood around for three minutes while she took all the animals out of their corral and arranged them into couples, families, and families with adopted children. When I said it was time to put them back, she helped put them back and we moved on.

And so to the main toy section, where we soon found – guess what? – a new lightsaber for Dash. Because the fact that he has two blue ones and a red double-blade apparently didn’t stop him from putting another on his list, and since I couldn’t find a green Qui-Gon Jinn lightsaber anywhere, I hadn’t actually got one and was feeling bad about it. So when Mabel decided he should have a red Darth Vader one, I didn’t demur. (Also since these are the cheap ones that don’t light up and come in at under ten bucks.)

Item acquired and gallon of milk in our cart, I tried to whisk her back to the checkouts without passing the rest of the toys, but she insisted on looking at the other aisles. “Not to get anything, you know that don’t you?” I repeated. “I know,” she said.

And here’s the amazing part: she looked at the baby dolls and the princess dolls and the ponies and the Lalaloopsies and the Barbies and the play kitchens and she admired them all and we said how lovely they were … and then we left. We bought what we had come for and not a thing more.

Well, there was a vanilla milk in Starbucks after all that, but it hardly counts.

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