a peek inside the fishbowl

25 May, 2006

Ah. Sweet Thursdays.

Posted by andrea in: Misc. life

The house is quiet but for the crazed chirping of Pixie, our disabled geriatric budgie. Pixie hears the birds outside and it’s clear she is desperately trying to tell them something.

But what? Help? Save me? Hello? Hey you sparrows! I wonder.

Does she understand their birdy dialects?

Pixie also likes music, especially the soundtrack of Hollywood Bollywood. It really gets her going.


Yesterday the girls and I went on a huge shopping excursion. Emma, you see, had TEN WHOLE DOLLARS burning a hole in her pocket. She probably has ten times that amount stuffed in her piggy bank – coins she’s pilfered from Nana and Papa’s, taken from my dresser, or simply loonies and toonies she’s received over the past few years – but this is the most cash she’s ever had in one spot. Two five dollar bills! This was the big time.

She received this birthday money from her Babi. And she was allowed to spend it on whatever she wanted. This was going to be interesting.

She wanted to bring it to school. I hesitated. I wasn’t worried about thievery, but I couldn’t help but wonder if she’d lose it. In the end I acquiesced, mainly because I figured if she lost it, it would be a good lesson. (Mean mommy!)

At the end of the day she proudly showed me she was still in possession of this cold hard cash. And off we went. On foot.

First, to the Loblaws, because she thought she’d seen something in the toy department that she wanted. Along the way we talked about “spending.” I explained that just because she had this money didn’t mean she had to spend it at that store – or anywhere for that matter. I told her to wait until she saw something she REALLY liked, and knew that she would really play with. This is something she understood.

“I wouldn’t buy a BABY toy mum,” she said earnestly. “No matter how much I liked it I wouldn’t really PLAY with it.”

Okay then.

We’ve talked about prices in the past, but nothing hit home as much as it did yesterday. She had ten dollars. No more. And she realized very quickly what that meant.

Sarah pointed out a Polly Pocket set. Emma looked at the sticker price posted on the shelf. It was $22.98. “No Sarah,” she explained. “I can’t buy that because it’s too much money.”

Part of her dilemma, I think, was whether to buy one larger item, or several smaller ones. Which is better in a seven-year old mind – Quantity or quality?

Emma wandered around the aisles and decided she didn’t like anything. And so we moved on.

The next store down the street was Boomerang Kids, a kid’s consignment store that also carries new toys. She wandered around. Nothing. We went on to Mrs. Tiggywinkle’s, my personal fave, but most things there were way over budget. It was at Tiggy’s that I spotted some plush animals that I remembered Emma had been coveting for untold months. They were $12.00 here, but I knew the same ones were on sale for $6.50 at the pharmacy further down the street. We walked on (stopping of course at the lovely paper store along the way) and were soon admiring the display of plush puppies at the pharmacy.

So this little guy (erm, gal, puppy, which was later named Emily) cost $6.50. I didn’t bother getting into GST and PST, but I told her she had a little money left. But what to buy at the pharmacy? I suggested she take a browse through the candy aisle. I managed to steer her away from the 3/$1.98 sale on chocolate bars. She gravitated to the lollipops. She picked a red one for herself, and without any prompting whatsoever offered one to her sister as well. (Who, I should mention, had been following us around the whole time saying “I’m HUN-greee!” and “I’m THIR-steee!” And if you knew Sarah personally this would not surprise you in the least.)

Sarah picked out a pink one. I was so proud of Emma, sharing her loot with her sister like that. On our way out they gleefully discovered there was gum in the middle. Hurray! Two for one!

This experience has now got me thinking about allowance. Hmmm. Perhaps a post for tomorrow? :)

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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