If you're familiar with Thomas the Tank Engine, you know who I'm talking about.
I've already talked about Joshua's love: the train table and all the adorns it, including Lego tunnels and farm props for scenery.
Clearly, it consumes at least some of Joshua's thoughts as he goes about his day. One day, while on our way home from shopping, he randomly informed us that he wanted "Annie and Clarabel," Thomas's coaches.
It's hard to not hand Joshua everything he wants, whenever he wants it-- but in the end, that is not the most loving thing to do, so we told him they cost money and he would have to wait for them. He was okay with this.
The older he gets, the more he understands. Makes things so much easier.
So when we got home, John unloaded the van and Joshua apparently had a mission of his own. He took all the magnets off the fridge. "Here's some money for Annie and Clarabel, Daddy," he said, piling them in John's lap.
Still resisting the urge to humor him by taking him to the store, I got a mason jar from the kitchen and let him put the magnets in the jar along with a $1 bill. This seemed like a good compromise that he could understand, and that taught him the importance of saving. Over the next three months, John would give Joshua some loose change here, a dollar bill there, and Joshua kept talking about how excited he was to get Annie and Clarabel when he saved up enough money.
Then yesterday, he decided he wanted "Emily." John found a coupon code online and when we helped Joshua count the money, we found there was just enough money to buy either Emily or Annie and Clarabel. It was late- 7pm. But we got in the van and took Joshua to A.C Moore to buy his train. He was too excited to sleep, at this point.
We explained that he could only have one of the trains, and if he chose Emily, he'd have to save up money for A&C all over again. He still want Emily. In fact, he was practically hyperventilating in the back seat, grinning from ear to ear.
When we were parked in front of the store, Joshua said in his highest-pitched scream, "I GET TO BUY EMILY!!"
At the store, he held my hand and at each aisle, he would glance down and say, "Nooooooooo...not this one!" And then there they were. At this point, he had given a lot of shoppers a reason to smile.
We've bought a few other trains for Joshua over the last year. He goes in with one train in mind and always leaves with a different one, finding it hard to choose from all the dozens of options. This time, he was very focused, skimming the rows of trains for Emily.
There she was. He held on to her with all his might, and we raced back to the checkout where he plopped her on the counter with a victorious, "It's EMILY!!" It's a good thing that he was so cute, or we may have had some angry fellow-customers when we pulled out a jar of change to be sorted and counted.
Ten minutes later.....
We exited the store with Emily in Joshua's hand. He has never been happier to own a toy.
Sometimes love is doing what doesn't seem the "nicest." I wanted to give Joshua what he wanted, but by having him wait and save, the enjoyment multiplied a thousand times. Love is preparing Joshua for the future, where there are consequences for poor choices, whining doesn't accomplish anything and toys aren't handed to him on a whim. And the reward is great.
(Pardon his pizza face...Emily was a little more important than a clean face at the time ^-^ )