Grandma gets the gimmes

One of the benefits of the little house in Grand Valley is the children’s books we found there. William became a huge fan of the Berenstain Bears just as his mother had been 30 years before. I really enjoyed reading those familiar stories out loud once again.

Every book has a lesson to teach and William loved to talk about them at the end of the story. Especially the book about ‘the galloping greedy gimmes’. Just like the title implies, the over indulged cubs want every single thing that they see and even throw temper tantrums to get those things.

“What happens when you throw a temper tantrum?” I asked William. I wanted to make sure that we were both on the same page. He answered quickly, “I don’t get nothing.” It was the right answer. I just wanted to make sure.

For those of you who don’t have a six year old boy to keep you abreast of current events, it is almost Halloween. William loves Halloween, and we have been collecting Halloween decorations for 3 of his 6 years now. Last year, his mama used a large tote to gather the decorations up and put them away for the year. It was the only way she could decorate for Christmas.

Out of sight, out of mind, until August anyway, when Halloween began reappearing in every store in town. Just like that, William could think of nothing else but Halloween. He immediately wanted to drag his tote out and begin decorating for his favorite holiday. His mother held steady and did not allow the decorations back out until the first week of October.

His favorite thing to do for that long month of September was to study the Halloween decorations of every single store we walked into. He would gaze longingly at them all, handlng every item, He managed to buy a couple things from his stash of dollars that he earned from helping his grandpa but now that school has started, those dollars are not nearly as plentiful as they were in the summer.

I’m sure that the boy thought that September would never end. But like Septembers are wont to do, this one eventually moved into October and William was finally able to get his Halloween decorations out. I haven’t seen the decorations yet, but William talks about his spookity livingroom all the time.

This past week, my sidekick and I stopped into the store to pick up some chicken broth. William matter-of-factly said, “When you get that, we need to stop and look at the Halloween decorations.”

You have to understand that just that week, I’d picked him up two sets of Halloween window clings and a couple solar Halloween decorations. I found a great deal on some Halloween light up balls, so I brought some for him to share, because sharing is good, right? Nothing that I’d bought had ‘broke the bank’ but enough was enough.

William did not exactly throw a tantrum, but he did tell me a couple of times, firmly, that we were going to look at decorations. I told him a couple of times, firmly, that we were not. Still, after we checked out, I headed for the exit. William said, “I just want to show you this one thing, grandma,” as he disappeared down an aisle.

I called to him, “I’m leaving now, William,” and I heard the answering cry “NO! Don’t leave me,” and he reappeared, upset and trying to tell me about a hand that could crawl on the floor. The conversation continued across the parking lot.

He wheedled but I held firm. I pointed out that he had a serious case of the ‘galloping greedy gimmes’ just like those Berenstain cubs. That made him madder yet, because he insisted he did not want me to buy him anything. He just wanted to show me something. I’m on to his tricks. He’ll show me something and then say, longingly, “I wish I could have one of those.” He doesn’t ask, but his desire is as plain as the nose on his cute little face. He knows that his grandma is a sucker sometimes.

So I reminded him of all the things that he’d received during the week. We talked about the difference between a want and a need. We talked about being sensible. We talked about saving his own money for things. No temper tantrums were thrown, but his disappointment was evident.

We were still talking as we headed down the road. I had a couple more errands to be run, and one of them was picking up my most recent clock find. For a mere $10, I’d snagged another key wound clock. It didn’t work (what do you expect for $10?) and so I dropped it off at Youngsville’s Clock Doctor. Denny called me to let me know that it was running just fine and I was excited to see what he’d done with it.

William and I walked into a wonderland of gorgeous clocks. I’ve never seen so many clocks in all my life. As William put it later, “The house was so full of ticking, it made me dizzy.” Every clock I saw was more wonderful than the one before it. Denny took a lot of pride in his hobby and I was delighted to stop, look, and listen.

There was a sweet little clock with a floral face sitting on the table. He’d just fixed that one and it was for sale. It had Westminster chimes. Just to illustrate his point, it chimed the quarter hour. As soon as I heard it, I wanted it and as soon as I heard the price, I realized that I had the money on my person at that very moment. I didn’t have to stop and think about it at all.

15 minutes later, Denny was loading a glass fronted clock in the front seat, and William was holding the new clock on his lap in the back. Before I even got back to the main road, I was having second thoughts. As excited as I was about my ‘newest’ old clock, I was feeling a little guilty. Usually, I’d have talked to Tim first.

To make things worse, a little voice rose up from the back seat. “Grandma? You have many clocks.”

I admitted that I did, and he began to list them off: two in the library, two in the livingroom, one in the office, one in the downstair hall, another in the upstairs hall, one on the old desk next to his greatgrandmother’s typewriter…” I listened to him. He finally came to his point. “So you did not need this here clock. You just wanted it, very, very badly.”

He’d put his finger right on it. He’d seen his grandma in the throes of the ‘galloping greedy gimmes’. He’d also noticed that when little boys get the gimmes, grandmas can tell them no. When grandmas get the gimmes, there’s no one telling THEM no. That fact alone seemed unfair to him.

So we discussed the fact that I make my own pile of dollars by going to work everyday and that I actually don’t get the gimmes all that often. William is a sensible little boy and when the little clock struck the hour, he admitted that he loved the clock too. In fact he thought it was almost as nice as that green hand that crawled across the floor, the thing that he didn’t need, not really, but he did want it pretty badly.

And in my rearview mirror, two big brown eyes fixed themselves on me and waited hopefully.

I did the only sensible thing. I changed the subject.