Sunday, January 04, 2015

Of Marbles and Men

Judah got a twenty dollar bill from his grandparents over Christmas (among other things) and I told him I would let him buy a mom-approved toy the next time we went out.

So yesterday, feeling rich (and very unaware of the relative value of goods) Judah scoured the aisles of Rite Aid looking for a toy. I would have preferred to take him to a store with splashier toys (like Target) but alas, a prescription needed to be filled.

Judah was feeling generous and said he wanted to buy a toy for Noah too. "You can pick out any toy you want Noah, and I'll buy it for you, if Mommy says it's ok!"

After perusing the entire toy section Judah settled on a bag of marbles (50 little ones + 1 big shooter). Here's where I explain that my kids love all things small and shiny. They are like tiny dragons hoarding all kinds of beads, glass pebbles, coins, etc.

Judah previously found a single marble in the dirt at the park and told me it was his most treasured possession, so you can only imagine how mind-boggling precious a bag of 50 marbles would be.

Noah, being the perfect copy-cat, immediately cried for his own bag of marbles. I got one for him too and that's when the crazy-rage started.

For the rest of the time, Judah tried everything he could think of to get Noah to choose a different toy. He could not for one minute abide the thought that Noah would have just as great and awesome a possession as he was about to own. When Noah (reading his brother's desperation correctly and thereby guaranteeing that he would not be distracted from his own bag of marbles) would not be dissuaded, Judah was beside himself with grief and rage.

How was I going to get us out of the mess without someone descending into a giant puddle of kid-scream? I'm not going to lie, I felt like King Solomon himself.

I weighed all my options and decided the least offensive would be to let Judah get 2 bags of marbles while Noah only got 1. I floated the idea to Judah and thankfully it took! Judah was pleased that he still had something "better" than Noah and Noah was still pleased that he had a bag of marbles.

Preschooler treasure chest.

Since that moment, the kids have been hoarding and caressing their marbles like a miser his gold. Judah occasionally snatches up a stray marble that Noah loses in his clumsy grasp and adds it to his already giant pile. Over the course of 2 days Noah's pile has carelessly dwindled down to about 10.

And I'm just loving it. I love watching their naked, grasping natures on display. I find it hilarious and instructional all at the same time - like watching an Aesop's Fable unfold in real life.

The Boy and His Marbles - a cautionary tale of greed and ruin.


CP said...

Isn't it crazy how children are basically pure human nature without the social niceties and conditioning?! If there are two option (like a toy or a snack or something) my oldest is always trying to convince his younger brother WANT the less desirable option. It's so sneaky! "Ryan, look you like this car better because _____." Ugh, siblings...!

Alice in Wonderland said...

Judah does that too - Noah, this one is cooler! I want it! I want it! (and sotto voce to me - not really Mommy, I'm just tricking him). Kids - better than TV.