For many college students, the week before break signifies Finals Week. At least, it does at the college where my wife professes. I remember from what seems like eons ago how stressful Finals Week was as a student - your schedule is all screwed up (why does the 7:30pm Tuesday night class have an 8:00am Thursday final? Never understood that), your nerves are frayed, your eyelids propped with toothpicks and the coffee pot out on a Fair Wages strike. Turns out, it isn't any different for the professors. Yesterday, when my wife came home after another 12-hour grading marathon on campus, I shook her hand and introduced myself.
As a Domestic Engineer, and with the Boy basically done schooling for 2010, weeks like this provide for fun-filled days of Trying To Keep Child Alive and Entertained Until Mom Gets Home. It's almost the season for Christmas shopping (usually it doesn't start until the December calendar is in the 20s), so to use up some of our time we ventured out to pick out some nice gifts for the 3 females in his life that he is required to shop for: Emma the Babysitter, Carrie the Teacher, and Mom the Great. As parents, my wife and I still do the rest - we pick up the tab for grandparents and aunts and cousins and uncles. This is the first year we've asked him to make any gift selection decisions.
Buying presents for someone other than himself is indescribably torturous for this particular 5 year old. To accomplish this feat among feats, it was going to take a highly effective, perhaps controversial, parenting method. This was going to take sugar.
We headed out to Maplewood. I used one Reese's Peanut Butter Christmas Bell to get him dressed, another to get his shoes and coat on, and a third to get him strapped into his booster. Why Maplewood? Well, you see, the Boy had only one thing in mind that he wanted to purchase for Carrie the Teacher. He wanted to get her a new Grouptime Bell. It looks like this: