My son nickel and dimes me to death. Video games, in-app purchases, toys, soda, chips…. It seems like every day there’s a new thing that he needs me to buy for him. Sometimes I say yes, but I often say no. He’s a pretty good kid, and there are never any fits or tears over my not wanting to be a walking wallet.
A few nights ago, that changed. Not about things though. He misses doing things with me. Simple things like playing 2 square, crafts and playing with his Legos. Little trips going to places we love. “We never do anything fun anymore!” He cried. Not for things, but for me.
I was a little confused, as we had just been up to Sacramento for a fun filled weekend. Back in September, we went to Monterey, and on the way back stopped at Pea Soup Andersons. We might not do fun things every weekend—but I don’t have him all the time. He spends Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning with his dad.
We had the conversation. I needed to know before the Black Friday deals disappeared. “Do you want things, or do you want me to buy tickets for us to do stuff through out the year?”
“I want to do stuff with you,” he told me.
“Ok. That means you’re not going to be able to be with your dad every weekend.”
“I miss you, Mom.” Way to break a Mommy’s heart, kiddo. I miss you too, but I wanted you to have that opportunity to build a relationship with your dad. Now, though… Well. Mommy’s back in the driver’s seat and we’re going to do this!
I still surfed the ads bought him a few things for under the tree (thank you wifi!). But I also started my evil plan.
Boomers: This weekend, the year pass is only $39.99 It doesn’t cover the arcade or food, but it is something he loved doing with his dad. It’s also something that I can just as easily take him to, let him go Go Kart racing, climb a wall, all sorts of fun stuff. The pass also works for the remainder of this year. Hmmm…. To give early or not?
The Exploratorium He loves science and tinkering and there is no better place than the Exploratorium. I’m still debating between a yearly family membership and just buying one time tickets. We travel a lot with my sister and her son, so they would be on the pass as well. One huge thing in favor of the pass is that I don’t have to drive there. We’ve taken Amtrak down to Pier 39 before: it’s an economical, fun way for us to get into the city and back home again. In 2 visits, the pass would be paid for. I almost did it last year and regretted passing.
The Winchester Mystery House: My son is 11 years old and has been asking to visit “Sara’s House” for at least a year. He’s fascinated by why she would build the way she did, all the little oddities. I’d like for him to experience it in real life, instead of via YouTube.
In addition to the above, I’m looking at both science and art kits for us to do together. There are a ton of them out there, including some that come as a monthly subscription. I like that more for the science than the art. For art projects (which we’ll start on Sunday when he comes home), I can go to any number of local stores. There are plans for experiments on the Exploratorium website, and I could probably find kits online and just buy one or two. I have time to figure it out, though.
The sad part about the list above is that coupled with what I snagged online for him, I’m not going to spend a whole lot more money on Christmas by doing this. There will be a lot less Christmas clutter, and I’m going to have to get creative on how to wrap and present these gifts.
But before that, we’re going to go out back and play 2 square together.
In the end, I’m giving him the gift he wants. The gift of time. With me.