You’re out, Rainbow Loom. Done. I’m sorry, but she’s moved on to the new cheap crap that’s “gone viral” among elementary cheap crap enthusiasts. Actually, I’d like to take a moment to thank Heidi for her kind introduction of Shopkins to our home. Since words don’t exactly convey tone, let me note my sarcasm.
Two weeks ago, we walked into Heidi’s house, empty handed and content with life. When we left, Lainey was clutching two tiny plastic toys in one palm and a receipt-looking list of “all the other ones I need to collect” in the other. “Oh by the way,” Heidi said as she walked us to the door, “She can keep those two Shopkins.”
“What’s a Shopkin?” I asked.
And then she cackled this devilish little laugh that I didn’t like one bit. “Oh don’t worry. You’ll know really soon. You’ll be buying them–“
“I don’t think so,” I laughed.
“Yes, you will. You can thank me later.” More cackling. Evil smile.
It took me two days. Two days before finding myself where the cheap crap hides in a tiny section of a Target toy aisle. “So can I get one?” Lainey asked, all puppy dog eyes and you’re-the-best-mom. I tried to think of something I owed her for, some great job she just did, some promise I had made her to justify buying it, but I had nothing. Just puppy dog eyes and a tiny shrink wrapped plastic grocery basket with two “mystery Shopkins” inside.
That’s where I started to cave. They had to make them a mystery, didn’t they? I don’t even know a bakery Shopkin from a toiletry Shopkin (these are real things), and suddenly I have to know which ones are inside this basket.
“Let’s get two,” I heard coming out of my mouth before I could stop myself.
It’s been two weeks now, and there is a pile of Shopkins on the girls’ dresser. They have invaded our home and permeated our way of living, making their way to friends’ houses, sneaking into backpacks, initiating tears: “DASH TOOK MY SHOPKIN! CREAMY BUN BUN IS MISSING!”
We stopped at Heidi’s the other day, and I didn’t notice Lainey snuck a few in her pocket. I was going to play it cool, keep it on the downlow, deny that I caved if it came to it because we have a long and funny history of Heidi teasing me for all the ways I cave when I swear “my kid is never doing _________.”
“Sooooo,” Heidi said, pouring me a cup of coffee. “Thought you weren’t going to be buying Shopkins now, did you?”
“What are you talking about?” I asked, holding my game face.
“Don’t lie to me,” she laughed, “Lainey just dumped her pockets and told me you took her to Target. You caved!” Cackle, cackle. “You CAVED!!”
“I hate you.”
The Shopkins collector guide goes wherever we go now, and each new Shopkin is carefully accounted for with pencil marks and little numbers Lainey scrawls next to each that correspond to the order in which they’re acquired (perhaps her kids will have beautiful tooth charts someday). As all brilliant cheap crap making goes, there is a ranking system for value–a small colored dot next to each available Shopkin on the collector’s guide, denoting whether it’s “common”, “rare” or “ultra rare.” I’m assuming these titles are randomly given, if not just to amuse parents with escalated fits–fits I’ve seen in just the two weeks we’ve known what a Shopkin is. “Nella can’t have that one! Gran Jam is ultra rare.” I’ve also decided this is a great way to get my kids to do things. “You might want to try that broccolli. It’s ultra rare.” or “Here, put this dress on. It’s ultra rare.”
Because I strongly believe in paying it forward, I found great joy in passing along a couple of Shopkins to Lainey’s friends who came home with us yesterday. As they gathered their backpacks and tied their shoes when their dad came to pick them up, I ran to get the tiny shopping baskets. “Don’t forget your Shopkins!” I said with a coy smile.
“Shopkins?” The dad raised his eyebrow. “What’s that?”
“Oh, I’ll let the girls tell you all about it,” I added, suppressing a wink. Forward. Paid.
Someday my kids will smile over memories of Christmases past and all the junk that they loved. Shopkins might be their Cabbage Patch. And I love it. What can I say, she’s a TSL like her mama. That’s Tiny Shit Lover for those who don’t speak miniature awesome.
This week, enjoying:
A Quick Trip to Michigan
…this past weekend to celebrate my dad who was being honored by the medical staff at his hospital for the work he does. Out of all the things I could be proud of for how my parents are introduced, I will remember this one: “Rik is an innovative contributor to the culture of warmth and kindness.” They should make that a degree you can get in college. “I have a bachelor’s in Innovative Warmth and Kindness Contribution.” “I’m the Vice President of Warmth and Kindness Development.” “I head up the Strategic Partnerships for Warmth and Kindness Innovation.” Because that, my friends, is important work.
It was indeed a special night, shared by family and made notable by his colleagues who wanted us to hear their stories of how my dad was there for them or helped them through something. I couldn’t help but think about how important it is for those who serve and help people to be helped and served themselves. Organizations and hospitals, doctors and nurses, teachers and caregivers all working every day to help and heal others–they do their best work when they are helping and healing each other at the same time. “He’s helped us heal our patients and ourselves.”
It was a night of powerful stories, ones that certainly inspired those who were present to innovatively contribute to their own culture of warmth and kindness. Amen, amen, amen.
The bonus of the weekend came from a heaping helping of family and holiday cheer. Siblings. Nieces. Thrifting. Tiny snow flurries. Cozy bars, safe from the outside cold, where we told story after story after story. Christmas shops with Christmas music.
We are not First Take kinda people. We are 6th or 7th shot for Maybe A Decent Picture kinda people.
Coming Home to Find I’m Not the Only One Who Caves for Toys
Brett claims they were at the entrance of Wynn Dixie and that Nella fell so hard in love, he “couldn’t help himself.”
“We’re a bunch of softies,” I said.
“Weak,” he added.
“Let’s read some parenting books and call it a night. Tomorrow we’ll teach some lessons.”
Insert thrifted score photo. Michigan Salvation Armys know how to bring it.
HAPPY HUMP DAY! Holiday Cheerometer’s reading highish.