Proud of Juliette

On Wednesday, we went to the Downtown Toy Store to get over-sized ink pads for our arts-n-crafts based summer. There, Juliette saw a pack of two ceramic horses that you paint yourself. She fell in love. They were $8, and she had $13 saved up in allowance. Should be no problem, right?

Well, she's been jonesing on a mammoth for ages. The girls have been studying paleobiology--you know, as a hobby, in between episodes of "Wow! Wow! Wubzy!"--and Juliette decided her favorite Tertiary period animal is the mammoth. (Her Mesozoic animal is the triceratops. In fact, at the girls' urging, we've all chosen animals from these two periods. Keven is a diplodocus and a basilosaurus. Ilsa is a T-rex and a synthetoceras. I'm a coelophysis and a smilodon--did you know saber-toothed tigers had been renamed?)

Since we have no mammoth in the house, Juliette decided this was what she wanted most in the whole world.

We'd already planned to visit the Kenosha Public Museum, which features a replica of the Hebior mammoth found in the Kensosha area in the 1990s--the largest mammoth specimen ever found in North America. It's massive. Very impressive. And the museum has a gift shop, filled with mammoth-based awesomeness.

But that was two days away! And we were already right there in the toy shop, horses in hand! And that was the only pack of horses left!!!

What's a six-year-old to do?

My brave girl put the horses back.

Later she said, "What would I have done with them after I painted them?" That was something I'd thought of but kept to myself, because in the heat of the "I want this" moment, she probably would've just argued with me. A lesson in parenting I shall tuck away for our future with teenagers.

So yesterday, we headed over to the museum in the afternoon. I didn't even pretend to go to the exhibits first; we went straight over to the gift shop. And lo!! A stuffed mammoth for $12. I think there was a halo of light shining on it, praising Juliette for her awesomeness. She snapped it up and named it Manny (it was going to be Martha, but the mammoth's tusks are too big for it to be female). Later that day, while we took the long way home on the streetcar, I asked her if she was glad of the decision she'd made.

She just grinned and hugged Manny. And it was good.

(The slightly-less-rosy ending: She dropped Manny in an unflushed toilet before bed, which meant she couldn't sleep with him. But he's machine washable!)

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