Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Yo-yo Lessons (Part 1 of 3)

The school had an assembly last week that had all the kids abuzz...our 2 included.  The NED Show came to town, touting its message:

Never give up
Encourage others
Do your best

Nothing to complain of there, right?  Positive message, entertaining show, and don't forget 5 days of hawking NED logo'ed yo-yos at  the school after the assembly.  DH and I wondered about the crass commercialism.  A little moralistic whitewash is all that is needed to come to the school and sell to a captive audience of impressionable kids?

When the boys asked to buy some, DH pointed out that we could probably get them cheaper at the toystore.  The least expensive was the Ned yo-yo, which glows in the dark, at $6.50.  The next one was $10, and a premium $15 yo-yo that allows you to do special tricks that you can't with the others. 

Teddy had imprudently volunteered to be at the school 30 minutes early to help tie the strings on.  They have to be measured to the height of the kid, apparently.  He forgot that he is dependent on us to get to school, and that mornings are already crazy around here.  He also did not know if this was a one day commitment or a 5-day commitment.  Why did he volunteer for this?  Apparently the volunteers were each to receive a free yo-yo, and 8:30 was the only timeslot left.  Sigh.

The next day, we arrived early, Teddy reporting for string-tying duty, and Barley "just looking."  He was broke, as was Teddy, having spent all their money at the movies the previous weekend.  He was planning to just share Teddy's free one, but the mob scene that morning was too much for such restraint.  He asked, politely, if I would buy him one.  When I told him he had to pay for it himself, he pleaded to borrow money and he would pay me back after some chores.

By this time, I realized this was not just some company opportunistically selling to our kids.  This was a fundraiser, so the school would get something out of selling to the captive audience.  Well, no worse that overpriced gift wrap, cookie dough, or frozen pizzas, I suppose.  And having already cut days from this year's and next year's schedule, they were certainly in dire straits.

I also realized that having a new toy over Spring Break would be helpful to distract them when they got bored of fighting with each other. Of course, if they used the yo-yos as weapons, that would require instant confiscation.  (While the myth of ancient yo-yos as weapons has been debunked, modern children can still do material damage to each other and precious household objects with them)  We agreed that I would buy one and hold it, until he earned the $6.50 to pay me back.

Surveying the mob scene, I overheard they would have a "Ned zone" at lunchtime to let the kids play with their new toys.  I know how exciting it can be for kids to have something new and trendy  at the same time as everyone else, so I relented and let him keep it for the day.  I would repossess at bedtime.

I wondered how well the students and teachers would manage the chaos of so many kids with yo-yos on the same day.  Unburdened by such concerns, Barley was delighted at having gone from no yo-yo, to one on hold, to having one for the first day like all the other kids in the mob.  He blithely showed off his yo-yo skills until it was time to get in line. 

Follow-up to this happy ending tomorrow and the day after.

1 comment:

  1. Lucky guy, going from no-yo to yo-yo. If it's a fundraiser, I, too, would be a bit more giving. But only a bit.

    And I've got to say how much I LOVE when kids volunteer to do something, which translates into WE volunteer.


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