Next Stop: Batty

Hangin' by a thread, here. I'm just sayin'.

Friday, March 17, 2006

On Lemonade Stands

My feeling is this: the more lemonade stands, the better. This one started out with a bag of broken costume jewelry I had picked up at a thrift store for $2. When I presented it to the girls, they immediately divided the booty, each picking a piece in her turn. With the pieces and some beads and yarn, they decided to make "new" jewelry. Since it gave me time to empty the dishwasher and clean the counters -- and only cost $2 -- I was loving this activity.

Until...they announced their intention to sell their creations from the end of the driveway. As I surveyed their sparkling array -- necklaces of broken earring parts and purple plastic beads -- my heart sank a little. How was I going to break it to my budding artists that no one was going to pay money for this stuff?

Shame on Mommy. Letting cynicism get the better of me like that.

Luckily, I decided to hold my tongue when the jewelry sale idea came up. Held it again when my little entrpreneurs priced their creations at up to $1 -- EACH!

Together, and without my help, they lugged two little tables and two chairs out to the front yard, carefully laid out their wares, advertised prices, and set up our play cash register. Then, they sat. Noon on a Tuesday. This was not going to go well. I had visions of helping them lug everything back inside in a matter of 20 minutes, and began crafting a "these will make great Christmas presents" consolation speech.

But Lo! A customer! Dawn, a friend and neighbor on her way home in her minivan, pulled over, God bless her, and bought a necklace or two. What a sweetie. The girls were beside themselves. Then, someone else stopped. Later, they ran inside to grab snacks and to make keychains for their prospective male customers (and a delivery truck driver did go for that). I brought out some lemonade to make the picture complete, and before we knew it, the time was 2 PM and students were walking home from the nearby high school.

I have to say, seeing the teen set in their low-rider jeans and their Abercrombie tees stop to chat with the girls and to remark at how "cute" they were boosted my hope and faith in humanity. The track team ran by and lamented that they had no cash on them, so the girls made a sign: "Lemonade FREE for runners." Positive community relations. Good longterm business strategy.

Some adult walkers said they'd stop by on their return trip. My little one said they could do credit if they wanted, since the red plastic cash register had a slot for cards. Gotta love that kid. She later hand-picked a necklace for our neighbor, Dan, to give to his wife, Diane. He got away with that necklace and 2 cups of lemonade for a mere $2. Diane later called to let the girls know how much she liked her necklace. That woman has two small boys and is about to have another one, and she took time out to call. So did Dawn. The truck driver who bought the keychain claimed he didn't have the right change and insisted the girls take $3. Meanwhile, our dog ran away and they boy across the street helped us catch him. When I gave the boy (our babysitter's brother) $5 for his trouble, he promptly spent it at the girls' sale.

And this is what lemonade stands teach all of us, isn't it: kids can do anything they set their hearts to, and there will always be good people around to cheer them on. I have always had a complete inability to pass a lemonade stand by -- now, I know why. It wasn't the lemonade; it was all the sweetness that came with it.


At 8:28 AM, Blogger Chelle said...

I've been wishing I lived closer to S, T & D - after this I'm wishing I lived closer to you too! I'm sure Amy would have loved receiving one of the girls' creations.

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Tink said...

That is such a great story!! I just happened to stumble in here and I'm so glad I did.

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Shelley said...

Okay, no fair making me cry.

On second thought, go for it.

You are rocking my world over here, sis.

At 7:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I really enjoyed your lemonade story and hope my girls are as lucky as yours when they set up there stand this summer. But, now let's get to the Barbie bashing. Yes, we have a lot of Barbies at my house, but the girls really don't look at them and say, "Wow, I hope my waist is this small and my boobs are this big when I grow up." I don't remember thinking anything of the size of Barbies parts when I was little. Barbies also have important jobs now. There is Nascar Barbie, Vet Barbie, Rock Star Barbie, Teacher Barbie, etc. and I dare you to say those aren't good careers for a girl Ms. Tracy! Also think how creative girls are being when they put outfits togethter and come up with some great hairstyle. Most importantly think about how the girls playing with the dolls are having imaginative play which unfortunatley they don't get a lot of these days.
Love your writing, keep going!

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Tracy said...

The above are really good points about Barbie, I must say. When I played with barbie, I also had no thoughts about being as small as she, but I did want to be as "beautiful." That, combined with how bombarded girls are with "don't you look pretty?" and "what a pretty girl in that dress..." gives me pause. Very traditional, very narrowly defined beauty is, without a doubt, glorified in the culture that surrounds our girls. And very few girls fit the mold -- especially once they hit puberty. I think this is where many fun and exciting body issues come from -- at least in part. In addition, it begins the whole "I get poositive or negative attention depending on whether or not people like how I look" thing, leaving them open to all kinds of objectification on the part of the boys who want to them, and the girls who want to be better than them. I could go on and on, obviously. And, one could argue, it is true that adults are treated differently depending on how they look -- this is reality, so why shield our girls from it...? And yes, Barbie does have cool jobs now -- but only because enough feminist mamas like me raised enough stink. So, whining about this stuff does have it's place. Thanks for your thoughts!

At 12:11 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

What great kids, rock on with their bad selves!

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Liz C. said...

I love this story. Love the whole blog. Just found a scrap of paper with your site and other info and logged on. Miss you.


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