I don't think it was my idea. But it was not without merit. Our intent with the great niece and nephew is to make their birthdays something we enjoy together. For Him, it was made simple by a plan (also I'm sure not mine!) which opened a savings account for him, and each birthday he gets money and as a group we go to the bank and deposit it. Then he gets to choose where to go for lunch. Easy peasy. Now Her, who turned six today, is a different story. Thematically, this was her "My Little Pony" birthday. She had a party on Sunday, and got all sorts of pony stuff. We decided instead of taking a chance on duplication, to give her money and take her shopping so she could get something she may have wanted but didn't get. Her mother was extremely good in first establishing how much money she had and that she had to stay in budget. Even I understood the explanation. Then, Wal-mart. Have you ever shopped with a six year old who wasn't told what she could buy? DON'T! We looked at toys, dolls, art supplies, toys, Legos, electronic animals, toys...until we found just the right one...a puppy that barked when you petted his head and came with a stethoscope so you could listen to his heart! Yeah, like that existed when I got my slinky! The smiles on the adult faces were amazing. And then we walked by the dog that not only barked, but walked. Oh my. Six year old decision time. Now this is the part that absolutely ALMOST convinced me we had made a good birthday decision. She walked back over to the first barking dog and apologized because she had changed her mind! Melted my heart. "Bubbles" became a part of her family, and off for supper we go. Understand, Bubbles needed batteries. The smart thing to do would be to wait until they got home to put them in. But no. (And this time I'm sure it was my decision!). Let's buy them now! Bubbles has an amazingly annoying bark!
We survived! It was a learning experience. We'll do it again. When she turns sixty!