Rockstar’s Bargain: Lego City vs Brine Shrimp Show n Tell

Rockstar had Show n Tell again recently, this is what he brought. After a sojourn with an old friend/ client into Mong Kok, Kings came home with this little glass globe late one night. The packaging had little Japanese words all over it, but well, they're brine shrimp that Rockstar has inexplicably named Charlie and Rebecca.

You can just make out Rebecca in the bottom corner... Charlie is almost colorless...

Because Rockstar had been learning about all living things needing "sunlight, air, water," the little self- sufficient globe (never have to feed the critters, just put the thing in sunlight so algae/ plankton can grow, and the crystals apparently provide Oxygen) was a lucky impulse purchase on Kings' part. I even steeled Rockstar for the possibility the shrimp would be belly up after a day passed around in school - figured worse case we could easily swing a father-and-son excursion to choose more shrimp-and-accompaniments. They're lo-maintenance pets for anyone, it's like a paperweight with live shrimp in it. I said no when Kings wanted to put a guppy in it.

Anyway. I had just learned the next day would be Show n Tell, when that evening after Oral Putonghua we are supposed to be heading home for dinner, Rockstar spies... A giant Lego set. And - Rockstar wants his "Show n Tell Treat" (which is nonsense, I buy Lego most any time he wants it, with as many excuses as you will find in the Shopaholic series because he will almost always take Lego over tv) now. In advance.

Oh no.

"It's way too big to finish in one night, Even If you stay up all night" (could see Rockstar about to announce he would conveniently forgo sleep). "And you have Show n Tell, tomorrow. You have to prepare (a.k.a. watch Youtubes about Sea Monkeys and other brine shrimp) or you won't know what to tell your friends about Charlie and Rebecca."

Rockstar eyes the Lego hungrily. I eye Rockstar worriedly. But he's promised to exercise restraint. How do I now not accept the promise of my 4year old on good faith? Then I wouldn't even be giving him a fair chance to fulfill his promise. "Well, you get your Lego Treat in advance of the good job you assured Mummy you will do at school tomorrow. You can spend as long as you want tonight setting up half the set, but tomorrow before school I want to see you prepare for your Show n Tell. When you get back from school after keeping your side of the agreement, you can finish the rest of the Lego City."

Half of Lego City (this bit he needed help with because the red beams keep coming off - even when I was trying to put them together - but then I am not in the 6-12 age group either.)

We shake on it. In fact I regretted when Rockstar had spied the HKD 820 Lego City, that I hadn't steered him toward one of the smaller projects that I knew could be finished in one night. "Remember our agreement. If you can't keep to your end, this is the last time Mummy trusts you to start huge Lego projects on the eve of 'big days' in school." Rockstar's exasperated. Huffily, "Ye-es. You already said, Mu-uumm. I'm not going to forget (our agreement) MU-UUMM." Next morning, I find a still bleary-eyed Rockstar tinkering with the half Lego City he's already put up, before asking to watch Sea Monkey Youtubes. Just in case, I've hidden the other half of the City, but he doesn't ask for it, he watches the videos, asks questions, pretends to be a molting shrimp with the duvet, then in the last 15 minutes before it's time to leave for school says he's had enough and goes back to tinker with the finished portion of the City. Nor does he run thru his Show n  Tell a single time with me. "I know LAH Mu-uum!!!" (But he's done that before so this time I ignore it.) AND btw he doesn't "Lah" except to be sarcastic. "I won't LAH." "I ate something in school LAH." "Ok.... LAHHHH." I'm very naggy meh?

Rockstar putting the finishing touches (note space shuttle that has landed in South America)

After school that day, I find to my relief a note from his teacher saying he did well with the shrimp-globe. (I of course am treated by Rockstar to a blow-by-blow of everyone else's Show n Tell and how well they did.) And then as promised, we break out the second half of the Lego City he stays up til midnight to complete. Ah well. It would seem the Rockstar really takes these promises very seriously and I had stated he gets to take as long as he wants to complete his Lego City after he's done with Show n Tell. Mum reneges on this and she can expect 'tude next time round. Kings arrived home from biz trip at that time anyways.

When people told me Rockstar's personality was a "problem," this Lego-Show n Tell-Lego behavior was a "by-product" I barely dared to hope for, from not going the traditional route of erm, "disciplining" a.k.a caning/ similarly punishing this part of his personality out of him.

Rockstar victory lap in moose pajamas. Or, "Did you know many space shuttles break down in Hong Kong? This is how I met my new friends." He means Zippety, and another friend Yeeka who apparently fills in when Zippety has a tummy ache from eating too many garden snails......

It's been a wonderful weekend.

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About Aileen

I blog about living and raising my son in Hong Kong - where toddlers have entrance interviews, parents keep test score spreadsheets, private school debentures can trade for more than half a million USD. Raising Rockstar's the most important thing I'll ever do. We show our true colors by the choices we make in bringing up our children. My blog is a message to my toddler son, about what the world and his parents are like today - for when he becomes a teenager and knows everything.
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  • zmun2

    Well done Rockstar (on both the show and tell and Lego set and for keeping his promise)! 🙂

    • Aileen

      Thanks dear, I’m much happier he kept his promise!

  • Diane

    Wow! Rockstar did that on his own! Amazing!!! If I am a parent, I would really prefer my kid to become more attached to Lego than computers and gadgets. Not that I am anti-technology, but I believe that traditional toys still brings a different level of training and skills development to kids.

    • Aileen

      Well sometimes he needs me to press the pieces in for him, but yes he mostly follows the 40-60 step booklets on his own… Our home is turning into a Lego shop n I hope he doesn’t burn out soon because he has been sitting 4-5 hours at a time for last couple days.. But I was having cramps so couldn’t take him out more..