Here is something Paul cannot master, no matter how many times we have calm and reasonable discussions about it: when to buy grapes, and how many of them to buy.
If they are awesome grapes, firm and with that frosty opaque look, and they are at a good price per pound (say, $1.29), he should buy LOTS. If they are crappy grapes, soft and with sour, already wrinkling skins, and they are at a bad price per pound (say, $2.79), he should buy NONE. Of course, there are many tricky places in between these two situations. There are awesome grapes at the high price end, and there are crappy ones at the low price end, and there are pretty good ones at the sort of high end, and there are decent ones at the sort of low end, etc.
So before he goes to the grocery store, I try to explain the continuum once again. Good grapes don't have to be cheap, but he should buy smaller quantities as they get more expensive. Cheap grapes don't have to be as good as expensive grapes, but we won't eat many if they're not good.
He comes home from the store with gross, browning, wrinkled grapes at $3.19 a pound. At least he only bought a pound and a half of them (I would not have put it past him to buy five pounds, remembering the "we eat a lot of grapes" but not having room in his brain for the "not if they suck"), but still: $5 worth of grapes? When they're no good? That's a lot of money on bad grapes.
If I'd done the shopping and the grapes were $3.19 a pound, I would have bought them only if they were glorious, perfect grapes--and even then, I would have bought about half a pound of them, just to tide us over; and in certain moods I would have bought not one single grape, on the principle that grapes should not be $3.19 a pound. In any case, at $3.19 a pound, anything less than perfect puts us in the No Grapes shaded area of the graph.
I realize this is a significantly more complicated situation than the "get out a fresh roll of toilet paper when the old one is getting close to being used up" one (which he has also failed to master). I don't expect him to make exactly the same call I would make, to the dollar or to the pound, and it would be ridiculously controlling if I did, especially because sometimes he's right where I would have been wrong: he comes home with 3 pounds of expensive grapes that turn out to be worth every single penny because of their amazing deliciousness, and in fact prove that I am in some cases overly thrifty to the point of missing out on the joys of life.
But I think that in general, he should be able to understand that "expensive" and "yucky" belong on one end of the grapes graph, and "cheap" and "perfect" belong on the other end, and that things change gradually as you move around within the range of possibilities. Balances tip. Judgments must be made. Sometimes grapes are purchased and sometimes they are not. Sometimes quantities are large and sometimes small.
Seven paragraphs on grapes? Well, I meant to tie it in with his overall inability to make shopping decisions (buying chips not on sale and from the most expensive store, buying things without even looking at prices, etc.), but I seem to have run out of steam.
Gift ideas for an 8-year-old, part 2 of 2 - Last week I talked about the gifts we were getting/considering for Edward, who is turning 8 next month. This week it’s Elizabeth’s turn: not “girl gifts,” ...