He marveled over cases and cases of costume jewelry. He opened doors and rolled wheels on vintage toys. He very much wanted a delicate blue ceramic flower pin and a hand-crafted cast-iron salt and pepper shaker set in the image of an Amish couple sitting on a bench. Until he saw the miniature cast-iron cookware set.
Altogether—the one-egg-sized pan, a tiny corn on the cob skillet, and a miniature dutch oven—the set would have been about $60. Despite battling my own inner hoarder/lover-of-miniaturized-things, I told him that was too many dollars, and his heart shattered. He really really wanted all the things, even though before we came in the shop I told him he could only pick one thing that wasn't too many dollars. He was just too tired, though, to find any sensical vocabulary.
We compromised, although unhappily, with a purchase of the pan, a small bronze box that I think was used for holding rolls of stamps (remember those? rolls of stamps, I mean), and a decidedly non-antique purple ring.
"You have a very nice mommy," one of the older ladies behind the register said to him as he whimpered against my shoulder.
They handed us our purchases, and he immediately gave the ring to me. "It's for you," he said. Purple, you see, is my favorite color.
Only today, after nearly twelve hours of sleep, was he able to explain the flower pin was meant for me. I think we'll go back tomorrow.