(You know, from Toy Story? The Claaawww?)
Stomper has been attending this martial arts class once a week at a local community center. We started up a few weeks ago, having come to the realization that we are probably done with soccer. He’s been playing on the same team since 1st grade and just doesn’t love it. He loves his team, he just doesn’t care that much about soccer. We really want him involved in an activity he cares about and is excited to do – I’ve always known it would be something like this. It’s going great and you should see him practice at home. I guess that’s a post for another day.
Someone at the community center thought they had a brilliant idea and installed, right in there with the vending machines, one of those 50 cents-a-shot machines with the dangling silver claw which hovers over a tempting bed of stuffed animals just begging to be won and taken home to a happy family. My girls spend the entire hour of martial arts running back and forth between me and the machine, asking every 3-4 minutes if they could please please PLEASE try to get an animal because they are just sure sure SURE they can do it and they know exactly which one they want and please please PLEASE!!! Finally a couple of weeks ago Bitty actually brought her wallet with her in absolute determination. Well, I thought, I guess it’s time for Bitty to have one of those really tough learning experiences.
I was there with a friend and we both had a serious conversation with her about those tricky machines that are made to look easy but really are trying to trick you into giving them all their money. She was not to be deterred. So my friend and the girls and I walk over to the machine. My friend looks at me and asks me if Bitty is going to cry when she doesn’t get the toy. I told her of course and said, “Watch this. “ I turned to Bitty and asked, “Hey honey? Are you going to be okay if you don’t get an animal?” Bitty instantly began to tear up and very shakily said, “Well, I’m going to try to be okay but I’ll probably be really really sad.” And a tear slid down her cheek. Great. She’s crying before we even do this. Oh well, I’ll be a good mom and let her go for it!
You already know what happened, I know you do. It was just like the time I was a kid and our family was on vacation, driving through Vegas on our way someplace. We stopped at a diner for breakfast, and each table had a little mini slot machine sitting on the tabletop. My dad goes, “Kids, I want you to see how gambling never pays.” He drops two quarters into the machine, pushes the pulsing little button and….wins ten bucks. That was funny enough, but the fact that he instantly put another 50 cents in and won another ten bucks did nothing to teach his kids not to try it ourselves. Yes, Bitty plopped in her two quarters and on the very first try landed herself a little toy. I could not believe it. The second that round little plush pig dropped through the hole, my friend and I looked at each other and after one moment of shocked silence started laughing so hard we made a bit of a scene. We laughed and laughed, and Bitty was absolutely beside herself with joy. How funny.
Funny, that is, until every kid in the joint heard about it and came running with their own quarters. Whoever installed that thing really is a genius because kids were plunking their money in faster than I eat popcorn and I saw no other victories. By this time Stomper was out of his class and was in the hole a dollar and a half to his sister trying to get his own toy. Bundle was sobbing because I tried to get her a toy too and totally failed – she had spotted a little purple turtle at the very bottom of the pit and had her heart set on in. In fact, she still does, 10 days later. She even woke up sobbing in the middle of the night 3 days ago and when I asked her what was wrong she only said that she just really needed the purple turtle. There were crying kids everywhere. It was mayhem.
So does anyone know what I WAS supposed to do? What would have been the correct answer in this situation? Because I don’t. Someone forgot to give me my parenting manual on this one.
The pig is actually pretty cute, by the way. His name is Wilbur.