Monday, May 24, 2010

Fun fair not so fun

I have always felt pretty confident in my judgment - sure, I often seek a second opinion for certainty - but when both your husband and your mother tell you that you did the wrong thing, you kind of have to realize that they're probably right.

There has been a lot happening around here lately: on Thursday Blake for the first time did correctly what he was supposed to do in his potty (#1). I don't necessarily think it marks the true start of toilet training as I think he himself was a bit surprised to see something in the bottom of his new plastic Thomas the Tank Engine potty, but it was something and I was very excited! Probably more for myself than for him, since changing two sets of diapers is a slight drag.

We had glorious sunshine over the weekend and on Sunday we went to Dulwich Park to check out the fun fair which was taking place. At first I thought that the rides were all a bit too big for Blake, but then we found a little set of cars and vehicles that went around and around, much to the fascination of the children. Blake agreed to go on it and settled himself in a pink VW Beetle emblazoned with a logo and picture of Barbie; for the first circuit of the ride he looked slightly terrified but once he knew where we were he smiled and seemed to like it. So far, so fun at the fun fair.

After the ride ended and Blake was mulling over events, he happened to see that the vehicle two behind the Barbie car was a fire engine, and proceeded to throw a massive tantrum about wanting to "go on the fire engine." I was of the opinion that one time around was enough, and that he needed to accept that he might not always get his way (nb: we had already conceded to the ice cream that had begun to be asked for as soon as we set off for the park). Well, he REALLY turned on the tears and the screaming, but I told Matt that even if he went on the fire engine, he would probably then just ask to go again, either again on the fire engine or on one of the "motorbycles" - as he calls them - as soon as he got off, and we'd have to deal with his unhappiness at our saying no eventually. I wanted to stick to my guns, and it was a pretty miserable walk through the park, with the tears streaming down Blake's bright red face, first my trying to wrestle him away and then Matt achieving what I wasn't strong enough to do. Blake really wanted to go on the fire engine. I mean really wanted to go on it.

Eventually we ended up on a path where we got to admire some insects and greenery and he calmed down, but later that night just as we were going to sleep, Matt said that he wished we'd let him have his way. We talked a little about why I thought he shouldn't have, and that he won't remember and that there will be years of these types of fairs ahead, but hearing Matt's remorse at the decision made me really sad. And of course Granny Karla said she would have let him go on the ride, so that made 2 of them.

Looking back on it, I too wish I'd agreed to it; I guess I just picked the wrong event to try to exercise some control over, in a series of events that I often can't direct or steer in the way I think they should go because of the way that a 2-year-old's brain works. When I think about what I want both for my boys and from them, it would be to teach them to respect others, an awareness about the need to share, to be kind and generous, to say "please" and "thank you" (unprompted). Certainly not to be spoiled, oh no! In hindsight, I do see that acquiescing to one £2 ride on an fun fair fire engine would not be spoiling Blake, and that regretting the event is for me by far worse than any worry I would have had about spoiling him by giving in. Of course above all I want the boys to be happy, and in this case, happiness was a ride on the fire engine. I wish I hadn't denied a sweet boy that simple pleasure.


The Barbie car turned out not to be the wheels of choice on the day (fire engine in the background)...

In the garden with a chocolate biscuit and a little brother...

1 comment:

Michael @badassdadblog said...

Does not sound like a good time, but it's all too familiar. I also don't know whether my two cents on this are age appropriate for Blake, but if it were Owen, I'd try to take a middle ground between your approach and Matt's/Karla's. Asking to go on the ride again in a different car seems totally reasonable, especially of the second car he spotted was more to his liking. But if "asking" took the form of a freak out right off the bat, the answer is no. More accurately, the answer is that if you can get hold of yourself and ask nicely, we'll consider it, but if you whine, cry, or scream, we are done here. Again, not sure if Blake is old enough to grasp what all this means, but that's where we're at with Owen at almost 5.