Raise your hand if you’ve ever won a prize and handed it right over to your kid without thinking. Or you’ve let them pick the prize when you’ve won it.
Are you raising your hand? I am.
My family likes to play games. Games on tablets, video games, card games, board games- but what we really enjoy, when we have the opportunity, is to play games that can win prizes. Who DOESN’T love to win prizes? Even if they’re cheap little trinkets that will fall apart in a week (and they usually are and usually do), give us ALL THE TICKETS AND LET US CASH THEM IN!
Carnivals, theme parks, arcades- we play them all. We usually lose, but we like to play. And when we DO win, it’s a rush of pure unadulterated joy! YES! WE DID IT! WE WON! THE PRIZE IS OURS!
That’s when the workers ask you that fateful question- which one do you want? When you have kids, the natural reaction is to look to them and say “how about you choose?” because, the hell am I gonna do with a stuffed animal? Or a plastic slinky? Or really any of the cheap crap under/behind/hanging above the counter? It makes the kids happy, even though we spent the money, we did the work, we won the prize– but it makes them happy, so why not just let them choose/have the prize? Let them spend the tickets? Let them pick the snake over the weird neon koala looking thing?
Yesterday, the fine folks at Great Wolf Lodge invited us out for the day to have fun (and man, did we- I’ll have a write up on that next week), and on top of all the cool stuff they had us do, they gave us a gift card to spend in their facilities, and I ALMOST followed the same pattern I always do.
We watched a 4d movie, went bowling, and once we were done with that and still had money to spend, naturally, we ended up at the arcade. We had enough Paw Points to let each of us choose games to play. The kids went for Jurassic Park. I went for a game with the potential to win a jackpot of 1,000 tickets. And wouldn’t you know it. I hit the frickin’ jackpot.
I watched as the kids eyes lit up while tickets poured out of the machine for a solid seven minutes, piling up on the floor like glorious mounds of win, and once the tickets were done being dispensed, I saw their eyes move to the lit up counter full of goodies, because they knew they were going to get to spend them.
WELL, NOT TODAY, SUCKAS!
I took the tickets and ran, and with the leftover amount, they got Tootsie Rolls as I laughed maniacally, clutching my Great Wolf Lodge stuffed animal that will probably never be used but IT’S MINE AND I EARNED IT AND IT’S MINE.
Were the kids disappointed? Uh, yeah, of course. But I didn’t do this to teach them a lesson. Maybe it taught them one in the process, like not to waste points on games you suck at that don’t even give you tickets if you really want a prize, or maybe not to feel entitled, but that’s just kind of icing on the cake. The cake being I WON, AND THE PRIZE IS MINE! MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!
It’s okay not to share, moms and dads. You can have things that are just yours!
Snacks, desserts, drinks, stuffed animals, tickets, prizes, bathroom breaks… TAKE THEM! Bask in your glory and pretend it’s a lesson– it’s what parenthood’s all about!
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