Today, we had a fundraising carnival to fund the playground at our kids’ school. They told them all about it during class on Friday. “Bouncy castle! Fire trucks! Popcorn! Fancy cars! Fun fun fun!”
Of course, we went. How awesome all these folks in our community took time out to put this on for the kids. We’re so thankful to everyone. However, when we say carnival around here we pronounce it:
Carni-Vale of Tears
When kids hear “carnival” they think Best Day of My Life with rides, life sized Hello Kitties handing our candy, a self-serve ice cream buffet, and a seven story bouncy tower with a water slide that magically dries you off by the bottom. What they get is one bouncy house, hot dogs covered in barbecue sauce and some Tootsie Rolls. Nice, but where’s Santa with the Piñata?
So the disappointed bawling begins.
The gigantic Penguin is SCARY! And he didn’t give me a lollipop! He’s never coming back! But if he does, don’t let him get too close, because he’s too SCARY! Why didn’t I get a tattoo? Who has my Fireman Hat? You touched my drink. Yes, you did, and you drank it all. Now, I’m dying of thirst AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT. Can we buy this Playhouse? What’s a raffle? Well, can we buy all the tickets? Just get more money at the bank. WAIT WE FORGOT TO GO TO MCDONALD’S AND GET OUR FREE ICE CREAMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We found a spot for to eat our burgers and dogs, that is, after we cleared up about six families’ worth trash left on the tables. (Life tip, folks: Just because you are at an event for children doesn’t mean you get to act like children. That includes opening up the doors to the $80K custom car on display and letting your kids clamber in.) Dear Dad, who forgot to eat breakfast, or lunch, or stop for a snack, is swooning in the mid-day heat and talking really low through his teeth. “Dear God the next kid who….”
“Lowered Expectations!” I sing under my breath. Because that’s 90% of parenting sometimes, managing your kids expectations of reality, and making sure they know your expectation of their behaviour. Or lack thereof.
Some poor, lonely librarians managed to get the kids to sit down for a Robert Munsch story, but by the time they were on to a round of Shake the Sillies Out, the plot was lost beyond recognition. I joined in and tried to drum out some excitement for “jumping my jollies out”, but Princess holding back tears. She just stood there shaking her head, muttering “I will not wiggle my waggle anymore, no sir, no more waggle.” Into the truck, and over the bridge, and we back to the house we went.
The take away was that the kids thought this was the best time ever. They had zero memory of crying or screaming or dropping their sucker on the tarmac. Total bad-time amnesia. Now, Mom and Dad get their bad-time amnesia. It’s called “Bedtime and White Wine.” Cheers!