Before I had a child, I always pitied the parents in shopping centres having to drag their screaming kids away from the pay character rides they have wherever you turn. The children wanting to have another go, the parent needing to shop or unable to scrape together the money from their purse to let the child have a ride on whichever fun vehicle that was blasting out ‘come to me, you know you want to’ noises as they had walked within 30 yards of it.
Now I have N, and I despair in a slightly different way.
I love fairground rides…my husband hates them. So much so that when we were dating way back in the day, I dragged him onto what I classed as a fairly tame fairground ride only to have him turn green next to me. So I am hoping that N will grow up to like them and I can take him to theme parks.
So far, it’s not looking great.
He’s now at the stage where he wants to clamber onto any vehicle we see. So in our local town there’s a Thomas the Tank Engine ride (bargain 50p for one ride), a Ben & Holly car (woah, £1 a ride!), plus a whole bevy of other vehicles in the newer part of the shopping centre which luckily we don’t tend to go past. But clambering on is usually all we get as last year I put some money in one, and he virtually leapt out of the vehicle and into my arms in terror at the music and movement. All very bizarre considering the mad jumping around he does at home and at softplay, and how loud he’s happy for his dad to play music when they’re ‘rocking’. So he’s a seriously cheap ride!
Or was until last weekend.
Usually he’s not too worried about seeing other children on them. He’ll quite happily watch, and I can just tell him that we’ll come back later. But last week, we’d already done the ‘you can go on Thomas when we’re on the way home’ and on the way back to the car there was another child happily riding on Thomas the Tank Engine. Well, you should have seen the glares he was giving the mother. Thankfully she was on her mobile at the time so I don’t think she noticed. The child had 3 rides (bargain £1!) so we had to wait for a while as N wouldn’t let me drag him away from it.
Then the child got glared at and eventually he could clamber on. He seemed a bit disappointed to just be sitting there – all a bit boring I supposed although in the past that’s what he’d been happy with. But now he’s seen other kids enjoying the music…it’s a slippery slope for my willpower and purse from now on. Previously because he’d never enjoyed the music I could get away without paying anything, but I thought I could spare him 50p to see if he would stay on.
He did stay seated, but he looked extremely shocked and worried throughout. He didn’t even try hitting any of the buttons – I had to do that to try and encourage him. So, I’m hoping that he’ll continue to not be that fussed at having the music and movement on such vehicles for the time being, so I won’t be one of those parents who struggles to get their children away from them.