Like most parents, I am always on the lookout for new bribery tools for my children. I look for inexpensive activities, unsweetened treats anything that does the trick and lessens the guilt. You know what I mean, “if you help mommy get out of the house on time for work, I will give you…” or “if you sleep in your own bed all night, tomorrow we can do xyz.” Okay, fine, maybe it’s just me, but I was looking for one of those “tools” last week when my husband was out of town on business.
“If you eat all your dinner, we’ll do something fun,” I said. “Like what,” my three-year-old asks? “I don’t know, I mean it’s cold outside and dark, so we can’t go to the park. So let me think about for a minute.” Of course mere milliseconds pass by before she asks me for clarification on what “fun” activity I have in store. Off the cuff, I remember Chick-fil-A has an indoor play area, so why not have some ice cream and let them jump around for about an hour right before bedtime. The more I thought about it, the more I was disappointed I have not used this idea more often. My announcement was a hit and she cleared her plate; veggies and all and helped get her baby brother ready for the journey.
When we arrive, to my chagrin, there are two older girls in the play area and they are preparing to leave. We order our ice cream and sit to enjoy and after about three happy licks of her kiddie cone, she says “I’m done, can I go play now?” In hopes of stalling for new playmates, I ask her to eat a little more and she does. I gather our belongings, remove shoes and head inside. As soon as we get in there, two beautiful little blonde girls, one age 2 and one age 4 enter. Whew, am I glad about that; that means I am no longer on the entertainment committee and can resolve to sit on the safety committee.
But what made this outing telling wasn’t how we got there, but how comfortable these three children became without hesitation. As soon as they entered they approached my daughter and said “Hi, I’m Ashley, and this is my sister Emma, what’s your name?” When she responded they said “how old are you?” “I’m three,” said Morgan “and on my birthday I’ll be four.” So, I’m not sure if knowing your name and age is the requirement but from that moment on they held hands, ran up and down the steps, played on the slide and played a mean game of hide and seek.
And as their time dwindled and it we prepared to leave, she and her new friends smiled and hugged and said “bye, see you later.”
So the qualifier was so simple, just your name and age. Can you imagine if adults didn’t make things so complicated? If we didn’t judge by professions, degrees, median income, political affiliation; just our names and an age range life would be so much easier.