Monday, May 4, 2015

I Cannot Believe I Did This

You've seen the photos of DD on her pony ride in England. Well here's the truth behind the pictures. Reader I cannot believe I did this.

Last year when horse riding was the bee's knees

When we were in England last year we took DD to Aldenham Country Park. It's not huge like some other farm parks but it has everything we need and it's only ten minutes in the car from where my parents live.

There is a farm where you can feed the animals, a petting area with rabbits and lambs, an adventure playground, a lake with ducks, and pony rides. Last year DD loved the pony ride. It's a pound a minute but five minutes didn't seem like very much time so we paid 10 pounds and bought her a 10 minute ride.

She didn't stop talking about it for months. And asking, 'can we go back to the farm one day and go on a horse again?' If it hadn't been the end of our holiday we would have found more horse riding for her before we left. Having said that, I was also mindful of not encouraging an expensive hobby that we can't afford.

So this year we went back to Aldenham, obviously, and had great fun feeding the animals. Of course I bought DD a 10 pound for 10 minutes ride on the pony and while we were waiting for our time, she expertly climbed round the adventure playground three times.

Ponies are DD's thing at the moment. My mother bought her a My Little Pony toy (which also cost 10 pounds) and it instantly became her BTF (Best Toy Forever). She found My Little Pony on my parents' wall-to-wall cable package and watched it at every opportunity. And every time we popped into Sainsbury's for my mum, we had to go to the toy isle to check if the My Little Ponies had got any cheaper. Funnily enough, they never had.

Last year we loved it

Anyway, back to the story, After the third go round the adventure playground I suggested we stroll down to the paddock to be ready for our pony ride. DD didn't want to go. "I've changed my mind, I don't want to go on a pony."

"What?! You loved it last year. Why not? You talked about it for months. I've paid 10 pounds for the ride and I can't get my money back. Don't be so silly, we're going. I've bought the ticket and we're going. You can't change your mind after I've paid for it....."

DD: "I don't care, I don't want to."

Now this child is not afraid of being on a horse. She was just enjoying herself so much on the adventure playground that she didn't want to leave. I couldn't promise her that we would return to the playground after the ride as we were with my friend who needed to go home. That was another factor, my friend Danielle who had so kindly driven us there and spent the whole afternoon with us, had been a bit 'surprised' when I bought the pony ride tickets at 3pm and the next available time slot was 5.30. However, she graciously agreed to wait so that DD could have her ride.

I was furious, I was stymied, I had five minutes to come up with something. That's when I heard myself saying it. I am not proud. This was not my finest parenting hour.

I said, "If you go on the pony ride I'll buy you another My Little Pony toy."

Think about it. I actually said that if she accepted the expensive treat I'd already bought her, she would get another expensive treat as a thank you from me. I still can't believe I said that but I did.

DD, beaming triumphantly, skipped happily to the paddock for her pony ride. In semi-shock I listened to her babbling on about whether she was going to choose Twilight Sparkle or Shuttlecock Fluttershine to go with her Pinky Pie.

This year it was a means to an end

She climbed on the horse without a care and did her once round the big field at the back. She didn't not enjoy it but she wasn't overly enthusiastic about it either. It was a means to an end and the next day we popped into Sainsbury's and bought Twilight Sparkle with three sets of detachable wings.

Since then I've been going over it in my mind. Whilst I'm happy not to have an expensive and potentially dangerous hobby on my hands, and whilst I don't resent that I bought DD one present to keep (not including books and clothes) from our holiday, I'm still struggling with it. And since then, I've been giving short shrift to changing one's mind. "You said you wanted shnitzel for supper so that's what you've got." "You told X you wanted to go to her party so you have to go."

There, I've told you. 

16 comments:

  1. My friend, so you bribed your child. We all do it at various points because we are human beings who cannot be perfectly consistent all the time; there is some value in finding flexibility within the rules we set. At the very least, DD now has a better idea of how she feels about the activity, because she did it twice.

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    1. Thanks. It's not so much the bribe per se. I often bribe and I'm ok with that. It was that the bribe was to have a treat. I often say for eg, if you finish your homework you can have a cupcake. Or, if you give me 10 minutes to finish my work I'll buy you an ice lolly tomorrow. But if you do me the favour of accepting my generous gift I'll give you another gift as a thank you?! That is the jarring issue here for me.

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    2. I bought my autistic son a big ice cream at Hersheypark because he always insists on it. Apparently he wasn't hungry because he didn't eat much....I spent 10 minutes literally coaxing him to eat the unhealthy treat because after all, I'd paid for it.

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    3. Thanks Tesyaa, that's exactly the situation I was in. I"m so pleased I'm not the only one. xxx

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  2. Necessary problem solving in a difficult situation (that type of "putting friends out" pressure is really hard to handle). Thank you for telling us - do you feel better now?

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    1. Most of the pressure for me was that didn't want to waste the money I'd spent for the ride. I could have said, ok we go home then (I did try that actually but DD said, 'ok, I still don't want to go on the horse.' I think it was apower struggle by that point. But I could have apologised to Danielle and we could have left. It was still half an hour sooner than after the ride and Danielle and I had had a lovely time catching up anyway. No, it was more about the wadte of money. At that point I don't even think DD would have agrred to come back to the playground after the ride. And yes I do feel better now - thank you.

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  3. Honestly, don't worry - sometimes you have to do the odd bribe, but aside from that - you were in Aldenham Country Park!? You were fifteen minutes away from me! I love that park, I took Little A there over the Easter hols, and she went on the pony ride too! I would have loved to have met you properly in person! X

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    1. Next year we'll coordinate and meet up there, or anywhere in the area. I didn't know you lived so close.

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  4. We just don't have all the answers all of the time and some situations get the better of us. Parents are only human! May all the moments where you are proud for getting it right far outweigh those when you don't quite make the finest parenting decision.

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  5. Don't be so hard on yourself, you were on holidays! And we all 'stoop' to be bribing now and then. It's a parenting tool as far as I'm concerned. And your back not letting her away with stuff since you came home!
    Actually, I thought you were going to say that you did the pony ride instead of her!!xx

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    1. LOL Jazzy, I would have quashed the poor pony flat.

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  6. If that is the worse bribe you ever make you are doing very well! Every parent has been there and done that lol

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    1. I know. Thanks. I think I'm ready to move on now.

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  7. I thought you were going to say that you got on the pony instead! I can imagine the jarring but needs must and we all do rash things occasionally so there's no need to beat yourself up. Not booking the ride would have been unthinkable!

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    1. As I said to Jazzy above - the pony would not have survived my weight. And you are right, I had to book the ride.

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