Monday, 7 July 2014
the one when disney merchandise turns you into a really ordinary parent
We met friends in the city on Saturday night, taking the kids to see Disney on Ice. We'd never been to anything like that before but when my friend emailed me a few months ago suggesting we go together, I thought the kids would really enjoy it. And they did.
It's such a treat, taking my big two out and leaving the small to enjoy some solo time with dad. I watched two and three year olds run up and down the stairs as the show lit up, the ice dancers performing tricks and lip-synching compacted versions of their widescreen originals. Climbing the stairs and clawing for a sparkly, Disney character, whizzy thingamajig was far more entertaining, apparently. I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel some kind of superiority in my excellent decision making in leaving my three year old behind..
All superiority was warranted as prior events saw my so-called superior parenting crumbling to the floor - fairly spectacularly - as Middle begged and pleaded for an expensive piece of plastic that could be seen through the windows of the arena, BEFORE we even made it into the building, given the amount of fluorescent lighting used to draw your five year old's attention to the ridiculous amount of merchandise stands lining the glass hallways as you made your way to your allocated entrance door. It's a wonder the whole place didn't go up in flames.
Looking forward to the night, I had never - not once - thought about the merchandise. I had thought perhaps they would sell a commemorative program full of glossy pictures and stories to remember the night, like the ones you're offered when you go to a concert. I know, I know. What a fool. I hear you say BUT IT'S DISNEY!! OF COURSE THERE WOULD BE AN OBSCEEEEEEENE AMOUNT OF MERCH FOR SALE!! IT'S WHAT THEY DO BEST! That's what the husband said when we got home anyway. When I walked in that building, I felt like I had been belted over the back of the head - and probably rightly so - given my incredible lack of foresight on the merchandising front. I wasn't prepared. I had no plan. My window for a civilised discussion with the kids on why they didn't need a cheap, plastic toy to remember their evening out, had been open for weeks. And now? Lodged firmly shut. And locked. Key thrown away.
Even the most well behaved child in the building turned into a green eyed monster, hunting their prey, their chosen piece of plastic paraphernalia that would fill them with delight and happiness. Until it broke. In the not too distant future.
I had packed some snacks in my bag. Why didn't I anticipate they would sell fairy floss? The stuff you buy for $2 a bag at the confectionary store? No, no. Melbourne Park feel $4.50 is a far more appropriate price to charge for a bag full of air and sugar. And AS IF your usually-happy-to-share-a-bag children would want to share on such an auspicious occasion? Ha! That would just be crazy. $9 on sugar, thankyou very much. But it's a special occasion, right? So I had to suck it up and hand over the money.
You know that old saying - you've got to pick your battles? I never remember it more than when my parenting is put to the test in public. Saturday night was the perfect example. Was the number of coins left in my sad looking purse at the end of the night more important than the kids sharing overpriced bags of fairy floss with their little friends on a special night, one that would never be repeated? No. Even though the principle of spending $9 on sugar left a horribly bitter taste in my mouth, it was the better choice. Similarly, eventually caving to the demands of a whining child at the merch stand was the better choice. The alternative? Say no and drag a tantrum throwing noise box out of a packed building. Hmmm. If there was a quick getaway, I would actually choose the latter. Cruel, huh? The unnecessary want for more things simply because they are put in front of their faces (as giant, fluorescent beacons), when they play so happily with a handful of loved and trusted toys that stand the test of time, drives me insane. No amount of calm voices and rational reasoning is going to win you the fight.
Later in the evening, it was agreed that if they wanted to purchase something from the sea of merchandise stands before we left, they could do so using money from their piggy banks. Cue tears from the eldest who, of course, took me completely literally, wailing BUT WE DON'T HAVE OUR PIGGYYYYYY BANKSSSSSS HEEEEERRRE!!
Thanks Disney. Lesson learnt. You're the best.