We took the family to Como Zoo and Como Town. The nonprofit donation-only zoo is amazing and we saw the famous Sparky The Seal Show that has entertained for generations. But the real attraction were the rides at Como town.
My four-year old flipped for train rides, a slower-than-a-stroll mini go-cart track and bumper cards. I even rocked the bumper cars with him, since he was just under the height requirements.
With his unlimited ride wristband came a zip-line ride. Now, he was too young to ride, so this six-feet tall kid was excited to take advantage. We waited in line together, as I needed to scan his band for me to ride. The ride attendant grabbed the pole-of-height to measure, and my son was maybe an inch below the height to ride with an adult.
And then the scene began. His little mind had the hopes–and why of course wouldn’t he–to ride the several story-ascending sitting zip-line that shoots two people across the park at treetop level. His two hands clenched together behind his back to make scanning the ticket impossible, and I was just shy of forcefully grabbing his wrist to scan the ticket. I wanted to ride!
We held up the line for what felt like 10 minutes before I had to step aside and ask everyone else to go forward. With disappointment, we strolled down the entrance ramp and the temper-tantrum erupted.
I’ve heard that people expect kids to behave like this from time to time, especially if these people are or have ever been parents. What they don’t expect is the parent to have a fit back at the kid for having their fit. I’ll show you who the biggest baby is. And trust me I can be a huge baby, but I reeled it in.
I remained calm while the, “I’m never going to play with you again,” pre-school insults were flung. Snot and tears rained. Ear-piercing screams alerted everyone in the vicinity that our family had arrived.
I offered consoling words. The calm, “It’s okays were pulled away from. “The I’m sorrys weren’t even acknowledged. “Go away,” was shouted with pure anger in his eyes. So I asked him to come join us because it was time to leave the amusement park and head into the zoo. “By acting this way, you have lost your privileges.” And he increase the volume when I thought it couldn’t go any louder.
This scene made me feel that I had completely failed at parenting and that my son is actually a brat.
Looking back on the event, the scene taught me that things do eventually smooth out. That most people don’t judge, and even if they do that’s not my business. That eventually my son will forgive. And that I need to forgive to put everything behind us. (I never did get to ride the zip-line.)
I am also realize the importance of expectations. Somewhere in hindsight, I could have alleviated the misconception that he was able to ride the ride.
Lesson learned. Enjoy the journey.