Every parent knows them. The rides placed strategically in shopping centres. Whether Play School or Frozen or some anonymous horse or firetruck, they have a hypnotic power over children. As soon a child sees one, it begins.
“Mum! Look! A ride! A ride! I wanna go on a ride! Mum! Mum! Mum! Mum!”
Even though the rides move at approximately the speed of a giant tortoise, to a kid, it feels like they’re racing in a Formula One Grand Prix.
It is their thrill of the week. I remember one mum guiltily admitting that she’d dislocated her daughter’s elbow while trying to drag her off a ride that wasn’t even moving.
For all the years that my kids were young enough to want rides, they cost two dollars. Shopping trip after shopping trip, the question would come. I shovelled my fair share of $2 coins into them over the years, but I would only do it if I had a $2 coin on me. It was part of the ritual.
“Oh, you want a ride? Well, let me see. I might have a $2 coin. No, I don’t think I do. Oh, wait, I have one. So you’re lucky. You can have a ride. Just one ride. Only because you’ve been good today.”
Of course, because I was the one holding the wallet, only I knew whether I had one of those rare $2 coins or not. If I didn’t have a $2 coin, there was no chance for a ride. End of story. End of whine.