Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bravery, Bribery and Parenting

When you have more than one child, you realize how different they just naturally are.  Sure you learn things along the way and your parenting skills and beliefs change a little, but overall you raise each child the same, yet they often turn out so different.

Yesterday my family spent the day at Knotts Berry Farm.  When the gates first opened the boys and I hurried off to Camp Snoopy to ride the ferris wheel and the other calm rides, while Eric and Alex rushed off to get on Silver Bullet, a big roller coaster, before the line is too long.

Alex, our middle child and the only girl, is the bravest of bunch.  She went on space mountain at Disneyland at two-years-old (she was just tall enough).  At Knotts she has gone on Silver Bullet, the Boomerang (a roller coaster that goes backwards up a big hill and through a loop) and just about every other ride there.  Lucas who is older by two-years will ride hardly any of the big rides.  He loves roller coasters though, knows all sorts of facts and statistics about each ride, but he won't ride them.

So, we usually divide and conquer throughout the day to fit their different likes.  There has always been one ride that Alex would not ride, The X-celerator.  It is a roller coaster that launches you from 0-82 in 2.3 seconds then shoots you straight up only to come straight back down at a 90 degree angle.  It is intense.  I know I would have never rode it as an 8-years-old.

Eric has tried to convince her to go on it, but she has always refused.  Then one day she came up with an alternative, if she won a prize at one of those carnival style games, the ones you have to pay extra money for, she would go on X-celerator.

Yesterday, with some cash in tow, we let her take a crack at one of the games.  She desperately tried to throw the ping-pong balls into these little floating bowls, but no luck.  Then we spotted a game that required 4 players to play at once, whoever whacked the most little moles that popped up of the four players won.  No one else was around, so just our family played, ensuring a win.  Eric technically won, but Alex got the prize so she was happy and ready to keep her promise.

We stood in line, she said she was nervous.  The teenage girl in front of us asked if Alex had been on the ride before, unsure if she wanted to ride it herself.  We reassured them both how fun it was, once you get past that initial launch.

We got closer to the ride.  My heart suddenly started pounding, the ride didn't scare me but the anxiety for my child, my little girl and how she would handle it began to take over. I knew she would probably like it in the end, but my heart couldn't help but beat a little faster. She got on the ride, all ready to go.  Eric sat by her side, I sat in the row behind while the boys walked through to wait by the exit.

The lights blinked, counting down to the moment of truth.  The coaster rocketed forth with incredible speed.  I could hear Alex screaming, her deep alto scream.  The ride was over before I knew it.  Eric was high-fiving Alex saying 'you did it!'.

And Alex, what did she say after we got off?

Can we go on it again?!
Right after she rode the X-celerator, the first big straight up part which you can see in the background

Parenting, where sometimes a little bribery incentive really does work.


  1. Wow! Alex!! Wow!!!!! Go Alex!!!!!!!!!

  2. That's crazy but not surprising! Awesome girl!! Cute pic too and I can totally hear her alto scream. Love it!!

  3. Way to go, Alex! She's so awesome! When we went to the amusement park for the first time, Lexie had never ridden a roller coaster. Her very first one was the biggest, fastest, scariest coaster in the park, and she loved it!

  4. She IS brave!!! I wasn't able to ride those until at least 12. And then it was my friends and peer pressure. ha! But I still love them so... Way to go, Alex!!!

  5. I don't think a million dollars could have gotten me on that roller coaster ;) That is so awesome that she was game to do it, especially since she wound up having fun!!

  6. hehe... she sounds like me around that age. We went to Worlds of Fun in Kansas City and I begged them to let me ride a roller coaster that I was just shy of being tall enough, then I cried because they wouldn't let me ride again while others were crying because they didn't want to ride.

  7. Brave little thing, isn't she?! That ride looks like so much fun! Lexie loves all the big, fast rides, too - just like her momma! :)