The Claw

Image by _rockinfree.

Last week before we set out on our road trip I took Big Brother for a haircut. We arrived at the salon a few minutes before it opened and I, ever a sucker for his pleading, agreed to his request to play a “quarter game” at the neighboring K-Mart.

In we walked to the vestibule where he chose to press his coin into the claw game. He eyed his target, sent the claw forward, then to the side.

And he grabbed it. A purple four legged octopus. (A quadripus?)

His hazel eyes as wide as saucers, he looked at me and smiled.

The claw retracted to its homebase, dropping the quadripus into the waiting bin.

Where it promptly got stuck.

The injustice of it all!, I thought to myself. To actually win the stinkin’ claw game and then to have your prize get stuck!? What’s the lesson in that? What is the metaphor?Β  Thanks a lot, K & M Amusements of Akron!

I looked down at him, ready to philosophize.Β  Ready to comfort.

“You okay, buddy?”

“Yeah,” he shrugged, “Let’s go get a haircut, Mom.”

“Okay, baby. Let’s go.”

Who deals better with small disappointments – you or your kids?


21 responses to “The Claw

  1. Wow. What an amazing little guy. And how amazing that you are so in tune with him that you knew he was OK and didn’t freak out (as I probably would have done:)

    Love hearing about the road trip. Hope you are doing well!

  2. Sweet, sweet boy! And lovely and wise interaction between the two of you.

  3. Kudos to your little man. If that had happened to either of my children, there would have been drama and tears galore. Good luck with the road trip–I still have nightmares about the road trips of my childhood. Can’t wait to hear about your adventures!

  4. They are often wise and easy-going beyond their years.

  5. Those machines should totally be banned! πŸ™‚

    My boys don’t often throw huge fits over things like this, even when I’m totally expecting them to…my heart will hurt so strongly for them and then BOOM, they move on. Maybe a whimper or fuss and then they just keep going. It’s inspiring.

  6. Oh, those claw games! (I think it’s a conspiracy. I don’t recall ever being able to get a toy out of one of those bins!)

    As for disappointment, sometimes our kids surprise us, don’t they? But we don’t always know when they’ll take something in stride, and when they won’t. Hoping it was a great haircut to offset the loss of the quadripus!

  7. I think I might be the calmer one of us three. My boys are very big into social justice, and the rightness of it all. I’m more ambivalent: “Meh. That’s life, I suppose.”

    That being said, they don’t really throw fits. They may ask to speak to a manager, however. Which I think may serve them well later in life!

  8. I am happy to say I’ve gotten three stuffed animals for my daughter out of the claw game. It is one of my fav games. (Not completely one point – but I wanted to share).

    I love the ease in which children can move in and out of situations. Wisdom beyond their age.

  9. This reminded me of haircut time at sleep-away camp, lined up for buzz-cuts in some corrugated roofed outbuilding, flies darting in the sunbeams. Someone whispered, “hope you don’t get three-fingered-Louis.” As I got to the darkened door, two waiting chairs and two barbers on the concrete floor, a counselor directed this one left the next one right. As I sat in the chair, out of the corner of my eye, the two stumps of a missing pinkie and ring-finger brushed against my cheek… it wasn’t the claw, but then again…

  10. On the whole, me. In the long term, them–since they don’t remember after a day or two.

  11. My son rocks at those claw games, but I “won” once. Nearly ten years ago I manage to claw out a stuffy: a skeleton with a pumpkin for a head. My daughter was only three and thrilled to have it.

    A decade later, it’s been with us through Vietnam, China, Thailand and Malaysia and she still sleeps with “Mr. Spooky” on most nights.

    You just never know; sometimes you really win.

  12. I try to gauge my response based upon however they respond. I prefer them to see me calm, cool and collected, especially when we are dealing with some sort of crazy situation.

    Most of the time it works out pretty well for us. I try not to play that claw game because it makes me want to put my fist through the glass. I always get the stupid toy and then watch it slip away…. πŸ˜‰

  13. “The claw is our leader.” Too funny–our kids have watched that movie a hundred times.

    I think I deal with small disappointments better right now–I have had a lifetime of practice, but I see their potential in passing me eventually.

  14. Definitely my kids! My heart always hurts that they may hurt and then I worry. I only wish that things were so easy for me to let go. πŸ™‚

  15. My oldest is almost five and is reaching this same stage, where disappointment is a potential outcome. There are some things he’ll have a hard time dealing with, especially with it came with a lot of built-in excitement. For others, he’ll now shrug his shoulders and say, it’s OK, let’s just go, when he would have thrown a temper tantrum just a few months ago. It’s great to see kids mature like this.

  16. A quadripus! We have a dog toy that’s a quadripus and my roommate and I had an existential dilemma about whether we really call it an octopus or change its name.

    This makes me kind of sad, otherwise, though so I suspect I deal less well with disappointment than my little Wee ‘Burb. Although it’s hard to say how she processes it, as really she gets equally upset if she falls and hits her head as she does if I ask her to sit nicely on the couch.

  17. I think that claw thing is meant to trick you that way.

  18. I put two quarters into a parking meter last week and nothing happened. I remembered the beginning of the movie–was it Cool Hand Luke?–where Paul Newman beheaded a whole row of parking meters. Such a satisfying scene.

  19. That’s pretty cool….I find that with Ben it just totally depends on his mood at the moment….one day, he’s like “I gotta get a shot at the doctor today?? Aw shucks…okay, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do…” Other times, he’s like “I can’t wear my blue shirt cause it’s dirty?? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

  20. It depends on the kid, on the day, on the mood. Matthew, the oldest, might be reasoned with. Andrew is all about the drama and whining. Joshua could go any way. Thank goodness Big Brither handled it better than I would have! Hope the trip went well!

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