I learned that one can get a lot out of a kid with the promise of the indoor water park. Especially Alaskan kids for whom water slides are a super special thing. Heck, I managed to go bathing suit shopping with a three year-old with the promise of water slides. (Yes, in Anchorage in the winter. Yes, I am now the proud owner of one terribly unflattering Speedo. The only thing stopping me from sobbing in the Sports Authority change room was that the suit was on sale and I didn't have to spend $90 to look as badly as I did.)
The water park was a blast. Toddler had so much fun and played for hours on end. We finally dragged her out of the water, into some clothes and off to dinner where we celebrated her birthday with chocolate cake and pizza. Swim suit horror aside, it was a great day.
This was our first trip to Anchorage with Little Hunter. It was a different dynamic for us having two children in tow. We used to take turns with Toddler. Every morning of Anchorage trips past, we would compare to-do lists, trade off and hit the more kid unfriendly places alone. We couldn't really do that this time. We hadn't been to Anchorage in months. Our respective lists were huge. We had to pick a kid and take our chances.
On Sunday morning Hunter wanted to shop Sportsman's Warehouse. On his list was a pair of hiking boots. He chose Toddler.
Now, has it ever happened to you where your spouse calls you and you can tell he's mad and when he starts telling you why he's so mad you start laughing? Worse, you can't stop? That's what happened when Hunter called to tell me about his trip to the sports store.
It started with ice cream. He walked into the store with Toddler and immediately Toddler spotted the freezer case filled with ice cream. After a bit of negotiation, Hunter got her away from the ice cream and over to the footwear display. Now, I've told Hunter that Toddler likes shoes. I don't think he ever realized just how much she likes shoes. He probably thought I was exaggerating. I'm pretty sure he doesn't think that anymore.
While he tried on hiking boots, Toddler tried on, well, everything she could get her hands on. I asked him to pick up a pair of winter boots for her should he come across a pair. He said he tried to get her to try on a suitable pair but she insisted on buying the boots she was wearing - two floor models. One pink boot four sizes too small and one purple boot two sizes too big. After some more negotiation and a few tears shed by Toddler, he got her back into her own boots and continued through the store.
Then Toddler found the floor model, kids' sized camp chair. Hunter said it was hideous. It was a ratty, blue and white chair that had clearly seen better days. Toddler loved it. She sat and she stayed. Try as he might, Hunter could not get her to give up the chair. So he decided to work it to his advantage. He'd talk her out of the chair, pick it up, RUN to the aisle he wanted to shop, put the chair in front of the aisle and wait for Toddler to catch up and sit herself down. He said it worked like a charm until he realized he was running out of store and needed to make the chair go away.
So he decided to redirect Toddler. On the floor was a camp trailer all set up with bunks and tables and chairs inside. He drew Toddler's attention to the trailer, got her inside and quickly hid the camp chair. "Come play camping with me, Daddy!" came the call from the trailer. Hunter patted himself on the back as he climbed on in. Seconds later came, "Daddy? Where's my chair?" Toddler flew out of the trailer, found the chair Hunter hid, dragged it inside and sat herself down.
At this point, Hunter was getting desperate. There was no way he was buying that ratty old chair and no way he could see that Toddler would give it up. He thought about bribery. He thought about that ice cream chest. He vowed never to bribe the kid to behave but as he was learning, desperate times call for desperate measures.
He swallowed hard and bribed her. It failed. Toddler wanted that chair more than she wanted ice cream. So Hunter once more talked her into standing up, picked up the chair and ran to the camping section where, thankfully, sat a perfect pink Toddler-sized camp chair. He put the ratty blue chair in front of it and lucky for him, Toddler went for the brand-new pink chair. Even better, the chair cost $11. Hunter said that even if the chair cost $111 he probably would have had to walk out with it.
They picked up the new pink chair, made their way to the check out and finally got themselves out of the store. He did it. He took Toddler to Sportsmen's Warehouse, accomplished his goal of finding a pair of new hiking boots and all it cost him was an hour and an $11 bright pink camp chair.
I think he got off easy.