I am not a fan of carnivals. When I was a kid, I went to one of those parking lot carnivals that roam from town to town taking the money of children in exchange for silly games that are the start of our fascination with get rich quick schemes. Think about it. You give the game person a few tickets which feel meaningless but actually cost real money and you get a chance to win a big prize. Now you could have taken all the money you had and bought the a decent prize for yourself, though all the money you spent on tickets would probably not buy you the big panda bear the size of a four year old child. That is why you must play the game. I don't remember the details but I remember halfway through the evenings fun feeling pretty defeated and like I wasted my money. And I hate to waste money. I felt a bit cheated too. I don't think I have enjoyed a carnival since.
This week we had the boys' school carnival. I was not sure what to expect since it was our first time attending. I volunteered to help set up because I figured it would take both of us to keep track of our kids at the carnival. So glad I did. It was so busy that we ended up dividing and conquering with my husband taking Little One and I took the older boys. They had so much fun. They loved all the games, especially the dart ballon throw. They are such boys. I think popping a balloon with a dart and hearing the loud pop is probably prize enough for them. Though each booth had a winning prize and a consolation prize so you never walked away empty handed. They bowled. They fished for rubber duckies. They bounced their way through an obstacle course. They got lots of candy and a few little trinkets along the way. They had a blast. And I even had fun. It was fun to see everyone and know that the money raised was going back into our school. It was so fun watching them squeal with delight when they popped the balloon or saw a friend. It was a great night.
I guess there are some great things about growing up. The bigger I get the smaller the world is. The things that used to scare me or make me feel vulnerable no longer do. I'm not scared of the dark or the unknown. I actually sort of enjoy both at times. But I am still very uncomfortable around get rich schemes and am teaching my kids that it is better to save your money. So I guess the lesson was learned. The fun is in the games, not the prizes.