An “Oh No” Moment

This weekend I had what can only be described as an “Oh No” parenting moment, which was only redeemed but it’s immense cuteness.

Thomas, like a lot of toddlers, is obsessed by the ride-on machines you find inside shopping centres and the like. The first time he managed to clamber inside one himself, he sat there proudly for a good few minutes, completely and totally satisfied by his accomplishment. The biggest problem we face if is he happens to spot a Thomas the Tank Engine one, since it’s a recipe for a tantrum when we try to pull him away.

I’ve never put money into one, however. And always managed to steer him away whenever someone has put money in to one. I’ve always maintained that they are just for sitting in, and Thomas has never seemed to doubt this. I’ve done this in part to avoid continual pestering, especially as the likelihood of me having change for a ride at any given time is quite low. I’ve done it in part because they are so expensive for what they are. And I’ve also done it because I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that Thomas would be a child who screamed for the duration of the ride if we did put money in.

So, I didn’t think much of it as he climbed in to a car on a miniature Looney Tunes Roundabout at a local shopping centre this weekend. He beamed as he spun the steering wheel and pretended to honk the horn. Then he had a little look around. A big button evidently caught his eye.

A big button marked “Start”.

So he pressed it.

The thing about this particular ride is that you pay for “Two rides”. But someone had evidently missed this fact and, having paid, only pressed the button once. So when Thomas hit “Start”, start it did.

My jaw may have involuntarily opened in surprise. And a small amount of “Oh no, this can’t be happening…” type horror.





The plus sides are the free ride (who says there isn’t such thing as a free ride?) and the fact that he absolutely loved it. The look on his face was pure, infectious joy. He waved as he went round, then leaned over to pluck the balloon he’d earlier acquired from an unsuspecting trader out of his Dad’s hand.

The downside is the fact that I can never walk through that part of the shopping centre with Thomas ever again. I will have to take a route past a different set of ride-ons. Because it is only that machine that moves. The rest are just for sitting in. Right?


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