We took the many children to the local arcade/bowling alley/roller skating rink to celebrate my son’s 9th birthday. Upon arriving, the arcade is the first part of the arena you hit, so we spent some time there first. As we entered, there was one of those merry-go-round horse rides for toddlers my almost-two-year-old was mesmerized by. “Orse!” she kept saying until I put her on it.
I dropped in a quarter. Nothing happened. I shook the ‘ride’. I hit the quarter-return. Still nothing.
I walked over to the guy behind the prize desk (yes, it ended up being one of those arcades with tickets and prizes), and told him about the problem. He walked me over to the “orseys” and fed the machine a quarter, and magically it worked. My child smiled. A lot. And for that two minutes, life was good.
Until it stopped.
She begged me for another ride on the “orse”. This time my four-year-old joined her, along with their three-year-old cousin. “More! More!” they were chanting. I coughed up another quarter. Yet again it did not start. This time I went over to the counter, waiting for a second or two while the guy helped customers already there. This time, he didn’t walk me over, he told me that sometimes it’s ‘tempermental’ and handed me two quarters. I’m guessing one of the quarters was for the quarter I lost, and the other was for our trouble.
Upon entering the replacement quarter in the ‘orseys’, it again started, and smiles and laughter ensued once again, and life was good once more.
Call me sentimental, and over-emotional, but I was almost in tears. Something about my kids and her smile and these silly “orseys” were just making me melt there in the middle of the loud arcade.
Luckily after this go around, she decided she wanted to check out the rest of the arcade, so we explored other things, and Skee Ball looked like fun for her, especially when she saw others playing and throwing balls, it intrigued her, so that is where we decided to spend our free quarter.
Happily she sit on the ramp while rolling the balls back to herself, since her throws weren’t hard enough. We spent a good amount of time there, while she tried to throw balls into other lanes, stealing other’s balls, climbing the ramp, chasing her balls down as they ran behind her. Time was in a stand still while she marveled at her playing the ball game, throwing, chasing, giggling maniacally through it all, lather, rinse, repeat.
It did my heart good.
Toddler happiness – for the price of a free quarter.