Like so many commands from my four year old, “Mommy, put on my life jacket.”
“I would be glad to. What’s the word I’m waiting for?”
She replied, “Sorry?”
“No, not sorry. What word am I looking for?”
“I’m very, VERY sorry?”
We took the kids to a water park over the weekend and Chloe overheard an announcement about coming to the Coconut Grove, or Canyon Cove or Reception and winning a prize.
I didn’t hear any of it but it gave us an adventure to chase while her sisters (and Dad) raced each other on water slides and tried to see who could make the biggest splash.
We finally found the DJ booth and asked to claim our prize. We weren’t interested in the contest that might preclude the winning of said prize, we figured finding a person-in-the-know was worth the reward.
We were informed there would be some sort of dance-off in about an hour but even that sounded like they weren’t totally sure.
I lured Chloe away from Treasure Trove with the promise of more sliding and fewer grammar lessons but she held onto the idea of winning something amazing at the water park and listened intently for future clues.
We passed by Pirate Island right when the hula hooping contest was about to start. The contestants included; four girls who were wearing little more than nipple covers while smoking and trying to make hula hooping more sexual than my prudish mind thought possible, a twenty-something couple who had incorporated dance into their obviously rehearsed hula hoop number, twin-8 year old boys, a teenage couple who tried to hula in the same hoop stopping only to make-out and of course a late entry, Chloe.
The announcer asked all of the contestants to hold the hoops around their waists until he told them to start.
At the bell, a couple of nipple covers slipped and there were instant disqualifications, the mid-twenties couple abandoned their hoops for a lift and spin combo, the teenage couple fell on top of each other on a lounge chair, Chloe’s hoop dropped to the ground and the 8 year old twins hula-ed their way to victory.
Chloe’s eyes filled with tears, “So now I don’t get a prize?”
I told her there was no way you could ever win a prize if you didn’t try and you wouldn’t win prizes unless you had a winning attitude.
“So I don’t get a prize?”
I wanted this to be a lesson for Chloe. That not everything in life is handed to you, that you don’t always win and sometimes losing gracefully (even if it is to this almost unbelievable cast of characters) is worth more than a hula hoop contest prize.
She motioned for me to bend down so she could whisper something in my ear.
As the contestants and audience looked over, they imagined Chloe whispering her disappointment in my ear, embarrassed to cry in front of the crowd. They all hugged her with their eyes and tilted heads.
What she actually said was, “Mommy, I did the hula hoop. If you don’t get me a prize I am never going to talk to you ever again and I’m going to throw a rock at you.”
Just as I took Chloe’s hand to remove her from the competition and discuss this whole rock hurling threat, the announcer walked over and handed her a package of Pop Rocks candy and said, “This is for you, just for trying.”
As long as we’re all on the same page.