Where will we go today?

Its the little things in life that make me happy…

Spring is only two days away, and the bitter winds and drizzle have – for the most part – died off, and each day it seems, is becoming a little warmer.

Today, my Wife and I went for a bbq picnic brunch, out at the Lake.

Its a lovely spot, and on nice sunshiny days like today, people are out and about – walking their dogs, playing with their kids, zooming about in their power boats, or just paddling about in the shallows.
Life is happening all around, and for me, I like being able to sit back and just enjoy watching it…

We had a bbq breakfast of bacon, eggs, beans, and toast, washed down with a cup of tea, and a shared glass of orange juice.

It was yummy, and the surrounds invoked a peaceful feel.
Definitely a nice way to start the day – and one of the things that today, made me happy.

On the way home, we popped in to the grocery store, to get some supplies for dinner, and the start of the week.

At the moment one of our local stores is giving away stickers when you spend a certain amount at checkout.
Its a money-raising scheme for the local schools, and you pop your ribbon of stickers into the box of whichever school you want to support. The school then gets to spend $x per sticker collected, on educational items for their school.

The local kids all love getting the stickers, and I think it also probably makes them feel like they are making a real contribution to their school community. Their little faces are so proud when they pop those stickers into their box of choice!!

Now the youngest of our kids is in his 20s – so needless to say we aren’t collecting them for him!
Nor are we collecting for the grandbabies, as they don’t go to school yet, and also – they don’t live locally.

So – each time I go shopping, I end up with a great ribbon of stickers, and I have taken to keeping my eye out, when I am at the checkout, for a likely child on which to bestow my stickers.

I have two different criteria that I use when “making my selection“, and they are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

One is the child who has been beautifully behaved whilst shopping with their adult.

Its nice to be able to hand over the ribbon of stickers, and thank them for how fabulously they behaved during shopping, and its even nicer to see the look of excitement on their face at getting the stickers given to them.
Its also a big pleasure to see the happiness (and often well-deserved pride) of the attending adult, that the child has been noticed and praised.

The other is the child who is starting to have a bit of a spin-out.
They’ve obviously been at school, or day care or such, and now they’ve been dragged into the shops, and they’ve just had quite enough – thank you very much – and are about to ramp it up to melt-down level, at any tick of the clock.
Usually, you can see that their attending adult knows that shit is about to hit the fan, too – and its a bit of a toss-up on which of them is going to blow their gasket first…

Why do I pick this child?

Because when I wander over, and stand in front of them (suspicious frown on attending adult), I rip the sticker ribbon in half, and give half of the ribbon to the child – telling them that they will get the other half if they can keep being really nicely behaved – just like they are now, until they get the groceries home, and help take them inside.

Then I give the other half of the ribbon to the attending adult, whilst saying to child: “See, heres the rest, just like I said, and you get them ALL, if you keep being really nicely behaved, just like you are now, until you get home, and help take the groceries inside“.

I’m sure it doesn’t always work how I’m hoping it will – but I’m pretty sure a lot of times it does!

And as I wander off, I occasionally hear a more relaxed attending adult, who is often praising the child for the good behaviour that they are sure is about to come, and a child who has settled a bit – all just because someone interrupted the vibe that was starting to build, in a not so good way…

The other day, I saw the mother of a child whom I had given stickers to.
It was out in the car park, and the child had been on its way to being a brat when I had handed over the half sticker ribbon to him, and half to his Mumma.

When I caught sight of her, she had just finished buckling him up in his booster seat, in the back of the car, and had given him a kiss.
As she stood back up, and shut the door, and went to get into the drivers seat, she looked up, saw me, and with a weary half-smile, she mouthed “thank you” to me, across the roofs of the few cars between us.

It made me happy….

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