There are a couple of holes in this method of parenting though, when you pair the absolutes in thought processes for a child of "right and wrong" along with parents of three children who need to save a buck or two it is difficult to explain grey areas to young children. My parents used to lie about our ages in order to get a discount, or whatever it was they selfishly* wanted. This made me crazy, especially when I was 12 or 13 and desperately trying to be more grown-up. Not only were they doing what they taught me was wrong (being mistaken aka liars), in my mind they were implying that I was not worthy of the adult menu with unrefined tastes that could only be satiated with chicken fingers and place mats that come with crayons.
Sleeping Molly at her first Beer Garden while Spirit of the West Played (1 Month Old)
Now that I'm a parent I totally get their shenanigans. Taking children anywhere is ridiculously expensive and when there are meltdowns; you end up paying full admission to stand near the entrance for 15 minutes until you finally can't take it any longer and go home annoyed and a little more broke than usual.
Nowadays I will coupon, bargain and beg to save money any way I can. Aside from planes, trains or any other form of transportation there is no way a two year old's admission should cost the same as a nine year old's. With respect to transit, there is no situation where I could possibly fathom wanting to hurdle through the air at several hundred miles per hour with a two year old Molly or Jack sitting on my lap, pulling my hair and climbing me like a jungle gym.
So, when is it okay to be "mistaken" about your child's age for the greater good?** Below is some convenient justification.
- If an activity costs more per hour for family admission than going out for a movie and paying for a babysitter, with popcorn: I will lie about your age to save money. I will bring soothers to stuff in your mouth to keep you quiet if I have to.
- If there is a beer garden, I will strap you to my chest in a hiking carrier and avoid the bouncers at all costs, I don't care if you are four years old.
- If my children cannot participate in at least 75% of the rides/play structures etc. at said "attraction" I will not pay full price, period.
- Molly or Jack will be whatever age they need to be to get said crown, prize, toy that is being given away for free.
- When we are at a restaurant and an adult wants to order something that is on the children's menu, a child will be ordering said item and "sharing" with the above-mentioned adult.
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*Yeah my parents trying to save money while taking me and my sibling out to dinner, what jerks.
**The definition of "the greater good" is highly debatable.