My husband recently climbed Mt. Ranier in Ashford, Washington, just outside of Seattle. Considered a training ground for some of the larger mountains, it wasn’t Everest, but was quite a feat for a man who had not yet lost his sympathetic baby weight.
After months of impressively creative training, including hiking with a 40 lb three-year old on his back, he headed to the mountain in June for his planned assent. Unfortunately (not just for him, of course) he was scheduled to summit the day of a fatal avalanche, and he and his group were forced to turn around. He came home, grateful for his safety, but disappointed not to have reached the summit, and was told in no uncertain terms by both his wife and his mother that he was never, but never, to climb anything larger than an anthill again. Being a devoted husband and a dutiful son, he waited almost 60 days to go back. This time he made it to the top, and returned victorious, proud, annoyingly flat-stomached and tanned.
The next morning, he was itching to tell his admiring sons about Daddy’s feat, and over breakfast he said to them, “So, I’ve got something really exciting to show you, do you want to see it?” “Yes, yes, yes, yay, yay, yay!!” said his adoring three- and four-year old. On the table in front of them he laid the map of his exciting adrenaline and sometimes fear inducing route, carefully pointing it out to the boys, and a slate gray folder holding an elegant certificate, confirming that Daddy had reached 14,010 feet. “See?” He said, reading to them proudly, “What you do you think of that?” His three-year old looked up at him, clearly less than dazzled, and said “But where is the exciting thing? Is there a toy inside?”
It’s good to remember that while little ones are easy to please, they can be deceptively difficult to impress unless you’ve got a solid bottom line.