You know how sometimes an incident can occur which, in the great scheme of things, is really rather trivial, but for some reason you just can’t let it go? Even years later you still feel angry every time you think about it? Well let me tell you about the clown lady…
When my son was two (that’s him aged two in the picture) we went to a children’s Christmas party. At the party they had a clown lady to entertain the children. At the end of her show, she announced that she had some balloon animals that she had made earlier to give out but there weren’t enough for everybody, so she would give them out to the children who sat the most quiet and still and just put their hand up. My son, who was probably the youngest there, sat there quietly and raised his hand. All around him the older children started jumping up and down, waving their arms and shouting “Me! Me! Me!”.
One by one, my son watched the clown lady give out the balloon animals to all those children who were jumping and shouting the loudest. The whole time it was going on, he didn’t move. He didn’t wave his arm. He didn’t call out. He didn’t even rise up a bit taller on his knees. He just sat there very good and quiet with his arm in the air, no doubt confident that he would eventually be rewarded for doing as he was told. As I surveyed the scene, I too remained confident that he would be rewarded, I even thought perhaps she was saving the best one for him as he was sitting there so good and quiet as he had been told. At one point
the bitch the clown lady even reached over the top of him to give one to a girl who was waving and shrieking particularly loudly behind him.
When the final balloon animal had been given out, my son slowly lowered his arm and turned round to me with a look of disappointed confusion. I was furious. He had been taught a terrible lesson – do as you’re told and get nothing. It sounds silly, but I really felt like he lost a little bit of innocence that day. How dare that woman teach him that life can be cruel and unfair when I wasn’t ready for him to learn that yet? I know she was just an entertainer, but when she had set a rule like she did, she had a responsibility to follow it through for the sake of all the children there.
There is a slight chance that the clown lady may have looked a tiny bit friendlier than the one in the picture at the top of here, but in my memory she looks like that.
My son is now 10, and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t suffered any long term consequences from it, so why can I still not let it go?