I finally met my niece for the first time a few days ago, but the meeting did not go the way I expected.
It’s no secret, my experience with children is fairly limited. Regardless, I was determined to make a good first impression. So, armed with my credit card and about half a day’s worth of research on amazon, my girlfriend and I figured we had found some winners. I figured a first meeting should be a time for big gifts and bribery so we had found my niece a toy puppy with a dog carrier…that makes a lot of sounds and has a lot of lights. Perfect! And while I had met my nephew once before, I would have been surprised if he had remembered me at all. That being said, I was unwilling to show up empty-handed and found him a remote-controlled transforming car. Who could say no to that?
I was set.
I packed up the gifts and headed over to my sister’s house, excited to meet the newer members of my family. I walked through the door, said hello, and handed my nephew the car. He was excited and played with it immediately.
Score 1 for me! I gave myself a pat on the back, quickly celebrating my success and good fortune.
Next up, the niece; one of the big reasons for my visit. I watched as poppa (the affectionate nickname given to my dad by the kids) was sitting with her, helping her with her lunch. I hesitated and decided patience was key. 5 minutes….10 minutes….20 minutes. Lunchtime was over. Finally! Now was my moment to strike!
I got up, went over to the box, picked it up, and excitedly introduced myself while handing it to her.
She just stared at me. I wasn’t sure what to do. Then, after a few moments, she made a scowling face, grabbed the box, and ran off to poppa get help unwrapping it. I was stunned.
What just happened?
My sister and my dad just laughed at me and reassured me that I had done well. So, having accepted that I had done what I could, I resigned and decided that I would sit and enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Gleefully, I continued to watch as my nephew appeared to enjoy the remote-controlled monstrosity that was bound to drive his parents insane. Before long though, he suddenly seemed more interested in playing with the toy that I had given his sister instead. Fights broke out. Then both toys were left abandoned on the floor.
My dad, sensing my confusion and dismay, looked over at me, winked, pulled something from his pocket, and whispered to me “you’ll soon learn that this is all you really need.” He suddenly rattled two boxes of smarties candy and both children came running into his arms.
I looked over at the two kids. “You’re so lucky! What have you got there?” I asked the two of them. My nephew ran off and my niece, once again, gave me that scowling face as if I was about to steal her candy.
I have a lot to learn about bribery. Even more so about children…