Today was The Boy's first time at a school fayre. It was also my first time experiencing it from 'the other side', the side of the parent.
We were slightly late to the fayre as I'd misunderstood the collection time (newbie parent alert) and as I set foot inside the main hall, I craved the security of being on the other side of the stall. Nonetheless, I shepherded The Boy around the ever-changing one-way system to seek out goodies on the various stalls. We won a can of lemonade which The Boy complained about as he wanted the white Chocolate Orange instead; the dear old lady on the other side of the table seemed to have forgotten what it's like to be four years old and not understand the whole 'lucky dip' concept. He also managed to find an Orchard Toys game which we don't have (amazingly), tried his luck at rolling a two pence piece (straight off the table, six times) and refused to have his face painted.
And then we came to the jolly jar stand.
I'm a teacher, I know the stalls which make money and which children adore. They love the crafts, the face painting, the endless supply of cakes, the draw of the tombola. However, you can see them positively twitch over the jolly jars. Hordes of little bodies pushing to find the best spot and win the attention of the teacher in charge of the tickets, the hope of winning the best jar, sweaty palms holding pound coins, eager faces full of anticipation as to their treasures.
This was the contents of one of the jolly jars that The Boy won (the other jar had a normal party bag selection of chocolate, crayons, a balloon, a bag of haribo and a lolly). The dulcet tones of Peppa Pig and Suzy Sheep were serenading me from the living room at the time when I opened this jar up, and I honestly couldn't believe my eyes. I know sweets are popular in jolly jars, and they're also a cheap way of filling them up, but for it to be full of so many sweets shocked me. My fingers twitched to share it on Instagram, with a caption about having thrown it straight in the bin and desperately trying to find other bits and bobs to fill it up with before The Boy noticed what was happening.
I didn't expect to be criticised.
I don't let The Boy have sweets. He's allowed chocolate but not sweets. If the truth be told, he has got to the grand old age of four and a half years thinking he doesn't like sweets, I'm definitely not going to try and convince him otherwise!
Various people jokingly complained that I'd thrown the parma violets in the bin (I did consider keeping them), someone called me a meanie, others agreed with me but explained that they allowed their children to have sweets in moderation. That's fine, I'm not criticising anyone's decisions to let their children have sweets, it's entirely up to them because they're responsible adults and they know how to parent their children. And then came the sarcasm.
Don't criticise me for throwing them in the bin.
If I don't want to give them to my child, that is my business.
Don't mock me with a comment about filling the jar full of fruit.
Could someone explain how giving a child fruit, not sweets, is derogatory?
Don't tell me that I've been wasteful when a parent had donated them and I shouldn't have thrown them in the bin.
I paid for that jolly jar. If I want to bin it, I will.
Don't tell me how to parent my child.
I don't tell you how to parent yours!
I'm at a loss as to how throwing the sweets into the bin is me being a bad parent. I'm also very much at a loss as to how someone can use giving fruit as a mocking and belittling comment. I honestly don't understand. As it was, I filled up the jolly jar with bits and pieces lying around the house from party bags that The Boy had forgotten about and he was over the moon with it.
But could someone please explain to me how I am a bad parent because I won't give my child sweets? Can someone just talk me through that one?