Yesterday, dh had to go to a nearby fall festival for work purposes and SP and I tagged along.
Thank goodness I brought the stroller because we had to park nine blocks away from the four rides and seven food carts. Also, each of those nine country blocks were paved with cracked cement and had curbs three crumbling stairs high. DH helped me lift the stroller over these about every ten paces but once he forgot and walked off and I had to get some old man to help me.
As usual at such rural festivals, dozens of lawn chairs blocked every path and some tuneless local fiddler had been given an amp tuned to deafening volume. When he started I truly felt my eyes water and not from emotion. Cigarette smoke puffed in our faces at every stride and the raised voices of overheated children and their angry parents warred with the fiddle to create a din unlike any other.
We had a fantastic time in point of fact.
These events are not for everyone. There are hardships. For example the food was godawful and there were massive electrical cords strung to and fro that the stroller wheels could not conquer. However, there were "nice howsies" to ride and a big spinning affair called the berry go round.
Rewind to 2005 when my then bf/now dh and I sweated through another festival to see Blessid Union of Souls play live in the blistering June heat and attempted to line up for the berry go round. Giant spinning strawberries, people! Who could resist? We were rudely informed that we could not ride because we didnt' have a child.
I'm not saying that's the only reason we decided to get pregnant in 2010 I'm just saying it may have been mentioned in the initial talks. And as of last night we triumphantly returned to the berries and were permitted to board and whirl around.
I am always anxious when I take SP anywhere in public because, ya know, she's almost two and not a placid child. Shit could fly from the fan at any moment. Last night, she was delighted by all she saw and did. She asked to ride the horsies, paid the man a ticket saying "One tick-utt to wide" and sat alone on the miniature carousel smiling at everyone and saying "I a cowboy neigh neigh neigh". We did the berries, she and I, and were joined in the big round berry by a woman with two kids, a young boy of about six and a ten year old with down's syndrome who kept poking Sp and shrieking loudly in the confines of our strawberry. I smiled. SP indicated her shoe which the girl had grabbed and said sagely, "Shoe is orange. Have twiangles on it." As though she were educating her much older companion.
As we spun wildly, faster than I would have if the six year old boy hadn't been at the wheel, SP said, "Diss fun! Fun! Whee!" and we all had a magnificent ride.
With one ticket left, we asked if she wanted to ride the pony again or just go pick up ducks. She chose the horsie and I foresaw a tantrum because we were going to let her ride exactly one more time. Full stop. I explained calmly that she had one ticket to pay for a ride and could ride the horses ONE time if she wanted to but that was all. Magnanimously she accepted the ticket, paid the operator and got on the only remaining horse, white not her preferred gray, with glee and enjoyed herself thoroughly. She was the youngest child on the ride both times and despite my terror that she'd leap off to her death she stayed seated and rode joyously. When it was over she dismounted and we left with no drama whatsoever. Which goes to show that you just never know.
And now the photos...of the carnival, of her daily life, of driving a tractor, making a strawberry pie with Daddy and eating pizza and "witing" with a pen. It's a rare and comprehensive glimpse of the Sweet Pea in action.