Saturday, July 2, 2011

Celebration Time!

Last night, my lucky kids had several firsts. They both went to their first carnival. They both went to their first concert. They both saw fireworks for the first time.

The night began with us meeting the Editor, Car Guy, Little Car Guy, the Chef, Ma, and Papa in the parking lot of Ma and Papa's church (actually the Dancing Queen and TRex came with them and the Mad Scientist and I arrived separately since I had to work later than planned). The ten of us then joined the throngs of people heading to the river front. The walk was filled with interesting people to see, lots of offers to purchase glow necklaces, and of course passing the carnival midway. TRex wasn't impressed. He found the walk boring. I enjoyed it though and DQ was pushed the entire way by the Chef, so she had fun.

After a difficult search for the tarp Ma laid out early in the morning, we settled into the side of a hill right by the river. The hill had about a 30 degree incline, so sitting was not easy. We arrived right when the band started to play. DQ thought it was awesome.
The boys looked a little bored with the music though, so the Mad Scientist and the Car Guy took them to the midway for some fun. DQ was jealous and wanted to go to, so Ma decided to take her with the boys.  The midway was full of all your street carnival games and rides. Lots of people to see and things to do. Neither of our kids had seen such frivolity before and it was very exciting.

DQ only lasted about 5 minutes though before she wanted her mommy. Ma brought her back to the blanket and immediately DQ asked to go to sleep. (It was 45 minutes past bed time, the temp was high 80s, very humid, and she hadn't really eaten, so she was plain tuckered out.)  We made her a nice little spot on the side of the hill, took her glasses off (did I mention DQ got glasses?), and gave her a pacifier.
DQ in her glasses with her pacifier last night.
DQ was ready to sleep, but the music was playing. And wouldn't you know it? That Dancing Queen couldn't help herself. She was laying on her back on the hill, covered in a blanket, sucking a paci, and dancing. She had her arms swinging and body swaying as she laid down. But when you dance while laying down on a 30 degree angle, on top of tarp, you slide right down the hill. So, every couple of minutes, we had to pull DQ back up again. That upset her, so she decided to cease sleeping and go with the fun. She spent the rest of the "concert" dancing.

(I say "concert" because the band wasn't that good and despite being on the opposite side of the river, the base was up so high that it vibrated everything and made it uncomfortable to listen and for the Editor, hard to breathe.  There was a point between songs that an entire flock of geese swam up the river in triangle formation, all Canadian geese gray and black, led by one white goose at the tip of the triangle.  They got up to the band stand right when the band started to play again. The geese immediately turned around and quickly headed back where they came from. The band definitely deserved the snub.)

DQ didn't care about the quality of the band. She heard a beat and music, so she danced and loved every minute of it. Each time a song ended, she'd clap. (Many times, she was the only one.) We had everyone around us watching her. It was so much fun. She spent a good 20 minutes alone dancing with the Editor and having a blast. Here she is dancing with her Ma.
The boys came back right as the band stopped playing. TRex went on a tilt-a-whirl and bumper cars. He had a blast. This is a huge deal for him because we couldn't even get him to ride the toddler train when he visited Santa. He was too scared. So the idea that he actually got on the tilt-a-whirl is huge. He loved it! Maybe next time it will be easier for him to move past his fears.

As twilight gave way to darkness, DQ grew anxious. She wanted to see the colors in the sky.  And finally, the fireworks started. DQ was enthralled. She was laying in her aunt's lap, looking directly at the sky while the fireworks were directly above us.  (We literally had the best seats available.) I don't think DQ closed her eyes once for the entire twenty minutes. Simply put, she was in awe. (This morning, she inundated us with questions about when she was going to see the fireworks again.) DQ's reaction was magical for me. And, I have to admit, last night's display was probably the best I'd ever seen in person.

Unfortunately, TRex did not have the same reaction. At the first boom, he screamed and cried. He wanted his puppy dog. Mommy and Daddy were not adequate.  Puppy dog was the only one he wanted. I thought we were going to have to leave early, but then inspiration hit and I promised TRex we'd go straight to the car as soon as the fireworks ended to get puppy dog. He stopped screaming and crying at that point, but he is adamant that he will never see fireworks again.

The night ended with the long walk back to the car in the crowds. A fight broke out right next to us and scared the heck out of the Editor and I, afraid for our babies. And the car ride home was an entire story onto itself. Let me just say that the entire world seemed to be leaving down the one road we were heading to, but nobody moved an inch for 15 minutes, then an ambulance came. And then another. And then another. We were eventually able to turn around. But it took us an hour to go a mile. I held my phone up so the melting down kids (awake 4 hours after bedtime) could watch "The Cat in the Hat" and we didn't get home until after midnight.

Overall, the day was a total success. My kids had a blast. I can't wait to do it again and can only hope TRex's fear subsides with time.

Did any of you see fireworks this weekend?

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Having a child with a CHD is like being given an extra sense---the true ability to appreciate life. Each breath, each hug, each meal is a blessing when you've watched your child live off a ventilator, trapped in an ICU bed, being fed through a tube. Each minute is a miracle when you've watched your child almost die and come back to you.
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