Ready for Liftoff

While much of the nation was watching the last space shuttle liftoff, I was preparing for a different kind of event: the Bear Paw Festival. Growing up in Eagle River, Alaska, this was the go-to event. And now, I was readying to take my three children. By myself. Ready for insanity in three… two… one… we have liftoff.

First, as it is at any fair, festival or carnival… there’s serious money involved. We set a limit: $80. I foolishly thought I’d come away with change. Ha! The ATM was the first winner. It charged me a $3 fee for my money. You are welcome, Mister ATM.

After doling out cash to get cash, we headed for the rides. Let the insanity begin. My soon to be kindergartener has shot up a few inches, so he’s able to ride the rides he wasn’t able to get on last year. My nine-year old was no longer afraid of the rides she wouldn’t approach without tears last year. My toddler was pissed. He was now able to acknowledge his older brother and sister were having fun… without him. We were able to find two rides he was able to go on. He loved the carpet slide. (Honestly, that’s my favorite ride too.)

When the tickets were all gone and I had explained for the upteenth time we could no longer go on any rides, we hit the games. The ticket package had included ten games tickets. Gee, thanks. We dipped for ducks and threw darts at balloons. The kids won a couple trinkets, one of which, a rubber bouncy ball, has already been lost in the woods near our house. We did try one game we actually had to pay for, without tickets. It was a ladder you had to climb, just using your hands and feet, in order to reach the top and ring a bell. We would have won a big alligator, if we wouldn’t have fallen. Ridiculously. I watched my children struggle and I thought for sure that I could do it. Adult dexterity, and all. Nope. I fell. Like an idiot. With onlookers.

Now that we’d blown through all our game tickets, I checked my watch. Yep, it hadn’t even been an hour. We went in search of food. The kids had eaten a hotdog at the Teddy Bear Picnic, but I was starving. I’d packed apples and pretzels for this exact occasion. But, it’s an opportunity to eat “Fair Food!” How could I resist?? I was good, at first. My daughter and I ate roasted corn on the cob. Healthy, kinda. Then, we went hard-core. The two older kids ordered scoops of ice cream, just about the time the baby fell asleep. I intended to order a dipped ice cream, but then saw the chocolate covered bacon. Mmm…. bacon. The Homer Simpson in me couldn’t resist. It was yummy and left a lovely chocolate stain near the crotch of my jeans. Great.

About this time, we decided to head for more free entertainment: the fire trucks. On our way over there, I repeated the mantra I’d been chanting all morning: “Stay with your mom! Don’t run off! If I have to call your name one more time…” And, I’d just about had it. My five-year old ran off at full speed, away from me and toward oncoming traffic. Luckily, all that traffic was actually parked cars, but he didn’t know that. I caught up to him and made him stand in time out. A few minutes later, we headed off for the fire trucks again. It was fun, but when we walked away, he took off.  This time, I’d had enough. I became “that mom.” I told him we were leaving. The tears started. The tearing out of grass in chunks began. The nasty face formed. He was angry. I was exhausted. We stopped long enough to watch a cool acrobat show and then made our way home. (The acrobatics were a little much for my nine-year old, who seemed seriously traumatized by the fake near-falling to their deaths.)

We’ve been home a couple of hours now. It’s one of those nights where I check my watch repeatedly, hoping it’ll be bed time sooner if I just keep watching the clock. My five-year old has informed me that I am a mean mother. He took out his fake Barbie cell phone and told me he was calling the police to tell them how mean I was being, since I’d so cruelly made them come inside. Just a moment ago, he said he had been taking secret footage of me being mean to him throughout the day and he had sent it to my mom. He said she’d be spanking me when she gets home.

I’m counting down to liftoff again. This time, it’s liftoff to bedtime for my overtired kids. And liftoff to a nice glass of wine for me. Lord, help me through this last hour until sleepytown…


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Domestiç Reclusë
    Jul 10, 2011 @ 07:21:22

    Festivals & community events sure can get pricey nowadays. Heck, my kids wanted a funnel cake & it was $5 a piece, when I can buy a gallon of ice cream for that price! The funnel cake keeps their mouths & tummies full, keeping the peanut gallery distracted/busy at least temporarily. Unfortunately, the sugar in that stuff also keeps them wired, so if we bring them home before it’s been burned out of their system, we end up with very annoying, hyper kids. LOL If we take them home after the sugar-high wears off, we’ve got tired, cranky kids crashing our day. Us parents just can’t win, can we?


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