M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Friday, July 08, 2005  


As I was saying before, Trash and I decided to make the trip to Missouri, since once we were in Iowa we were halfway there. I suppose that once we were in Missouri we could have pushed on to Austin for the same reason. I hope my Texas peeps aren't too offended that we didn't.

So anyway, the trip back had a few highlights. Our first feeding stop was in a town called Peculiar, where we pulled into the parking lot of a fireworks tent to change his diaper and spoon room-temperature sweet-potato puree and chicken protoplasm into his mouth. After we were done with that, we shopped for fireworks for a minute. Fireworks were illegal in Minnesota until a few years ago, and even now we're not supposed to have anything that makes more noise than a champagne cork. I haven't been in one of those fireworks tents since I was a kid on one of our many visits to the Missouri relatives. You know how when you grow up and you see something you haven't seen since you were a kid, and it looks so much smaller to you now? That's not the case with fireworks. They have kept up. Now, in states where they're legal, any bozo with a twenty-dollar bill can walk into a red-and-white striped tent and walk out carrying an incendiary device the size of a conga drum. I'm pretty sure that when I was little you couldn't get anything larger than a Big Gulp without a license. We bought a relatively dinky cone that shoots out colored sparks and makes noise. Or so I gather. We haven't actually lit it yet.

Back on the road, there was that moment when M. Tiny woke up in his car seat and started wailing just as we were about to hit the busy freeways of Kansas City. Trash got up on her knees and turned around in the shotgun seat to comfort him, which always makes me nervous because if I have to swerve to avoid a moth or something she's really not going to like it. And then, when that didn't work, she actually wrestled herself over the top of the bucket seat to join him in the back. At seventy miles per hour. I was glad I didn't know what she was doing until she was finished doing it.

The last Missouri rest area going north (or the first one, if you're going south) was the setting for any number of stops during the trips I took with the fam growing up. It was also the setting for M. Tiny's next diaper change and bottling. We'd lost track of the wipes at some point during the day, so Trash did the changing in the back of the car while I ran back and forth from the men's room carrying damp, wadded-up paper towels. The bottle went much better, sitting on the grass in the shade from a big highway department sign. Just being there brought back so many memories, and now here I was with my son. The circle of life, turning on and on. Although I don't remember ever having a poopy diaper changed there back in the day.

Given our punishing schedule for the day, it didn't look like we were going to be up for going out and looking at fireworks. We've seen them there before anyway. We got back to Trash's mom's house in Lacona a little after eight, just in time for us to eat dinner. After dark, we went out on the deck and broke open the crate of sparklers she'd gotten at the Indianola Wal-Mart for M. Tiny's first experience with home pyrotechnics. I wanted to make a sparkler bomb, but a) we didn't have a hay bale and b) nobody ever lets me have any fun.

The first sparkler made M. Tiny a little nervous, but we quickly learned that he was fine as long as the nearest sparkler was at least thirty feet away. And then he was more than fine. Then he was fascinated, and seriously pissed off if there wasn't at least one sizzling at any given moment during the entirety of the following ten minutes.

The novelty wore off after a while, as did quite a bit of my retina, and we were just about to head inside when, from the back yard around the corner from my mother-in-law's house, an incendiary device the size of a conga drum suddenly streaked into the air and erupted into a blossom of sparks a hundred feet over the neighborhood. Looks like we were getting fireworks after all. Even though the variety we wee seeing are just as illegal in Iowa as they are in Minnesota. Thank heaven for scofflaws.

One always wonders how a not-quite-nine-month-old baby is going to react when the night sky suddenly explodes above him. Every baby is different, probably. This one loved it.

It probably helped that this was no municipal display with charges going off every couple of seconds and frequently simultaneously. That might have been too much. But since this was a bunch of people in a back yard who probably hadn't spent much more on pyro than they had on beer, the display took a leisurely pace, with one bomb shooting up every minute or two. And M. Tiny sat patiently in his mom's lap, waiting calmly for the next one. Which is amazing in itself, because sitting patiently really isn't M. Tiny's thing.

Fireworks are kind of important to me, and it was really special to be able to share them with M. Tiny on his first Fourth of July. As we were getting him dressed for bed, I told him it made me happy that we got to see fireworks together. He babbled something that was of course a completely random collection of phonemes, but that sounded a lot like "Yeah, it did."

"Yeah, it did!" I agreed, as if he'd meant to say that.

"Yeah," he said again.

I know it sounds like I'm putting his first words in his mouth, but I don't have to. He already has a word that he uses all the time.

It's "Dad."

Today's best search phrase: "Tips for pounding trash into your rear." Sorry, it was just getting a bit too treacly in here.

posted by M. Giant 9:55 PM 6 comments


Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, "Dad"? Yay! That's so awesome.
And how wonderful to get to share fireworks with your boy, and have him love them. I'm nuts for fireworks too--I can't stop thinking about what they were designed to represent and I get sort of choked up and solemn; especially these days, the Fourth is like my Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day all wrapped up into one.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 8, 2005 at 10:31 PM  

"Dad"? *sniffle* Lovely!

By Anonymous Yvette, at July 10, 2005 at 4:10 AM  

Dad - how cute. If Trash is upset that Mom wasn't the first word, just tell her that it is easier for a baby to say Dad. At least, that is what our pediatrician swears.

By Anonymous Jill, at July 10, 2005 at 9:44 PM  

Our daughter learned our dog's name before she learned mommy or daddy. Not that we are bitter or anything. - trish

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 11, 2005 at 7:06 PM  

Speaking of Iowegian scofflaws, when I lived in the viewing area of an Iowa TV station around the 4th of July, they had an awesome interview with a state trooper about fireworks. What she said was, "As you know, fireworks are illegal in the state of Iowa. But if you're going to set them off, make sure to follow these safety tips . . ." Does it really count as scoffing the law when the law just goes "Meh" in return?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 13, 2005 at 3:59 PM  

To be fair, I think Trooper Jones was probably implying something like "I am NOT driving to the ER with some guy's fingers on ice in my lunchbox THIS year, dammit."

By Blogger Febrifuge, at July 13, 2005 at 5:27 PM  

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