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Saturday, September 16, 2006  

The Small Minnesota Freak-Out

A partial list of things M. Small loves:

Cows.
Sheep.
Bunnies.
Horses.
Drums.
Cars.
Fire Engines.
Music.
Buses.
Slides.
Unhealthy food.
Nana and Grandpa.

So naturally, we brought him to the Minnesota State Fair a couple of weeks ago. I'm not sure if he's had a more exciting day before or since.

The adventure started off with a huge thrill for him, when he took his first bus ride. He's been identifying buses out loud since before he knew how to make an "s" sound, which led to months of excited cries of "Buh!" during almost every car ride. But this is the first time he actually got to board one. Better yet, we sat in the swiveling section of an articulating bus for even more excitement. "Hold on," we told him. "Hold on!" he answered.

We probably could have stayed on the bus at the fairgrounds and ridden it right back to the park & ride, and he would have considered that a full day. But we had to hit the livestock barn first.

Given M. Small's longstanding fascination with cows, I've always thought that the first time he came face-to-snout with one in person would send him into a state of miniature Beatlemania. On that score, I was disappointed. There were some calves hanging out in pens, to which M. Small pointed and calmly said, "Cow." But surely the sheep would blow him away, right? "Sheep," he remarked mildly to an ovine specimen. Shortly thereafter, a piglet was born at the other side of the barn and someone had seen fit to project the blessed event on an unavoidably gigantic video screen. Since we never signed up for the miracle of birth (we even adopted, remember?), we were out of there. Probably the animal he was most excited all day was in the poultry and rabbit barn. "Ranger," he said to one shaggy blond bunny, noticing its tonsorial resemblance to the thusly named dog at his day care who is about a hundred times its size.

But that was cool with M. Small, because then he got some French fries from one of the nine million stands. Okay, I got them for him, but he still had to say "Fries, please" in order to get any. For some reason, he's started occasionally saying "Donuts," so we got a sack of mini-donuts. Because he's not very big, I did him a favor and ate most of them for him.

You might think that a small child strapped into a stroller can't gravitate. You would be wrong. Because when he heard the music coming from a live band at one of the free stages, it was immediately clear that was where we were going. As it turned out, this was the ideal band for him to check out, because they happened to have a huge expanse of plywood on the ground in front of the stage for use as a dance floor. Nobody was dancing who was over the age of four, of course. But when we unstrapped M. Small, he ran right out there and started dancing like a five-year old. I have no idea where he learned some of those moves. After three or four songs, the knees of his pants were filthy from powersliding.

My parents and my sister DeBitch the Younger arrived during this display, which made it easier for all of us to position ourselves around the perimeter of the dance floor lest he take it into his head to suddenly bolt into the crowd and disappear. We needn't have worried. We practically had to use dynamite to get him out of there.

After that, it was off to the Super Slide, where you rent a burlap mat for two bucks and then sit on it to go down a nine-hundred foot slide. We weren't sure if M. Small would enjoy this, even sitting on my lap, but we hadn't even stopped moving at the bottom before he was saying, "Again!"

Fortunately, by this time it was just about time for the daily afternoon parade through the fairgrounds. M. Small loves not only parades, but each individual element of parades. I put him up on my shoulders, so I couldn't see his expressions when the horses clopped by, or when marching band after marching band marched past, banging those noisy things he's found so very fascinating ever since he wandered in while Trash was watching the end of Drumline. Or even when the old cars and fire engines wheeled along in front of him, the latter blowing their sirens and running their flashers. I could, however, feel his entire body vibrate with excitement throughout. It was one of those times when you're glad your child is still wearing diapers.

"He's going to get a great nap this afternoon," we all agreed.

But then we got home and Phantom escaped, so we couldn't really enjoy the quiet that much.

posted by M. Giant 7:55 PM 4 comments

4 Comments:

Until you add the software plug-in that allows readers to order tiny donuts through your site, it seems cruel for you to mention them.

(mmmmmmmmm, tiny donuts.)

By Anonymous Tara, at September 17, 2006 at 12:31 PM  

I LOVE the state fair - especially the animal barns. If you would like, I would be happy to bring M. Small to the fair next year. We can sit with the animals for hours.

By Anonymous Michelle, at September 18, 2006 at 9:27 AM  

M. Small needs a copy of the book "Where's My Cow?" (No, seriously, go to Amazon and look at it.)
Awesome fair story. Little kids at the fair rock. Want to bring him down TNside for the TN State Fair?

-E.

By Blogger parcequilfaut, at September 18, 2006 at 9:31 AM  

I can't believe he didn't escape during the dancing portion of the afternoon. Apparently your perimeters work better than Kiefer's.

By Anonymous TK, at September 18, 2006 at 1:36 PM  

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