Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Saturday, September 23, 2006 Squarents
The other day, I decided to take M. Small to the park before lunch, just like any number of other Saturday mornings. But the park looked different today. The adjoining field had been taken over by several large tents, a bandstand on a semi-trailer, a bunch of tables and booths, and about nine million people. It was the day of the annual neighborhood festival, and it had snuck up on us without our even realizing it.
I read the sign on an easel board, which promised that the day's events would include a petting zoo and a visit from a fire engine. So it was pretty much just a matter of killing time until those things got started. We wandered around, he danced to the band, said "hi" to everyone, scored a free inflatable beach ball, and he even got to bounce around in a Moonwalk for a few minutes with some kids of similar age. He wasn't too devastated when his time was up, but I think that's only because he had no intention of leaving. I was only saved from having to go in after him by a couple of middle-schoolers sent in by the proprietor to fish him out at the beginning of their turn. Then he was devastated that he couldn't go right back in. "Go in there!" he kept demanding. Soon he got so upset that we had to leave the line where he was waiting to go back in.
I called Trash to see if she had M. Small's lunch ready at home yet, and when she said she did I suggested that maybe she could put it aside and we could get him lunch at the festival. She agreed, and came and found us a few minutes later. By the time he'd finished his lunch, the fire engine had arrived, the petting zoo was all set up, and there were even ponies schlepping kids around in a circle. M. Small experienced all of these wonders and more, and when we bought him an ice cream bar with our last food ticket and ferried him home in his increasingly sticky stroller.
The whole time, Trash had this look on her face that I recognized. It was the look she used to get when we'd watch third-season episodes of Northern Exposure and Rob Morrow was still experiencing local annual events for the first time.
"Does this happen every year?" she asked.
"I'm sure it does," I said. "It's just been completely off our radar."
"For thirteen years? A block and a half from our house?"
"I'm pretty sure that in thirteen years, we probably drove past this thing going on at least once or twice, took one look at it, and said, 'God, no.'"
"Ah, that must be it."
You think you're going to still be cool even when the kid comes along, that you won't instantly become completely square. And you don't. It's not instant. But it's weird, all the unpredictable ways your perspective changes when you become a parent. To give your kid a thrill, you'll spend hours at an event you wouldn't have been caught dead at two years ago, and not just because you would have still been in bed when it started back then.
That's not the most worrisome change, though. That would have to be the way we've recently started to find America's Funniest Home Videos actually funny sometimes. We don't even recognize ourselves any more when that happens. posted by M. Giant 7:24 PM 5 comments
I used to love babysitting for just that reason. (Well, and the kid I sat was a gorgeous wee lad.)
A couple of months ago, we went to a concert in the park because our neighbor was in the band. We were thinking it would be, you know, a BAND. But it was a band, the kind that plays Sousa marches and where the conductor makes quips about tubas.
Okay, but if you start liking Two and a Half Men or I hear you say "...those Curious Buddies are every bit as good as old Sesame Street," you are toast. I think I can speak for Linda and Bitter, too, come to think of it: we get your folks to take Small to "an undisclosed, safe location" and then we lock you two in the basement. You get time to yourselves, plus our "re-training" regimen.
(Psst. Do not tell anyone, but AFHV is actually pretty funny. I mean, it takes me a glass and a half of wine on an empty stomach to think so, but it is AWESOME for drunkards.)