THE RABBITS GO TO THE STATE FAIR
It was yesterday that we piled the children into the minivan and headed to Puyallup, but I’m only now recovering from the trauma. Back in the old days when we had children too young for school, we attended this event on weekdays. We would dress one- or two-year-old Tigger in her best farmerish coveralls and pack plenty of anti-bacterial hand cleaner. We strolled through the barns, exclaiming over cattle. We quacked at the ducks. We awwwwed over the nursing piglets. We strolled around the fairgrounds, munching on scones and enjoying the sights.
Those days are so over.
The kids must go to school all week, and so we trekked to the fair on a Sunday. As did about 800 gazillion other people. Tigger and Little Bit are no longer content to admire the exotic beasts of rural-land. They wanted to go on rides. As did every other child in the state, as far as I could see.
We immediately split up, because Tigger likes the big kid, spin-til-your-dad-turns-green rides. My job was escorting my youngest through the peewee ride section. When Little Bit spotted a ride she liked, we shoved our way through the wall of bodies and got in line. Since the peewee rides each handle about six children at a time, we waited. And waited. Finally, L.B. would get her chance to turn a faux steering wheel while the antique-look car drove around the circular track. When the ride ended about 90 seconds later, she would say “I want to do it again!”
When we (thank god) ran out of tickets, we went in search of ice cream. It only took 20 minutes of examining the flaws on the backs of the t-shirts in front of me to locate a booth selling ice cream cones. The line looked manageable—just about half a dozen families.
Wouldn’t you think that after multiple decades of running the state fair, they’d be pretty good at it? But no. Another 20 or 30 minutes crawled by while I attempted to entertain a rapidly-tiring four-year-old who had been promised ice cream.
Well, the day wasn’t a total loss. The kids quite enjoyed it. They both conned enough money out of their respective parental partners to play carnival games and go home with several poorly constructed plush toys. They each cried only once. Tigger sobbed when she turned out to be about a half inch too short to go on the Wild River ride. Little Bit cried because when it was time to go home she hadn’t gotten to ride on the Merry-Go-Round.
It’s ok, baby girls. Next year Tigger will be tall enough. Next year we will go on the Merry-Go-Round first. Next year your parents will square their shoulders and muscle through the crowds again. Because we love you. And we’re suckers.