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.  


18 thoughts on “

  1. YeE hAw (or however you spell that)So do tell… What did that little outing cost ya? Amazing huh?I can’t do the big kid rides anymore. I turn a lighter shade of pale (and then toss my cookies behind the nearest shrub).
    But I’m glad you had fun!!!

  2. I am a gigantic fan of rides, so we went to the local place of ridedom about 6 times this summer. But, our stadning rule is no crap. No souviners, no dippin’ dots. We have a seperate place for the pigs and sheep and cattle. I like going there, but it bores the girls now, so I lose. Life was simpler when Clinton was President, and my kids took joy in young animals. Now, with the Republicans in office, they have become shallow and materialistic. Nothing satisfies them save speed, adventure, and a bit of death-defying.RYC: Wasn’t feeling guilty, just….irregular. That’s not the word. Like I forgot to get gas at lunch, so I was going to have to do it on the way home from work, before picking up the girls. That sort of forgetting and wondering sort of feeling.

  3. One the things I love about living in the cheesy place we do is that the carnival comes to town – over and over and over again. The Greek Orthodox Fair, The Firemen’s Festival, the huge Catholic Church fair, random whatever fair – all seem to rent the same scary fold ’em up midway, all are over priced, and all have some version of zeppolis. And if you catch them before the sun goes down there are no lines. Of course then the only animals are human or those poor goldfish in bowls…but so far the kid gets her whirly-ride fix and we’re good.

  4. Yeah, we go to the county fair every fall.  And unfortunately for me, Chip has begun to really enjoy those awful spinning rides.  Happily, his favorite is still the relatively sedate giant slide.

  5. Ah, yes.  The poorly-constructed plush toys.  Why do we insist on paying $10 playing a game to win a prize we wouldn’t pay 50 cents for at a garage sale?….our county fair starts today….deep fried twinkies, here I come…

  6. RYC Kentmichael:Congressman Edward J. Markey, D-MA, wrote the proposed National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act to impose safety and other regulation on the amusement park industry. His studies attempt to show that amusement parks are unacceptably dangerous. At the top of his web page on the subject, a graph shows amusement park rides having nearly the fatality rate of automobiles. However, it must be noted that the statistics are expressed in “fatalities per million passenger miles”.I don’t know about your kids, but since mine travel several thousand times as many miles per year in automobiles as they do in roller coasters, I must conclude that they are several thousand times more likely to die in my car than in an amusement park accident.I do not encourage my children or anyone else to take foolish risks, but nothing in life is safe, less so anything worth having. A half mile ride on a roller coaster brings a lot of fun for a little risk. I can do more to improve my childrens’ chances of survival through the careful maintenance and operation of our cars than by refusing to let them on a thrill ride twice a year.

  7. you are the best at taking a normal family outing and making it interesting.  Confession, sometimes Iskim xangas.  If someone else had written their outing to the fair I probably would have just skimmed.  I love the way you write.  You are on my top 5 favorite xangas.  As for your cookie advice, good advice for me as I am already somewhat chunky and freely admit to using food to nurse my emotional wounds.  In fact due to this crisis, that is not even mine, I have just polished off a big plate of them.  For him, I think we will pass.  The poor kid has enough problems without turning into the short fat kid.  At least he has a nice little body going for him right now.

  8. I’m pretty sure that the entire reason for having children is to get one that will go on the hair raiser rides with their daddy…only 4 more inches and we’ll see if our oldest makes the cut!

  9. My last po-dunk fair experience was a relatively good one.  We went late.  I remember thinking, “This is retarded; it’s almost bedtime.”  But the kids had so much fun.  There were no waits.  I was with my SIL and her four kids (8 kids and 2 adults, you gotta love those ratios).  We each had a baby in a sling or backpack. . .One day I’ll have that kind of energy again. 🙂

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