Friday, September 9, 2011

"Because We Care" Country Fair

Last week I saw this event advertised on a friend's Facebook site. (I know, it always seems to come back to Facebook, doesn't it?) A group of people, family and friends of Rob Grimshaw, put this fair together. Originally it was to raise funds for his treatment, then he passed away. Now the funds are earmarked for his medical and funeral costs. I didn't know him or anyone connected to him. But this sounded like fun for Squiggle and the money would go toward a good cause.

I decided to load up my Squiggle and take her. It advertised a petting zoo, bounce house, a giant horse, pony rides, swimming, paddle boat rides, "train" rides and a bunch of other stuff that I thought would be too advanced for my not-quite-two-year-old.

After an uneventful hour-long drive I arrived. Actually I overshot it and had to do a u-turn in the middle of the highway, but that wasn't a big deal. In Nevada you can do that sort of thing. It has something to do with long flat roads filled with no cars.

Taking a trip, alone with a toddler, into the middle of nowhere was a bit daunting to me. But I decided to go with it. The worst that could happen is that I would get lost and we'd all burn to death in the desert. (Yes, these are the things I worry about when my mind is allowed to wander.) Since that was unlikely to happen I felt that I shouldn't let my more reasonable fears (tantrums, bathroom availability, water shortage, fatigue, shall I stop here?) stop me either.

Here's my report: It was fun and I'm glad I went. But I doubt I'd do it again. First the bad stuff, to get it out of the way. Many of the things did indeed prove to be impossible for a not-yet-two-year-old. She couldn't ride anything that I couldn't walk alongside. And even if I were not 34 weeks pregnant that would be impossible.

The stroller was mandatory to carry all the junk one seems to need when preparing for a day of fun away from any backup supplies. Unfortunately that means that the "shuttles" were not an option for us. So we didn't end up going to the lake area. When I heard someone telling a group of teens that it was too far to walk, I decided that probably applied to us too.

The face painting and carnival games were just too advanced for her. There was a bounce house that I thought she'd love. She didn't. It probably would have been different if I could have crawled in there with her, but that wasn't going to happen. Oh well.
This is the happiest she got in there.

Since it was run by volunteers and not professionals, many things were not available. The people just weren't there to run it. I doubt it was anyone's fault, just one of those things that hopefully gets ironed out with experience. So some of the things she may have liked were not available.


Now for the good. The petting zoo. Not the part with the animals in cages that people couldn't reach and would have bitten anyway, which happened to someone else. I am referring to the bunnies. Bunnies. BUNNIES!!! Yes, my daughter liked the bunnies. They were kept in a box/pen/thing that was 3 - 4 feet tall. They just roamed free and kids could go in there and play with them.

Well, I was not about to allow my excitable and none-too-gentle daughter to go in there alone, so we both ventured forth. She immediately sat in one of the kid's chairs (MINE!) and with outstretched arms demanded (CARRY!) which was my cue to provide unto her a small, fluffy creature. She was quite adorable kissing and petting the bunnies. Of course I couldn't let her hold any. They jumped down as if they too were familiar with Of Mice and Men. But she loved touching and watching them.
Baby and bunny.

As for me, I got to practice my squatting and my midwife would be very proud. I held out for quite some time before I decided to overturn one of the chairs and pray it wouldn't collapse under my weight. It didn't. Squiggle seemed content to look at and only occasionally touch the bunnies. At one point I thought we'd never get out of there. (I think it was around that time that I started imagining myself as a character in one of those '80s movies about a Vietnam vet who escapes from a POW camp to wreak havoc on some evil-doers.) Eventually I abandoned my precarious perch for the ground. It was probably around the time I saw her eating scraps of hay, rabbit food and who knows what else off the ground. After all, if I let her eat it I shouldn't balk at letting it touch my overalls, right?
Nice cage.

Finally I bribed her to assist my escape with the promise of a cookie. Specifically an animal cracker. Appropriate, no? Then after a brief detour by the crops and their sprinklers (a very welcome interlude) we hit the Pony Ride.
Any cookie would be better than this.

We only had about 30 minutes before we had to leave and we still had a lot of tickets. My only choices were to go to the food tent and buy one of everything, or try my toddler on a pony. For perhaps the only time in my life, I decided against the food. So I paid my tickets and plopped Squiggle down on a pony.
Yes, the inflatable woman is me.

My plan had been to hold her on the pony as we walked around in a circle. She disagreed. A few seconds after it started up she grabbed onto the saddle horn and pushed my hand away from her. She probably could have done fine by herself, but I hovered anyway. She seemed to be a natural. I don't say this to brag. It doesn't thrill me. Due to a youthful mishap with a horse I am not overly fond of the creatures. (Read: terrified of them.) Maybe I'll confess that story some other time. Suffice it to say that I never envisioned having an equestrian in my brood. Clearly, my fear has not been genetically passed on to my first-born.
The best shot I could get. Just because she was okay with solo riding doesn't mean I was.

She didn't stay on the pony for the entire ride. Instead she opted to get on and off several times. There was, after all, some very fine dirt to play in. Literally fine. It was practically sand. I found it rather enticing, myself. She finished out the time playing with the sandy dirt and the dog who liked it as much as she did.

When it was time to go I happily discovered that we were very close to the car by a short cut. Squiggle did not put up a fuss and we easily made it back to the car and then home again with no further excitement. Daddy brought us food when he returned from the boring indoor game he chose to play instead of adventuring with us. All played out, Squiggle went to bed easily and I got to shower without my tiny companion.

All in all, a successful day.

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