Saturday, September 21, 2013

Two Good Moms Take Two To Short Children to the Fair

My friend Jennifer and I like to go on grand adventures with our children.  We never initially set out to go on a grand adventure fate just always intervenes.  Last night we made our annual pilgrimage to the county fair.  I left my 2 year old at home with her PawPaw because she'd spent the night before projectile vomiting.  While projectile vomiting isn't totally unacceptable at the fair, I figured we'd have more fun without a sick baby.

When we arrived, we bought our four kids unlimited ride wristbands, and then we each bought ten ride tickets for ourselves.  The last time I visited the fair and purchased an unlimited ride wristband for myself, I was 17 years old.  I ended up spending most of the night puking in a trash can surrounded by EMTs.  I knew if my 17 year old self couldn't handle the Gravitron, that my 30 something self didn't stand a chance.

Once we'd spend approximately $9 million dollars to enter the fair, Jennifer and I were determined not to leave until we'd gotten our money's worth.  We headed to kiddieland to begin our amazing night of fun, only to discover we had a big problem.  Our older kids were an inch to tall to ride the kiddie rides and our younger kids were an inch to short to ride the bigger rides without a parent.  This was a huge problem because Jennifer is also a fair puker.  Neither one of us could watch the spinning rides without getting queasy.  There was no way either of us was going to make it through the night if we actually had to ride them!  Conventional wisdom would suggest that the easiest solution to this problem would have been for one of us to stay with the little kids in kiddieland and for one of us to take the big kids to ride the bigger rides.  Unfortunately, that wasn't an option because the only reason Jennifer and I agree to take the children to the fair each year is so that we can spend the night hanging out and chatting.  Splitting up was not an option.  We needed a plan B.

Our first thought was to try to sneak the big kids on the little kid rides.  The people who run the fair never appear to really enjoy their job, so we were hoping they wouldn't really care if Colin and Abbey were to big to ride.  Turns out they did.  After Colin and Abbey got thrown off of a few rides, we immediately began formulating plan C.  We went to the part of the fair with the bigger rides, and tried to sneak the little kids on.  Our first thought was to just let them walk on with their older siblings, and try to convince the ride operator to let their 8 year old brother/sister serve as their parent/guardian.  This worked once.  The second time we tried it, the ride operator rolled his eyes and looked at us like we were stupid.  Trust me when I say nothing boosts your self esteem quite like being looked down on by someone who operates a Tilt-O-Whirl for a living!

While we were trying to come up with a new plan, we found the maze section of the fair, and we were absolutely delighted when we discovered that all four of the kids could do it together.  Our bliss lasted for all of 5 minutes, when they had a shift change.  The new ride operator immediately flagged our children as unable to participate because they were all wearing flip flops.  Because Jennifer and I are awesome parents, we spent 10 minutes arguing with the ride operator.  We didn't see why he was going to pull them out of the maze now when they'd already run though it 7 times without an incident.  That's 10 minutes of our lifes we'll never get back. Our kids were still banned from the ride, and we'd managed to get the eye roll and the are you two stupid look from yet another fair person.

It was time for plan D, where we tried to teach the too short five years olds to stand on their tippy toes each time they were measured.  The problem with plan D is that it required finesse, which isn't something 5 year olds are really good at. We found an abandoned corner of the fair, and conducted a short seminar for Holly and Tyler, our two to short kids, on how to appear taller than they actually were.  We instructed them to kick up as much dirt under their feet as they could before it was time to be measured, and then we attempted to show them how to slowly raise themselves up on their toes, to add a few extra inches to their actual height, when they were measured.  Tyler, who only needed about a half an inch to be tall enough to ride without me was able to pull this off with enough finesse to be convincing, but Holly, who needed a whole inch and a half to ride without Jennifer, kept getting caught.  We were in line at the Tilt-o-Whirl, and Colin, Abbey, and Tyler were already strapped in ready to ride when the ride operator flagged Holly as to short to ride without a parent. He was very kind and offered to let Jennifer ride without tickets.  When she told him that wouldn't be possible unless he wanted to clean up her vomit, he offered to let me ride it for free.  I politely declined, knowing that my free ride on the Tilt-o-Whirl would quickly be followed by a very expensive ride to the emergency room.  The ride operator was slowly losing patience with us and infomed us that Holly had to have a parent ride with her, or he wasn't going to let her ride.  That's when we were struck with the most brilliant idea ever.  Jennifer looked at the operator and asked, "Does it have to be her parent or will any parent do?"  The ride operator apparently wasn't prepared for her question because he just shrugged.  Jennifer, who is a lawyer during the day, had found her loophole.  We spend the rest of the night making friends with other parents in line and pawning our two to short children off on them.  

"Hi, my name's Rachel, and this is my friend Jennifer.  We're both pukers.  Would you mind terribly riding this god awful fair ride with our children because if we ride it with them, we are going to projectile vomit during the entire ride.  It looks like you'd be sitting behind us, so we're guessing you really don't want that to happen."  

You'd be surprised how many people preferred riding with the kids over the possibly of being puked on!  We'd found a solution to our dilemma!  We spent the rest of the night chatting while we watched other parents try not to hurl, and all of our children had a blast!  

We ended the night at Dunkin Donuts because where else do you take four children, who were beyond exhausted, right before bedtime?  Jennifer and I toasted our fair brilliance, while our overtired children, who were now hyped up on sugar, bounced around like maniacs.  We stayed until the poor night manager came over and asked us to please leave, so she could close the store and go home for the night.  

Yup, nothing screams that's a good parent quite like going to the fair and spending the night teaching your kids to cheat the system.  It's alright though.  I told Jennifer I'd save her a seat in Mommy Hell.  


Post a Comment