At this time last year, we were just two months into living in our new home. We were mostly settled in, but I was really missing the city life. Mike excitedly came home one Saturday, all hyped about a local carnival he’d driven past. “They didn’t have local carnivals in our old neighborhood! Let’s go, it’ll be fun!” So off we went, and Mike and I did have fun. The problem was Annie – she was too little to really enjoy it. We made a plan to come back the following year, when Annie would be older and want to go on rides and play games.
It’s unbelievable that it’s already been a year. I still miss a lot of things about living in the city, but I love our house and our life in the ‘burbs. This year, I was the one that came home excitedly after driving past the local carnival. I grabbed Annie and called my parents, and off we went.
My parents and I grubbed on some carnival food while Annie danced to the band, ignoring her churro (don’t worry, I ate it for her).
Then I said to her, “Annie, do you want to go on some rides?” There were tons of little-kid-friendly rides that I was certain she’d want to go on. She gave me this face:
I took her over to watch a car ride, and she seemed interested at first:
So I said, “Annie, let’s go on this ride!” And she gave me this face:
We went over to the spinning strawberry ride, where we watched all ages of kids spin around (think the tea-cup ride at Disneyland).
“Annie, do you want to go on this?” “NO.” “Okay Annie, what do you want to do?”
She danced her way all over that carnival. At one point, she danced past a little girl who had her face painted with a butterfly design. Annie was mesmerized, so I asked her if she wanted to get her face painted also. I expected her to say no, but she excitedly responded yes. We found the face painter with a line six-deep. I thought Annie would run out of patience, but she didn’t. When it was her turn, we sat in the chair and the face painter asked Annie what she wanted.
“A princess ball gown.”
The face painter and I looked at each other, and after a moment she replied, “I think I know what to paint.”
Annie shocked me again by sitting still for the entire face painting. I was holding her hands, but she never squirmed or even tried to bring her arms up.
She was thrilled with her “pretty pretty princess colors.”
The face painting gave her crazy confidence. She grabbed my hand and said, “Mama, I want to ride Strawberry Shortcake!” So we hightailed it over to the spinning berries, and right when the ride started she began to panic, loudly.
My mom and I were like, “greeeeaaaaat,” but I leaned down and whispered into her ear, “Annie, you’re with Mama. Has Mama ever let you get hurt? I am never, ever going to let anything happen to you. This is going to be fun, I promise.”
Then the ride spun past my dad, who made a funny face at Annie, and suddenly the spinning strawberry was the best ride EVER. She wanted to “drive” and even threw her arms into the air with me.
When the ride was over she said, “AGAIN!”
About ten minutes after we got home, I spotted Annie in the most rare of situations:
I can’t wait until the carnival next year. It will most likely be the next time she naps.