Sunday, July 5, 2009

Missed the Fireworks but not the drama

Due to the economy, many cities have canceled their fireworks celebrations, so larger crowds were expected at the remaining venues. The plan was to be at our park by 2pm, for a fireworks show that would begin at 9:30pm.

That was going to be a long day out in the sun with hyperactive boys. DH and I decided to go in 2 cars, to allow one of us to meet up with our friends at the designated time, and the remaining adult to finish the entertainment and meal packing and join a few hours later. Since DH is also prone to heat exhaustion, he got assigned the late shift.

As it was, I ended up returning home within minutes of departing, to drop off Teddy. He and his brother got into fisticuffs in the back of the van during a moment of inattention while I refueled. The boys fight less when separated, obviously.

The weather turned out lovely. We went back and forth to the 2 play structures, ate lots of popcorn, snacked, got more food, ate some more. It even got a little breezy toward the end. Overall, though, we all really enjoyed the picnic/park day, and we had an awesome spot to watch the fireworks from.

Unfortunately, I missed them completely. Barley had complained of a headache earlier in the day, but he was having so much fun, he played on through it. As the evening wore on though, it bothered him more and more. Finally 20 minutes before the fireworks were to start, the live band's speakers were bothering Barley so much he had his hands over his ears.

Now, this is a kid who didn't enjoy fireworks until he was 5. We used to sit and watch fireworks with him in my lap, face burrowed into my jacket, head covered with a blanket, and both my hands covering his own hands over his ears. It took years before he was finally comfortable just watching them from the safety of my lap. The last couple of years, he's been able to just sit and watch on his own.

20 minutes before the fireworks were due to start, he was complaining of his headache getting worse, and already covering his ears just from the band. I had a bad feeling about this, and when Barley gets overloaded, total meltdown can be just minutes away. I suggested to DH that someone should take him home, and we had a brief, um, "discussion" about which of us should go. Even though DH was parked a lot closer and could make a faster getaway, Barley does better emotionally with me--a connection we credit to Barley's infancy when I could comfort the breastfeeding baby in a way DH was ill-equipped to do. In the end, I won out.

Barley's headache persisted all the way home, but eased off significantly once we left the park. He did OK with the long walk to the car (it was too much of a zoo to try to find DH's car), and since we left before the show started, getting out was easy. DH and Teddy followed in our wake 40 minutes later, but were 2 hours getting home. I did get to see some fireworks in my sideview mirror as we sped down the highway going home.

I was pretty tuckered out from the day in the sun anyway, and there will be other fireworks shows at Great America this summer. Snuggling my baby as he went to sleep to escape his headache was a better place to be.

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