Carnival Monkeys

I sometimes feel like my life is a three-ring circus.

You know, what with having kids and cats and laundry and all.

Basically, I’m pretty sure that I’m the monkey trainer, and I forgot to read the manual entitled, So, You Have Monkeys?  Now What?  Instead, I just go about my day, herding my monkeys along, while I enthusiastically applaud their tricks and roll my eyeballs back into my skull over their messes, without ever consulting books written by professional monkey handlers who always have their laundry under control, neatly folded, and even put away.

I think this is what we commonly refer to as I JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP.

So, when the rodeo and the carnival and the parade all came to town this past weekend, I just corralled my monkeys and hauled them off to see everything, without missing a beat.

(Unless you count the beat where my house fell into disrepair, and we basically looked like a crime scene, what with all the dirty dishes and the unswept floor and the unmade beds and the toothpaste splatters all over the bathroom sinks.  OTHER THAN THOSE THINGS, we didn’t miss a beat.)

Every July, the parade comes to Small Town, USA, which is kind of a big deal.  It’s such a big deal, in fact, that every business except Walmart closes down, so that all 15,000 of our residents can go sit on the street curbs, while we eat cotton candy, cheer for folks we know who are in the parade, and watch our small children fight one another to the death over miniature packets of M&Ms that are thrown from the floats.

We got our parade crowd downtown on Friday morning…

IMG_4232Thing 2 was very happy to dig dirt out of the cracks in the sidewalk.

To each his own.

IMG_4235But… our toddler did manage to absolutely STEAL someone else’s stool at the parade, so that he could sit down and enjoy all the action.  However, don’t let the phrase SIT DOWN fool you, because Thing 2 never sits for more than seven consecutive seconds.

(Say that five times fast.)

IMG_4237Our pack of children proved on Friday morning that they are somewhat of PROFESSIONAL CANDY SNAGGERS, when sugary treats are thrown from passing floats.  Thing 2 actually SHOVED a couple of children aside so that he could scramble off the curb and beat them to the Lemon Heads.  I’d say that this sort of behavior calls for some discipline, but it was all in the name of HE WHO IS TOO SLOW, GETS TRAMPLED, BECAUSE CANDY, CANDY, CANDY!

And then… Thing 2 got beat out by a handful of second graders on the street when a new batch of candy was thrown.  Their older, longer-legged, eight-year-old bodies managed to grab up the few pieces of candy that a stingy float threw.  Because he’s three years old, our toddler took action.  He balled up his fists at his side, threw his head backwards, and screamed out his frustration at not getting the miniature Twix bars that time.

Do you know what happened after that?  Let me tell you.  A dad sitting very near to him gave him the candy bars that his teenager managed to get his hands on.  I attempted to do the right thing by saying, “No, no, no… we don’t need Twix bars for spontaneous fits in the street,” but this nice man replied by saying, “And my high school junior doesn’t need to grab candy at the parade, when the little kids are right in front of him.”

So what Thing 2 learned is that if you don’t manage to grab some sugar, throw a fit in the street that’s worthy of an Academy Award, and then look around for a sympathetic parade watcher, who will help fill your stash.

I’d also like to go on record and say that Thing 2 managed to get nineteen pieces of candy off the street on Friday morning, and he ate nineteen pieces of candy before the parade was over.

I call this WINNING AT PARENTING.

And also MOM’S MY FAVORITE PARENT.

Thing 2 was incredibly animated at the parade, and he danced every single time a musical float or a band went by.  He entertained the crowd better than the parade participants did.

Because parades are exhausting, even if you’re an energetic little monkey who’s hopped up on nineteen pieces of candy, THIS can happen on the way home:

IMG_4243Later on Friday afternoon, Cousin K came over to hang out with us, and the kids played in the driveway.

Never underestimate the power of a big stick and a free spray bottle to keep the smaller crowd entertained for a sweet forever.

IMG_4628 IMG_4629 IMG_4630 IMG_4632 IMG_4635 IMG_4638 IMG_4639 IMG_4641 IMG_4644 IMG_4646 IMG_4647 IMG_4652And lest you confuse us with real royalty, let me just assure you that we really DO perform our own chores, as we holler out things like, “Hey, Boy!  Go fetch our garbage dumpster from the curb and bring it back up to the house!”

IMG_4634Clearly, we’re terribly fancy.

We also hit the park on Friday afternoon with the cousins, where everyone stood in line for ice cream, since it was approximately 600 degrees outside.

IMG_4682Cousin M got black licorice ice cream.

I have no words.

Wait a second… Maybe I do have a word, and it’s DISGUSTING.  I have no idea who thought black ice cream was a good idea, but M and Hubs are head over heels in love with the stuff.

It dyes their faces gray, which just seems wrong from a bowl of ice cream.

IMG_4657 IMG_4658 IMG_4660 IMG_4661 IMG_4663 IMG_4664 IMG_4665 IMG_4674 IMG_4675 IMG_4680 IMG_4681 FireEngineCollageAfter much waiting and waiting and even more waiting, 5:00 finally rolled around, and THAT, people, was when the carnival opened for the night.

We were there at 5:01, hoping to beat the crowds.

IMG_4683 HelicopterCollage IMG_4695 IMG_4696 IMG_4698 IMG_4699 IMG_4700 IMG_4701 IMG_4703 IMG_4704 IMG_4705 IMG_4707 IMG_4709 IMG_4710 IMG_4714 IMG_4719 IMG_4720 IMG_4721 IMG_4722 IMG_4728 IMG_4730 IMG_4731 IMG_4729 IMG_4733 IMG_4734 IMG_4736 IMG_4738 IMG_4742 IMG_4743 IMG_4749 IMG_4751 IMG_4753 IMG_4754 IMG_4759 IMG_4760 IMG_4762 IMG_4764Thing 2 and Cousin K would have ridden that little dragon roller coaster for three weeks straight, if we’d been able to keep them in tickets.

As it was, it cost $8 each time the two of them boarded that ride.

We’re eating water and air for dinners this week because I let them ride it a few times, just to see them laugh like they did.  It was precious.

By 6:00, the dark clouds were rolling in…

IMG_4746… and the downpour hit the carnival.  We dashed for our car, even though Thing 2 and K complained that IT’S JUST A LITTLE RAIN.  IT’S JUST A MINOR FLOOD!  WE CAN STILL DO THE RIDES!  WE DON’T MIND GETTING SOAKED!  WE!! WANT!! THE!! DRAGON ROLLER COASTER!!!!!

They were both incredibly sad to leave the carnival.

IMG_4248But… we hear tale that the dragon roller coaster will be back again next July, as it always is.

We’re already saving our dollars, so that the boys can ride it FOUR times!

And we’re lifting weights, too, because AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME TO MISS OUT ON PARADE CANDY, BECAUSE A PACK OF SECOND GRADERS GOT TO IT FIRST.

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