Sunday, August 21, 2011

A fair-ly good time

It’s been 6 years since we moved to Oregon but not once have we attended the annual Lane County Fair. That changed yesterday.

By the time we got to the fairgrounds late in the day, the parking lots were filled, so hubby had to drive around and around neighboring streets to find someplace to park. During all that driving, I noticed how some people were charging fairgoers $5 to park in their front yards. After some time of driving, I suggested we just come back the next day. But hubby was determined to find somewhere to park. We were already there and he wasn’t going to give up just because he couldn’t find a parking space. Eventually, his determination paid off and we managed to park in front of a house two streets away from the fairgrounds. I was grateful for the nice weather as we walked.

I was also grateful for our timing. We arrived at the fair at dusk and all the lights were starting to come on. It was very pretty. As the sky grew darker, and the lights became brighter, Jesse was really mesmerized by all of the lights and special effects. Many times his dad had a hard time getting his attention because he couldn’t take his eyes off all of the lights! (Jennifer told me the music was loud, too. She could hear it all the way from where we parked! I asked her what kind of music it was and she said it was “fair music.”)

Of course, the kids wanted to go on EVERYTHING, but because the tickets cost so much, we had to be choosy. I definitely wanted the kids to go on a carousel, but we couldn’t find one. This was Jesse’s very first fair visit, so hubby and I both knew we had to be especially certain he went on some good rides.

Before we got to the fair, I was anticipating the kids having fun on the rides. What I didn’t expect was freaking out when my little baby was placed inside of the first ride. My heart was pounding in my chest and I had to keep myself from running to his seat and pulling him out of there. I was standing there thinking, MY BABY!!! This particular ride was the kiddie version of the swings. (You know, those swings people spin around a pole in?) I kept telling myself that this was a ride for kids. He’d met the height requirement. And, most of all, Jennifer was in the seat with him. Surely she would grab him if he started to slip out. (And they did have a strap that went between the legs so kids couldn’t slip out.) So I just watched, and prayed, as the ride started up. Thankfully, it was not as fast as the adult version. And he was fine. Phew! But I put my foot down later in the evening when they wanted to go on the adult version of that swing ride. I kept saying, “I don’t want him on that ride!” Hubby wanted to go on, too. But even with him, I was NOT going to allow Jesse on that ride. He already was on the kiddie version and that was good enough. (Hubby saw how upset this made me so thankfully he agreed not to put Jesse on that ride.)

When we got to rides that Jennifer was big enough for but not Jesse, then either I or hubby took Jesse to a kiddie ride or hubby went with Jennifer and I took Jesse to another ride. At one point, hubby even suggested I go find a ride I wanted to go on but I said I didn’t want to go on any. That changed when I saw The Haunted Mansion ride. I went nuts and said, “I wanna go on THAT one!” We all ended up going on that ride. I rode with Jennifer and as we went through the ride, I worried it might be a bit much for Jesse (who was riding with his dad). After we all got off of the ride, Jesse huddled close to Jennifer and they started talking. I asked hubby if the ride had scared him and he said, “A little bit.” After Jesse was done talking to Jennifer, he looked at me and said, “That ride was a little bit scary.” (Later that night, he told me again the “monsters” on that ride scared him.)

We ate our dinner at the fair. Two bacon cheeseburgers, two orders of fries, two hot dogs and 4 soft drinks. It cost us $43! The whole fair experience was pricey and I decided that, for next year, we will start saving EARLY if we want to go to the fair again.

Another thing about fairs is how they rig the games so very few people win the prizes. That night, Jennifer was introduced to the term “carnie” and I told her horror stories of how carnies trick people out of their money by fixing the games. Hubby shrugged it all off and told Jennifer she could go ahead and play one of the games. She really wanted to win something but she couldn’t knock over the stack of blocks with the baseball she was given.

Another thing Jennifer wanted to do at the fair was go on the Ferris wheel with her dad. She did get to do that – but unfortunately Jesse was too small for it. So while they were on that, he went on the kiddie airplane ride. Every time I looked at the lit-up Ferris wheel at the fair, I was reminded of the short story I’d written last week that Jennifer’s request had inspired me to write.

Jennifer also got to have some cotton candy – and Jesse, too – but she wasn’t able to play certain other games she’d hoped to play or win a goldfish. (Well, there’s always next year. I promised myself that next year I will drop the whole “carnies are EBIL!” warning and just let her play the games.)

Soon we ran out of tickets – and money to buy more tickets – so we had to go home. We’d been at the fair for 3 hours and we all agreed we had fun. As we walked to the car, my feet hurt from all that walking and my legs were dead. I told Jennifer I had gotten my exercise for the day. It was A LOT of walking!

But it was a lot of fun, too. Jesse had his very first fair experience and Jennifer got to have some good memories of going on rides with her dad. I’m glad we finally went to the Lane County Fair and look forward to going again next year.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Bye bye, baby teeth

Yesterday, Jesse lost a couple of his baby teeth. At the age of 3, one would think this was happening a little early for him. But in truth, these teeth did not come out naturally. Actually, they were knocked out in a fall he had yesterday.

Now I am not going to say who caused this fall. I don’t want the offender to be outed here. I don’t want to make this person look bad. The offender has been punished and already feels as guilty as it is about causing this to happen.

Anyway, yesterday morning, I was in the bathroom, getting ready to take a shower. The kids were in the house and hubby was in the kitchen, getting a cup of coffee. Jesse came into the bathroom, crying with blood dripping out of his mouth. He had blood on his hands and shirt.

I freaked!

I cried out to Jennifer to get her father and they came rushing into the bathroom. Hubby took over and assessed the situation while I cleaned up the blood on the floor.

On the floor was a tooth. There was another tooth on Jesse’s hand. His two front teeth had been knocked out.

Hubby told me to call the dentist to find out what to do and I got on the phone while he took care of Jesse. But before I could actually type their number into the box for relay, the offender came up to me crying and explaining what had happened. How Jesse had lost his teeth. I was shocked and horrified. I even screamed, “He’s just a baby!” Of course, this didn’t help the offender feel any better. I told said person to go somewhere else, I was too angry and upset to talk to that person right now. I was riveted! I was also on the verge of tears. Why did this happen to my baby? I kept wiping away the tears as I tried to focus on the phone call.

I called the dentist and they told me to bring Jesse in right away. Hubby got Jesse's mouth cleaned up and he told me to change Jesse’s clothes while he got ready, because he was going to take Jesse to the dentist himself. So I took Jesse into his room and we both picked out some new clothes for him to wear. After he was dressed and hubby was ready, they went out to the garage and got the car seat from the truck and into hubby’s car. I double-checked that hubby had the teeth with him before they left. I watched as they left, my heart sunk. I felt just terrible for Jesse and hoped he wasn’t in too much pain.

At the same time, though, I couldn’t stop thinking that I’d been here before. When Jennifer was 7 years old, she was at a friend’s birthday party and in all the fun and excitement of the kids playing, a boy accidentally kicked her in the mouth and knocked her two front teeth out. There was the blood, the tears, the shock, the pain. Just as Jennifer had lost her two front teeth in an accident, Jesse had, too. I only prayed it wasn’t his permanent teeth that were lost.

After they got back from the dentist, hubby told me that Jesse had not suffered any serious damage. They were his baby teeth and that Jesse didn’t need any pain medicine. As to the teeth, it looked like Jesse was going to get his very first visit from the tooth fairy. I was so relieved he was going to be okay. The whole time they were gone, I was shocked and trying to keep myself together.

Since Jesse is too young to have money, he got a toy car from the tooth fairy. He’s been playing with it all morning. He seems to be fine.

Eating is another matter, though. At first, he would not eat at all yesterday. As it was, the only thing he would accept at dinner was a kernel of corn. (I did make something soft for dinner. Looks like I will be making him soft foods for a while! It’s a good thing he loves yogurt.) This morning, he ate part of a doughnut and a Nutri-Grain bar. That was about it. I am hoping he will be okay to eat without trouble at mealtimes. l am glad that a lot of the things he likes are soft foods: Peanut butter sandwich (without the crust and cut into squares), yogurt, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, chicken noodle soup. He also like hot dogs and he eats them cut up. I wonder how that’ll work for him. (He’ll probably figure out to chew food on the side if he can’t chew it in the front.) I am hoping we can coax him to eat a little more today, but if it’s pain that’s preventing him from eating, I’ll have to either call the dentist or give him Tylenol. Or both.

This week, Jesse is being kept home from preschool. (During the summer, he has been going there twice a week.) This was something hubby wanted. I think Jesse’s fine and should be okay at the school, but I have to respect hubby’s feelings on this. After all, this is his little boy. So Jesse is home this week.

And the offender will be at home all week, too. No playdates or going to a friend’s house. Unlike Jennifer’s experience, this time around the situation could have been avoided. Granted, the offender probably did NOT do what was done with the intention of knocking Jesse’s teeth out, but that is just one of the things that can happen to someone when something like that is done to them, and I hope that message is not lost on that person. On top of this, I don’t condone violence. I will NOT have violence in my home. I grew up in a violent home and I will NOT let the same thing be said about my children. NO VIOLENCE. Period.

Hopefully, everything about this experience will ensure that won’t happen again.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Still got it

Today I took Jennifer to the library. As we rode in the elevator, I assured her I didn't need to check out any books. I already have a hefty supply of books to read for book reviews, so I had enough books to keep me busy. Sometimes, when we go to the library, she'll accompany me to the second floor as I pick out books to check out, too, on her library card. Not today, I assured her. Take your time in the kids' section of the library.

But of course, I was wrong. I did end up finding a book to check out -- in the kids' section!

What is it with me and library books?? It is like there is at least ONE I am bound to find that I would like to check out. Sigh. So many books to read, so little time....

Anyway, Jen was checking out comic books and I turned to find a bunch of Halloween books on display. Cool! I love Halloween! So I browsed through the books and found there was an interesting variety of Halloween books.

But, wouldn't you know it, they also had "ghost story" books and "haunt" books on display there, as well. I ended up grabbing these books, but this gave me pause. Lately, I have been so interested in science and astronomy articles that I started to wonder, have I lost interest in the paranormal? Have I lost interest in ghost stuff? Ghost stories? Haunted houses?

This interest in the paranormal books at the library answered that question with a resounding, "Nope!"

I guess I will always be interested in the paranormal. But I'll still be interested in science and astronomy, too. (That's an interesting combination, isn't it?) I was a BIG astronomy buff as a kid and teenager, then I was a BIG paranormal buff as an adult. I guess my interests in one will occasionally increase or decrease in time, but it will never go away. I may not talk about ghosts and hauntings as much as I used to, but I guess I'll always be into that stuff, because I am still into that stuff.

Which is a good thing, too. Still got the haunted cities book project going on, as well as the middle grade series, which happens to be set in a fictional haunted city.