We were thrilled to take Little Man to the county fair this year. We missed most of it last year, because Tice caught a nasty stomach bug. But I just knew this year would be grand. I had visions of him wearing his new boots, petting the farm animals, and giving me some picture perfect small-town moments to capture.
Of course, reality set in before we even left the house: Tice refused to wear his new boots. It was due to his One-Strike Policy, which he strictly adheres to at the most inconvenient times. If he tries and finds something unappealing, then it’s out, O-U-T. It doesn’t matter how many times it has been enjoyable before, if something goes wrong, then forget about it. It’s off the short list. And the kid has the memory of an elephant, so waiting until he forgets about the negative experience hasn’t been very successful.
The drama with the boots was my fault. Tice loved his first pair of boots and even recently tried to wear them when they were two sizes too small. I put off buying new ones until school started, hoping they would last him until next summer. I finally ordered new ones to be here in time for the fair. When the new ones arrived, he couldn’t wait to wear them. He pulled them on and immediately went to admire the new kicks in the mirror. He was walking funny, but he said they felt good, so I didn’t think too much about it. I had other things to worry about: the sky was threatening rain, and I needed to dash to the hardware store for a tarp to cover a piece of furniture that was waiting to be unloaded from the back of Harper’s truck.
I carried him more than he walked since I was racing the storm, but the damage was done. As soon as we got home, he wanted to put on his tennis shoes to play, and that was a first. Normally, he would have wanted to wear the boots as long as I would have let him.
After that, I put an insert in the boots (they were too big), and I put two pairs of socks on him, but he wouldn’t even try them on again. I thought about boxing up the boots again and putting them on the front porch to pretend they were another pair, but I decided to just go ahead and get a smaller size. He was excited again as we picked a new pair at the local saddle shop, and I was thinking we had dodged the One-Strike-Policy bullet. But, alas, when we got home and dressed for the fair, he refused the boots. I really pushed, but I could see a meltdown on the horizon, and meltdowns are ultimately worse for pictures than tennis shoes. So, I let it go.
As soon I gave up on Tice, Harper immediately exchanged his boots and jeans for shorts and tennis shoes, too. At least they looked out of place together…
No sooner had we gotten to the fair, we received our second dose of reality. It looked like the cute petting-the-animal experience would be a no go, too. Tice preferred to enjoy that petting zoo from the safety of his daddy’s arms, thank you very much.
And don’t even get me started on the cows. We put him up on Harper’s shoulders thinking the height would help, but he clung to Harper’s head like it was ball in a game of keep-away.
The fear of cows came from previous One-Strike-Policy experience…
Since the fair, he’s been telling us, “Those cows not like me!”
Just when I thought the fair experience was going to be a bust, we found the rabbits.
Hallelujah, thank you, Jesus, for bunnies and backlighting!
And then, there were tractors! And more smiles!
The big rides looked like so much fun.
He was still asking to go ride the big rides when it was time to leave, but we thought he was too small for the carnival. Then, on the way out, we saw several little rides that were just his size. We assured him we would come back for the rides.
We kept our promise and returned on Saturday afternoon. I must admit, I was nervous about the rides. Not because they were dangerous, but because riding in circles makes me want to barf, and I was afraid he would be like me. Luckily, he did just fine with the circles. He loved every second and took it all in with serious wonder.
The race car ride was my favorite. Tice chose this pink car over all the others–even the BLUE one. He was so intrigued by it all, we couldn’t distract him for a second. He had his hands on his knees for most of the ride, and then he suddenly realized there was a steering wheel (never mind that Harper and I had been yelling for him to put his hands on the wheel for two minutes). The best part was when he finally did look up, it wasn’t us that caught his eye–it was the man operating the ride. The man had no teeth and was happy to entertain Tice with some very silly faces. Well, Tice was locked in–he could not take his eyes of the man. It’s so funny to watch him take it all in. I wish I knew what was going through his head!
Other highlights included a trip to the Country Creations building, a bag of popcorn, and running wild under the pavilion after the Gatlin Brothers did their sound check.
And we took one more trip to the tractors to conclude our Washington County Fair week.
This might be my favorite picture of Harper and Tice to date.
I have no idea why a farmer would need a dual-control tractor, but it’s great for a father/son photo op!
In the grand scheme, the boots fail was trivial. I’m so glad he was healthy enough to really experience the excitement of the fair this year. I look forward to many more years of taking him–and maybe next year we’ll start with the rabbits!