Nothing says "summer" like the county fair! (Even if the temperature is in the 60s and you have to wear sweatshirts.)
When we told Joy's Saturday-afternoon barista that we were going to the fair that evening, she wondered how we'd do it. Do you use Joy's monkey-backback? she asked? Nope, we just do a whole lot of firm hand-holding.
If I'm remembering right, we've taken Joy to the fair every year of her life. First time out, she was 2 months old and napped through it all in a Baby Bjorn carrier! Then she was in stroller, then on her own feet -- with her hand in a firm, firm grasp.
Joy really did great this year. We decided to make something of a game of trying not to break the bank at this year's fair, which meant that the over-priced creaky midway rides that we can never predict which girl (if either) will enjoy -- were out. Instead we started with a lumberjack show. Except it was lumberJILLs, lean tall powerful women throwing axes and chopping and sawing and log-rolling. And wielding immense chainsaws that were deliberately hugely-loud. Our young sensory-sensitive lass had a rather rough time of it. Yes, that would be our "neurotypical" Rose, who spent most of the show with her fingers in her ears. She objected to the chainsaws, and the loud announcer, and the cheering crowd. But fortunately she stuck with us, and ended up very much enjoying the log-rolling competition, especially when the women did a little kick-splash maneuver to distract their competitor with a spray of water!
Joy, meanwhile, was pretty calm about being corralled for the show. We got off to a less-than-ideal start when I was sitting her on my lap, and then suddenly felt something warm and wet on my jeans. Those darn MA generic diapers! But Joy was wearing pants that didn't show the spot, and I decided to be bad-mama and just let us both air-dry. Later in the show, she became fascinated with the long dyed-red tresses of a generously-proportioned woman sitting in front of us. I was not quick enough to keep her from reaching out and exploring a handful of hair, but fortunately she didn't pull, and the woman was sweet and took it as flattery. In fact, she turned around several times in the following minutes to twinkle and flirt with Joy, who responded with smiles and giggles.
After the show, we headed into an exhibition hall where there was a big bouncy-house obstacle course freebie for the kiddies. Rose tackled it with abandon, rope-climbing and all:
Joy was less convinced.
She was willing to go into the initial tunnel, and Rose helped her get past the first obstacle. But then she declined to go further, and we eventually had to commission Rose to help her back out. I think if it hadn't been for the crush of other kids, and if we could have gone in to coax her along, she'd have conquered it.
Next was a petting-zoo area for baby farm animals:
We had to help Joy with the petting, and work hard to keep her from chowing on the wood-shavings (ew.) Rose enjoyed the baby animals a lot, though.
Then we all went back outside to shiver over and share a massive four-dollar serving of cookies-n-cream ice cream, and then the traditional big splurge: the pony ride!
Those poor sad little ponies, circling under their little tent! But the girls were so happy to get their rides, and we didn't have to wait in line at all. In fact, we were the only ones in the circle for our turn, a pleasant chance.
Then it was off to see some of the competition animals, bunnies and cattle. For some reason Joy kept wanting to do a kick-boxing maneuver and get her foot up to the level of the bunny-cages, so we didn't take her down all the aisles that Rose went down! It was a sign that the evening was drawing to a close.
I wonder how next year's fair will be. It's a new adventure every time.