My hometown puts on a pretty fun event for Independence Day at our Atlantic League baseball stadium. Think bounce houses, carousel, playground, live music, concessions and, of course, fireworks.
If you’ll recall, we forewent fireworks for Holden last year. This year, I thought we’d give it a shot. Spoiler alert: it didn’t go well.
I’ll preface by saying Holden has been getting her two-year molars, had a fever the day before and I was keeping her up about an hour and a half past her bedtime. But she had taken a nice, late nap so I thought we might be okay. Spoiler alert: we weren’t.
My mom and I got to the stadium (with both kids) around 7:45pm. We rode the carousel and had fun on the playground.
Then we headed onto the field to set up our blanket and stake out our spot for the fireworks show, which was to start around 9:30pm. There was a fun Army jazz band and Holdy got her dance on for a bit.
Then Ms. Antsy got, well, antsy and started to run around a bit. My mom went off chasing her and… 15 minutes later… brought back a possessed demon child from Independence Day hell.
The screaming. The kicking. The writhing. The teeth gnashing. As I carried her out, literally kicking and screaming (and in the process dropping her shoe, which I had to humiliatingly accept from a nice man who chased after us to return it to me), I could feel all eyes on us. Some judging. Some sympathetic. Some terrified.
I took her to a grassy spot off the field that was slightly more private and actually had to form a human Thundershirt to calm her down. For 30 minutes, I struggled to get her to a level that I could even just talk to her. It was overwhelming, and embarrassing, and scary, and frustrating, and mortifying. But I think I kept relatively calm myself. Not sure what the thousands of bystanders would have to say.
The storm passed and we went back on the field to pack up and leave before the fireworks even started. She was calm (tired?) enough to ride in the stroller (usually a struggle) and we got to watch the ‘works on the way out and the walk back to the car. Bonus: we missed the traffic on the way out.
I’m hoping this is “normal” two year-old-stuff. The knowing looks I received from other parents tells me it is. But I’m not exaggerating when I say it was my worst night as a parent so far. I left feeling absolutely terrible about myself as a mother.
But the excitement on her face when she watched the fireworks for the first time *almost* made that 30 minutes of horror worth it.