Montgomery County Fair
This evening I was able to convince Lisa that we should all go to the Montgomery County Fair. It was a battle for all involved right from the start. It seemed like a case of Father Knows Best, but once again...father does not know best. Lisa faintly hinted on Grant not being in the mood for such an event, but I did not take the hint...her hint should not be great enough for an "I told you so" attitude as it was such a silent and subtle hint. All in all it was worth it. Had we not gone to the fair tonight, we would have missed it all together. Sure, there are other fairs, the Maryland State Fair is just a month away. But, there is no guarantee that we will make it to that event either. Yet the approach could have been smoother....the turn around for a forgotten stroller...only to recall as we loaded the car that we had a stroller in the trunk already.
There were moments of great joy that out weighed the endless displeasure that Grant seemed to be experiencing. Dean was able to see all sorts of cows, horses, and chickens (there were also sheep, goats, pigs, lamas, and who knows what else) as well as ride some rides. We arrived as the sun was setting. It was getting late and no one had eaten dinner. Everyone was a tad grumpy the evening was a bit forced. Lisa seemed as if she was determined to have a good time, she got was she was seeking. The event was nothing shy of a festival; the lights, the sounds, and the smells....the endless barns filled with various farm animals, the vendors and their chicken on a stick, the game booths after game booth with the barkers barking trying to pawn off their cheap stuffed animals that only a child could love, and the rides! The rides run by toothless rednecks. Assembled with duck tape and shoe laces, swaying with the wind, settling into the ground, and somehow evading OSHA and EPA safety ratings. It was all very awesome.

Dean was drawn to anything and everything. I tried to guide him from the first booth to the next, then distracting him further. We played one of those squirt gun race horse games, where the water through the bullseyes propels the horse forward, yet in this case it was NASCAR. Lisa assited Dean, it was me and them. Dean edged me out in the end and won one of those crappy little stuffed characters that only a child could love, basically I bought it for 4 bucks (each of our 2 dollar entry fee) He enjoyed it, he liked the prize and the experience of winning. He was distracted from a sales booth with various balloons, including a spiderman balloon. From the games we went to the rides...Dean was drawn to some rides that seemed too violent, and others that he was too short for. I was able to convince him to try the Umbrella Ride, a ride I know he had enjoyed the weekend prior. I had the joy of riding with him. We were the first in line and the first in the chair. This gave us a chance to sit and view the park from above as the other people took their seats. Dean raised his hands in anticipation. The little daredevil was ready to take this ride no handed, hands in the air minutes before the actual ride would begin. We looked around and pointed out various things to each other. Dean was all smiles. Then once the ride started spinning Deans smile grew larger and he began to glow. Lisa smiled and waved as we circled around. We all shared the joy that Dean was experiencing...well....all but Grant who had to be walked around in the stroller to keep him from crying. Once out of the umbrella ride we moved among the crowds past more games and more rides. Again Dean was drawn to the first thing he saw. He did not want anything or everything. He wanted the first thing he saw and he was not to be dissuaded. On several counts I had to pull him away kicking and screaming only to rationalize with him to get him to stop crying. Dean is very good at rationalizing...but he is a better negotiator. Again, Father Tries to impose his feeling of what he feels is best.
Dean wanted to ride some odd canoe ride. I felt that the Super Slide would be a better option.
Again kicking and screaming....again distractions and rationalization...and finally replacement. The Super Slide quickly replaced the canoe ride. Dean took the burlap sack and like a little soldier he marched up the long set of stairs. Sure I was nervous letting him go all that way alone on those stairs that may not be up to code. But he went without fear and without hesitation. At the top he had to wait patiently for his turn and then the ride conductor at the top of the slide had to negotiate with him to get down the slide on the sack rather than just on his bum. Dean raced down with a Super Slide Smile; ear to ear. Eyes wide with the immediate...."Can I do it again?!?!?"
Sure enough!
Dean got to ride again.
With the same smiling results.
We had more tickets, but a line had developed. Grant's crying was back and Lisa's face showed that it was time to go. It was time to go.
We had to pass all the rides, all the games, all the food, and all the vendors. Dean did not want to leave. He was entertained by the fireman mascot. But he was not so sure he wanted leave.
We made that long exhaustive walk back to the car, unused tickets in hand. Loaded the car. Grants crying grew steady. Dean demanded that I put on a Fireman Temporary tattoo. I obliged, partially because I wanted to put in on and see how it worked anyhow. It was a long drive back. Grant cried the whole way. There was no consoling him. The car and all of things that lead children off to sleep did nothing to soothe Grant, Grant wanted his bed and no substitute.
The boys were up way past their bedtime.
Lisa and I got into a basic, "I told you so" sort of argument.
It was all blown out of proportion.
I will take the dog house, it is all worth it when I reflect back on Dean's face on the Umbrella ride, on the Super Slide, and when he was checking out the chickens and the cows.

Hope this evening does something positive to Grant's sleep cycle. We need him to sleep through the night. It will be better for him. It would be better for everyone.

almost midnight
I best got to bed
great Olympics again tonight
I am shocked how into this Olympics I have been into this year
less talk of performance enhancing drugs
but track and field has not really started yet
and they did not say anything about Tyler Hamilton being tested

here are a few images from last night to tell the tale