A couple weeks ago, I took the kids to the county fair. The local suspects were there, cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, corn dogs. I decided to splurge and get a bunch of ride tickets. They’re little kids. How many kiddie rides could there be? About a million.
We start on the safe ones–little versions of Mack trucks riding around a track. Move on to the Carousel where the horses go up and down and round and round–always focus on a fixed point on the horizon to avoid nausea. Then to this dragon ride that looked like it went back and forth on a track like a pendulum. At least that’s what I thought. Apparently, that’s just the end of it. Now all my kids are over 36″ tall so they all qualify to go. And happily so. Until it starts and I realize its a mini roller coaster.
I’ve just sent my 3 & 4 yr old on a seat belt only roller coaster ride at a fair. It comes apart and gets put back together every weekend. How stable can that be? At this point Annaliese is screaming bloody murder because she is on the inside of the turns and JD is smooshing her. I’m sure she’s going to fall out but I smile and wave so as not to scare her. Within seconds, the ride operator compassionately stops the ride to let off the screaming masses–about 3/4 of the ride–and then continue on with the old and the brave.
The old and brave end up being my daughter Maddie and another girl who have been screaming “woo hoooooooo” with their arms up in the air the whole time. Maddie is ecstatic and wants more. OK, so my reason for relief is not that the little ones got off the ride, but that Maddie stayed on. She is typically characterized by timidity in a new situation or with something she doesn’t understand. However, carnival rides seem to be the exception. She lights up around them.
I am relieved that somewhere in her 6 yr old being, there is a place where she is willing to cut loose and risk. To look forward to experiencing the thrill of faux-danger, trusting that she’ll be ok in the end.