Monday, July 4, 2011

Patriotic Holidays

I can't believe that it's July already. Later this month, we have two milestone birthdays to celebrate (my 40th and Emmett's first), but we're already in celebration mode here.
We always do something to celebrate Canada Day on July 1, even if all we do is sit around at home eating vegetarian poutine and drinking Canadian beer. This year we decided to invite friends over after work to have Canadian drinks and snacks and it was pretty fun. Emmett dressed for the occasion in a cute Canada t-shirt that Adam brought back from a trip to Vancouver a year ago. We listened to Rush and the streaming version of a Canadian radio station. I think that having some recognition for Canada makes it easier for Adam to handle the rampant patriotism of the Fourth of July.

Our town has a fun Fourth of July celebration that starts with a very small parade. Kids decorate their bikes and walk a few blocks and end up near Town Hall, where a variety of games and music await them. In the past several years, Lucydog and I have walked in the parade along with our friends Elaine and Chas and their kids. Their daughter has a strong record of winning recognition during the decoration/costume contest that precedes the parade and this year she and her brother won a joint prize for bike decoration.

We decided that we should decorate Emmett's stroller at least a little bit, and Adam came up with the word "patrioctopus" a few days before, so the night before the 4th, I drew a cartoon octopus on some fabric (see photo). Our octopus is holding flags for both the US and Canada (as well as a firecracker). We used red duct tape to attach it to the stroller. While we didn't get tons of "Oh my God you're so clever!" comments, we amused ourselves and that matters.

Though it was ridiculously hot outside, we all really enjoyed the town celebration. They had a special "toddler zone" set up with large tinker toys, xylophones, water tables, and sandboxes and we spent some quality time there. In the heat, the water tables were especially fun.

Our friends gave us two great recommendations: check out the ska band, and enter Emmett in the baby crawling race. The baby race was set to start at 1 p.m., and we weren't sure that we'd be able to survive in the heat from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., but the ska band played in between and was a great way to spend time (especially since they played in a shady area).

Once they were done, we focused on getting Emmett ready for the race...diaper change, a little breastfeeding (but not enough to make him sleepy), sussing out the competition. We met another race participant, Charlie, who was just a couple weeks older than Emmett and joked around with his parents about the upcoming race. The race itself was one of the funniest things ever. The babies only had to crawl about 5 or 6 feet, but somehow once it was "1, 2, 3, go!" none of them wanted to move. The baby next to Emmett started to cry and he watched that baby instead of moving. Eventually Charlie crawled across (the only baby to do so at all at that point) and secured first place--we were happy for him. The contest judges reminded all gathered that second place mattered, too, so we stepped up efforts to get Emmett crawling. Even though Adam was busy with the camera, I was yelling at him "keys! We need keys!" (since he's always trying to steal my keys). After jiggling the keys a bit, I gestured towards my chest and this got his attention. Having little Emmett crawl towards me with friends and onlookers cheering was its own reward...but as it turned out, both first and second place qualified for a trophy. So Emmett has his first trophy! We are flabbergasted by this. Already he has more in the way of athletic achievement than I have managed in my entire life. One friend warned me that Emmett now has a lot to live up to, which is probably true. As I was saying to Adam, "I didn't think that I cared about winning, but I'm pretty psyched about it."

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