Monday, July 5, 2010

A holiday of lemons, surprises and hearing loss

This was a rough weekend…for my ears. But it was worth it. We celebrated the 4th of July holiday with equal family versus adult play time, and while we hit a few snags, we still managed to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy ourselves. Here’s the celebration in pictures, brought to you mostly by the camera phone.




Little Miss Patriotic in red, white and blue. We don’t usually have a thematic approach to the holidays but with these sandals, I couldn’t help it.


The Emperor’s New Clothes musical - with vibrant costumes and setting, and lively music, this is a kids’ show that also appealed to the adults. But I was more enthralled by the Little Miss next to me, who was mesmerized, than by the song and dance on stage.



She surprised us with how attentive she was, sitting through 69 minutes of a musical. She was so taken by the singing that she yelled requests at the stage, “Bus!” (Wheels on the Bus) and “Ee Ei Ee Ei O” (Old MacDonald).



After the show, there was ice cream, a carousel ride and The Children’s Museum, where she learned to excavate “dine-saw” (dinosaur) bones and shop in a just-her-size grocery store. The first thing that went into her cart? Milk, of course!

Naturally, busy days meant sleepy nights for the toddler. While she slumbered soundly, the adults came out to play.


Silversun Saturday evening

Not unlike the children’s show, with the colors and music, except MUCH, MUCH LOUDER. The Silversun Pickups concert was the beginning of the end for my hearing. It was a fantastic, high-energy show, but by the end of the night, when we retreated to a nearby bar with friends, we could barely hear one another from the ringing in our ears. “That show was brilliant!” “No, why would I bring detergent?”

The ringing was exacerbated the next night during the requisite 4th of July fireworks extravaganza. Having a toddler who sleeps at 7pm meant we weren’t able to enjoy the city’s spectacular show but fortunately, we had enthusiastic neighbors who entertained everyone in the five-block radius with a surprisingly elaborate (and illegal) fireworks display while we sat on the back porch with friends, feasting on homemade bacon-wrapped dates, Spanish potato salad and Sangria. We’re aware of the oddity of a Spanish-themed night for an American celebration but for what it’s worth, we did have watermelon - our feeble attempt to commemorate the occasion.

FireworksSunday evening


This was the highlight of our weekend. Yes, the picture isn’t great (that’s the camera phone for you) and no, I’m not talking about the fireworks. It’s what happened behind the scenes during the back-porch show. As our overzealous neighbors, who live across the alley from us (meaning, VERY CLOSE) shot off the loudest, most obnoxious fireworks that stopped and jumpstarted my heart many times throughout the night, our little girl, exhausted from her day at the show and the museum, SLEPT THROUGH EVERYTHING!

Every time the decibels hit levels that seemed like it would reach Canada, we whipped our heads around to watch the monitor, listening for Little Miss - her cries, her rustling. But there were none. Not a sound for the entire three hours of what sounded like a war zone (but prettier) in the city. We had planned contingencies for a toddler awakened and frightened by the noise.  But we never needed a Plan B.

It continues to amaze me how she consistently surprises us at every turn. Of course it’s not always peaches. When she awoke with a fever on Saturday morning, we had to forego our trip to the pool, but we more than made up for it the next day with our Independence Day excursions. When she slept through the fireworks, we were filled with wonder, both for our generous neighbors and their light show, and for the slumber that embraced her so deeply that it saved her (and us) from what would have been a harrowing night.

As parents we’ve learned many invaluable lessons in the past 20 months, but on this specific weekend, we realized that when life gives you lemons, you can add them to the Sangria and have a surprisingly wonderful time.