Chooch usually begins to unravel by the time we’ve snaked our way through vendor alley and reached the Point, which you think he would love because that’s where all the kid-centric stuff can be found. This part of the day usually sounds like this:
Me: Chooch, do you want to go over here to this tent and [insert art medium] some shit?
Chooch, giving it a bored once-over: Not really.
Maybe because everything is so happy and bright and full of Blues Clues fans. Perhaps if the medium was haunted house prop building or painting a nude Bride of Chucky, he’d be all in. However, the guy working the pottery wheel snared my son’s scattered attention. (And mine too, because I was oddly attracted to him, so when he mentioned that the studio gives youth classes, I used that as my launching pad to get closer to him and chat. Too bad the classes are Wednesday evenings and I’ll be working, but Chooch genuinely wants to go so have fun with that Henry. And don’t you dare find some single mom there to get all Ghost with, either, because I WILL KNOW.)
Acting like he had to take an important business call; it was just his mom.
At the next tent, I forced Chooch to make me an acetate picture because I thought they looked cool. So cool that I haven’t taken it out of my iCarly messenger bag yet.
The bad part about the children’s area is that once you get through it, the river is within child-detection distance; Chooch sniffs it out and takes off like a looter on the lam to get to it, which gives me heart palpitations, and then this is usually where he starts acting like a complete dick because I tell him no when he says, “I want to go on that boat” and points at one of the twenty boats rocking lazily on the river and I have to explain to him in 87 different ways that we cannot just walk onto a boat that we don’t own, and then he acts like I’m like THE WORST and all obedience and Fear of the HandTM goes out the window (or into the river, as it were), leaving Henry and me muttering under our breaths different incantations of “Why the fuck do we keep bringing him here year after year?!” and then I got bittersweet flashbacks of when he was a baby and he slept the whole time in his Baby Bjorn.
(And you know Henry was wearing the Baby Bjorn, not me.)
After an hour of Extreme Dick Behavior, we finally had the gumption to inquire as to whether or not our child might have been hungry. It turns out, he was—for a snocone.
Henry was starting to break a sweat at the thought of going through another pressurized snocone-ordering episode, but luckily for him, all he had to do was say, “I want a snocone,” at which point he was given a ($5!!) bowl of crushed ice to take over to a syrup station, where Chooch got to make his own goddamn rainbow flavor.
Disaster in 3…2….
I’m pretty sure this happened last year, too, yet it was still OMG shocking to all involved. The passers-by got to witness an angry soliloquy.
Henry took over, after grumbling something like, “Oh, Jesus Christ, let me do that.” Too bad he wasn’t any more adept. I stood there muttering, “Idiots” over and over, but can you imagine if I had gotten involved t0o? God, the whole table probably would have exploded on us, but probably in an artful manner, since it is the Arts Festival after all.
Next year, the Arts Festival should add a family glazed over in snocone syrup to their people statue collection.
Henry ended up eating it, as usual. $5 for a bowl of ice, a ruined shirt and a kid whining about being blue and sticky for the rest of the day. What a fucking bargain.
My favorite part of the day occurred right after the syrup splashing when we were crossing the street and Chooch, in a snocone-eating zone, mistook the guy in front of him for Henry. I saw this coming from a mile away (OK fine, five steps away), and when his little blue-syruped hand reached out and tugged on the back of that stranger’s gray shirt, I braced myself for the fallout. The stranger looked behind him, and then down; the two of them had this “Wait a minute….” moment, before Chooch spun around in a panic looking for us. We were obviously right behind him the whole time, but I think he actually thought he had been abandoned there for a second and I was actually a little glad about that because this kid has NO FEAR.
Then the stranger saw his less-stocky, more-nerdy doppelganger (a/k/a Henry) and everyone in our little pedestrian cluster got big laughs at Chooch’s expense. Chooch meanwhile had a stunned smile on his face and his cheeks were flushed from embarrassment.
It was awesome.
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