Sure sign that you’re a parent: most of the events you go to are in the middle school cafeteria.
Up first – the Meltdown – a family book and music festival hosted by our excellent local radio station. It’s a spring fever kind of thing with a focus on children’s books and kindie (i.e. kid indie) musicians. You can look at photos here. Ted is really a bit old for it – most of the kids there are in the 3-7 range. But every year he gets positively giddy about going. The event tends to make me feel a bit old and uncool. Apparently, in Northampton, all of the parents of little kids are hipsters – tattoos abound, as does personal styles I could never pull off.
This is one of those events that reminds me of the gulf between my expectations of parenting and my reality of parenting. I go, looking forward to hearing the authors—like Mo Willems, Jeanne Birdsall, and Jon Scieszka—read from their books. Ted wants to go into the bounce house. I want to check out the indie bands like the Deedle Deedle Dees and Lunch Money. Ted wants to see what’s for sale. I want to watch the circus performers. Ted: bounce house. Me: gymnastics performance. Ted: snacks. We did get him to try out fencing. As he donned the helmet that made him look like a storm trooper and wielded his swim noodle sword, I imagined that this would be his new activity to go along with yo-yoing. It will be great for his coordination and confidence and would be excellent preparation for his inevitable future as an actor or a clown. Maybe the start of an Olympic career. Plus, some of the teachers were pretty cute in their uniforms.
“Ted, do you want to take lessons to learn how to fence?!!!”
But Ted loved the event and added another bunny to his stuffy collection, courtesy of The Toy Box. I got to hang out with friends and watch Ted take over as leader of the bounce house, shouting orders to the other kids (and yes, they followed—he’s a born leader).
In the end, it was pretty clear that “meltdown” refers to all of the valley’s germs melting off of the rugrats and onto others. By Monday morning, Ted and I both had colds.
Next JFK cafeteria event: The Spelling Bee, or: Do I Know How to Spell Zeitgeber?