Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Ruler scientifically accurate to
within one ice-cream cone
On the way home from getting Kitty at the airport a couple of weeks ago, Finn pointed out a ferris wheel off in the distance that could only mean a street fair.  This was good timing, since with his four-year check-up, he had finally cracked the magical 42" needed for carnival rides.  In fact, here was his daycare quote on the day of his check-up:

"I'm going to the doctors and they are going to measure me. There is only one doctor man*. He's measuring me for the ferris wheel I think. I think ...like tall like my dad to get on the ferris wheel. I don't think I'm that big but someday I will be."
I'm sure he had Seattle's new waterfront ferris wheel in mind, but that doesn't open for another couple of weeks, so in the meantime, the world renowned Burien, WA Strawberry Festival and Breakdancing Expo ferris wheel would have to do.  Plus there was breakdancing, which is always an awesome way to round out the weekend.  In 1984.

When we got there, it turned out that there was WAY more than just some strawberries, dudes in pleather jackets popping and locking on pieces of cardboard, and a ferris wheel:  there were real rides, that a 42" kid could ride!  Even more amazing:  Finn wanted to ride them!

Now it's important to note that Finn has continued to elevate the art of helplessness to epic levels, still requesting assistance in putting on shoes, pants, and coats daily.  In fact, he's coined entire new genres of helplessness, like "helpful helplessness", where he'll offer to help you, and then immediately ask you to help him helping you.

Given that he had spent the first part of the day shyly avoiding the 'Bubbleman' and the firefighters that were hanging out by the big hook and ladder truck, we had exactly zero expectations that he would want to go on the big kid rides.  He surprised both Kitty and me by immediately zeroing in on the Octopus ride (this thing) and informing us that he wanted to take it for a spin.

Um, which part do we sit on?
The first carnie, clearly low man on the carnie totem pole, was unsure about his eligibility, given that he was almost exactly the minimum height for the ride.  He called over the Chief Carnie, who put his hands out to measure Finn's head, instructing him to stand up as tall as he could.  With that extra effort, he passed the line and we were ushered on.  I'm pretty sure that I'm the only one that noticed that Finn was fully on his tip-toes.  Oh well, what could go wrong if he's maybe not exactly tall enough?  Those are just "guidelines", right?

Here we are trying to get on the ride.  The first thing that went wrong was we both tried to sit on the bottom part.  Which is where you put your feet.  It was really uncomfortable.  As was the fact that everyone watching - particularly Kitty - was laughing at us.  Once we got past that little hurdle, the Chief Carnie informed me that there was a "bit of a bump" at the top of the ride, so it would be best if I kept an eye on Finn, after which he closed the "safety bar" - which was still roughly 3 feet above Finn's lap.

I promptly put all of my weight on my right hand and crushed Finn into the seat.

The loading part was fun, as we slowly spun around and upward, as each car got its share of kids.  We joked and laughed, pointing at all of the little people down in the garbage-covered parking lot and having a great time.

Then the ride started.  Even with all of my weight on him, it was tough to keep Finn in the seat.  Luckily the 7 G's of force helped.  Perhaps we underestimated this ride.  It took about two spins before Finn very quietly requested that we stop the ride so we could get off.

I helpfully suggested that "there's no turning back now, so let's enjoy it!"  He pondered that quietly, periodically again requesting that we turn the ride off.  After a few spins, the ride did stop and Finn cautiously started laughing again, but that was apparently only to allow two (weaker) children off.   In a minute, it started up, and I was once again helpfully offering that "there's no way out but through it!" to my terrified son while laughing wildly in his face.

Somehow, he survived and even laughed with me as the ride finally slowed down for real.  As we got off, the Chief Carnie asked how it was and Finn replied without missing a beat:  "Awesome."

As we were walking away, Kitty asked him if he wanted to ride again, and just as quickly he responded:


I'm sure he'll be a bigger fan of the ferris wheel.


* Incidentally, Finn's doctor is a woman.  He may be getting taller, but he's still got some serious gender confusion issues apparently.

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