Friday, February 13, 2009

Wish I'd Had A Camera When ...

>Thing 2 sat in a bumper car last Sunday, for the first time, in the kiddie bumper car section at the Santa Monica Pier, and like several of her classmates riding in bumper cars for the first time, had no idea what to do. For the first few minutes, anyway. Her classmates were the same way. For a few moments that seemed suspended in time, in a sort of slow-motion slapstick, they sat behind the wheels of their cars, hemmed in and a bit confused. Then it dawned on them that they could turn the wheel and push the pedal. This level of autonomy in a moving vehicle was clearly intoxicating. Soon one kid had broken free of the pack, then another. But Thing 1 somehow managed to move only one way: in circles. Late Blooming Mom and Dad were in stitches. Thing 1 was simply delighted, and continued her circular ways for some time, not at all bothered. Eventually she broke free of the pattern, after receiving a few bumps. Then she was like a teenage driver unleashed on the freeway for the first time. Okay, not exactly. But she did land her share of bumps. And when it was all over, she was eager to try it again.

>Thing 1 insisted on playing an arcade game -- his first. It was an arcade game where you pull the trigger on a hose and try to shoot the water into a target, to make a plastic unicorn hit the top level before anyone else's, and thus win a stuffed leopard. Late Blooming Mom and Dad made up the other two players; three are required to play, and since he was the third player, odds were, someone in our family was going home with a prize. The buzzer sounded. He could not get the hang of the trigger. He had no aim or power. He did not even seem to get that Late Blooming Mom's unicorn got to the top first, not his. All he knew was that he had been awarded the prize -- which he promptly dubbed Cheetah Leopard -- and hugged it to his side, declaring he would sleep with it that night.

>Thing 2 rode the airplane ride and realized she could make the airplane go up or down as it traveled around in a circle in the air. She'd never ridden such a ride without an adult strapped in beside her. On her own, with a toggle switch that temporarily controlled her destiny, she was exhilarated. The wind whipped her hair away from her face as she keep coming around and around, a giddy smile pastered on her face. This from the kid who'd been petrified of these same rides not too long ago, on previous visits to the amusement pier.

>Thing 1 gazed in rapture as his classmate's NASCAR-themed birthday sheet cake was unveiled from the box. The cake had toy cars on it -- not one, not two, but three. Since Thing 1 had gotten to keep the toy car on his own CARS (the Movie) -themed birthday cake a month prior, he naturally assumed one of the decorative cars was coming home with him. When Late Blooming Mom explained the cars were for the birthday boy, disappointment registered on his face. But later, when the favors were handed out, he managed to procure not just his own, but his sister's, party favor car. He had no more interest in the kiddie rides all around him, but could've spent the rest of the afternoon running those cars back and forth along a convenient bench, thoroughly absorbed in the new cars as only a small boy can be.

I didn't have the camera at the amusement pier last Sunday. But at least I've now got these snapshots-in-words to remember.

1 comment:

William V. Madison said...

I wonder whether Thing 1's fascination with cars will endure long enough for him to learn how to drive. If so... I may stay indoors for a little while. Just to make sure he's got the hang of it.