Welcome to my Weblog!
Welcome to 1 Mother 2 Another! To read my most recent weblog entries, scroll down. To read entries from one category, click the links at right. To read my journey from the beginning, click here. To find out more about me, click here.
Top 5s
Short on time? Click here to go to my Top 5s Page - links to my top five recommendations in every category from Breastfeeding Sites to Urban Living Solutions.

Girls Go To The Fair

It’s State Fair time here in Texas,
and for those of you who don’t live here, it’s quite a
big deal. The Texas state fair is the biggest in the country, and
kids in town are given a free ticket and a day off of school to go.
Many companies hand out tickets to employees – everyone gets
in the spirit. Brian and I grew up going, and we were eager to go
again and introduce our girls to the coolness that is the state
fair. We picked a date, Brian took a vacation day, and last week,
off we went.

We’d been talking it up to Maddie for a long time, and so by
Fair Day she was at fever pitch. One of the famous things about the
fair is the statue of Big Tex; it’s a really large (think
stories tall, not feet) Texan dressed in a cowboy shirt and boots,
standing there greeting fairgoers at the main entrance. Every few
minutes Tex speaks, waving his hand at everyone. Maddie was
particularly keen to meet Big Tex, and on the morning of the fair
she picked a specific hair ribbon “so Big Tex will see

When we arrived we parked at an easier
side entrance, which meant our first stop had to be Big Tex up at
the front. Brian and I raced down the midway, still closed for the
morning, as the girls rode along in the red wagon, slack-jawed at
all the glitter and gaudy wonders. Promising Maddie we’d
return when the rides opened up, we scrambled to find the big guy,
and as we circled around to his front, he began to speak.

“Howdy, folks! This a-here’s Big Tex, and I’m
here to welcome y’all to the great state fair of
Texas!” Maddie stared, mesmerized, throughout the whole
speech, and when his hand waved a smile broke across her face and
she waved back. “Mommy! Big Tex waved at me!” she
grinned shyly. “I think he noticed my headband.”

We hit all the wonders of the fair, and the girls seemed to love
every minute of it. We worked our way through the Food Pavilion,
where vendors of everything Texan –from beef and honey and
salsa to Christmas trees and cotton – were offering samples
for tasting. The Texas dairy coalition handed out free vanilla ice
cream cones all day long, and Maddie had her first ever
before-lunch ice cream cone. We sampled Texas honey drizzled over
Texas pecans and talked to local organic co-ops. Maddie eyed the
Texas fudge speculatively, and Cora squealed with delight when she
got to meet Elsie, the Borden Milk cow. Yes, Borden had Elsie and
her baby calf there for kids to pet.

From there we headed over to the Livestock arena, where a
children’s petting zoo was set up. We’d been to petting
zoos before, but this was like no other: they had baby giraffes,
zebras, camels, and bison. Cora stood mesmerized in front of the
baby giraffe for several minutes – they are a favorite of
hers. And Maddie breathed an “oh” of delight when she
got to pet her first zebra. How cool is that??

Our next stop was the Coliseum, where they’d brought in
several tons of sand for an amazing exhibit. The King Tut
collection is in town as part of the fair, and an artist had carved
several famous Egyptian sites – the Sphinx, the pyramids, and
so on – out of sand. Maddie begged to be allowed in to touch,
and I gently steered her towards the kiddie section: a thousand
square feet of sand dumped on the floor for kids to play in,
complete with buckets and shovels. After a lot of wagon riding,
Cora and Maddie had a much-needed play break there, happily getting
covered in sand.

We had several stops for snacks and meals throughout the day, and
many foods were a first for Maddie. Brian got one of his beloved
corny dogs, for example, which Maddie had never had. She deigned to
eat a bite, but was content to go back to her cheeseburger after
that. One of the food exhibits was giving away free root beer
floats, and so Maddie had her first taste of a soft drink. The
verdict? Too “spicy” – Maddie ate all the ice
cream out but asked to throw away the root beer. And since this
state fair is known for its adventures in fried food, we had fried
s’mores, which Brian and I thought rocked but which Maddie
gave a take-it-or-leave-it ruling on. Finally, Maddie had the one
treat she’d been begging for since she’d heard about
the fair. And honestly, I don’t know where she learned about
this treat, or how she linked it in her mind to the fair, but
towards the end of the day we gave her – cotton candy. And
here again, she wasn’t sure she liked it. I think it was a
texture thing, but it definitely didn’t live up to her

Throughout all this, of course, Cora was staring longingly at all
the treats going into everyone else’s mouths; our rule is no
processed sugar before age two, so pretty much every time Maddie
took a bite of something scrumptious she said first, “You
can’t have this, Cora. You’re too young,” before
dropping an ooey, gooey piece of s’more in her mouth. Cora
took all of this pretty well, especially since I’d brought
dried strawberries along – one of her favorite snacks –
and she munched on those much of the morning.

We’d sampled the foods of Texas, seen the livestock, and
oohed and aahed over some pretty cool stuff. But no trip to the
fair would be complete without a stop at the midway, so we headed
over to its main attraction – the giant ferris wheel.

Maddie’d spent weeks chatting up the ferris wheel, even as we
cautioned her that it is REALLY big. “But I rode the ferris
wheel in New York, and wasn’t scared at all!”
she’d say, referencing the one in the Toys R Us in Times
Square, which is all of three stories tall. I tried explaining that
once she got on there’d be no getting off until it’d
gone round one complete time, but there was no dissuading the girl.
So we pulled our red wagon riiiiiiiiiiight up under the ferris
wheel and told her to look up.

“See that, baby girl? That’s how high the ferris wheel
is. Now, if you still want to go, we can absolutely do that, but if
you think it might be a bit much, we can save it for another year
and go hit some rides for kids your age.”

Maddie craned her neck, looked waaaaaaaaaaay up at the top, and
said slowly, “I think . . . I’ll save this . . . for
when I’m fifteen or twenty. I think I might be a bit scared
at this moment.”

That decided, we meandered through the kid midway, seeking the
perfect ride for this novice. Though she’d talked up bumper
cars on the way over, one look at them – even the
“easy” ones for little kids – changed her mind
and she backed out. Finally, Maddie settled on a car ride that
simply went around and around with a little up and down motion.
First nervous and not-too-sure-about-this, as soon as she realized
it wasn’t going to go crazy Maddie got into the ride and had
a blast, laughing and waving at us. One short ride later, and it
was time to go; both girls were drooping, though both were holding
up like champs. Maddie accepted the verdict with good grace, and
Cora tried to stay awake until we got into the car.

That night and over the next few days, Maddie rehashed the fair
visit with family and friends. I loved hearing her
“highlights reel” and seeing what things stuck with
her; every single re-telling included a “Big Tex waved at
me!” and a story about the midway ride, and most mentioned
the free ice cream cone as well. For Cora, I think the trip was all
about the baby giraffe, the time in the sand, and our lunch eaten
on the lagoon watching the swans swim by. Of course, she
didn’t do any rides or sugary treats, but I’m still
amazed at how differently the two girls experience the same thing.

So the verdict on the fair? Unqualified success. Maddie’s
already looking forward to next year’s visit, and I think
Cora will loved it even more when she’s old enough to partake
of the “big kid” experiences.

As for me and Brian, we were happy to show our girls a place
we’d had so many wonderful childhood memories. Going as
parents is a whole different thing, of course – the term
“pack mule” comes to mind, since one parent’s
pulling the wagon while the other’s wearing the twenty-pound
diaper bag. And of course there’s the constant fear
you’ll lose a child if you look away for a second. But by and
large we had a fantastic time, and hopefully opened the
girls’ eyes to some of the unique fun here in Texas.

I think Maddie summed it up best for us, on the way home. She said,
“New York is great, but New York doesn’t have Big Tex.
New York doesn’t even have,” she continued sadly,
“ a Little Tex.”

Sorry, New York. You’re missing out. The Naked Cowboy in
Times Square definitely doesn’t count.


Post a Comment

House Rules

Here are the rules for posting comments on 1mother2another.com. Posting a comment that violates these rules will result in the comment’s deletion, and you’ll probably be banned from commenting in the future.

1) Register first. If you would like to post a comment, you must create an account with us. Check out the home page to do so.

2) Constructive comments only. If you cannot maintain a respectful tone in your posting, even in disagreement, your comment will be deleted. We’re all trying to find our way in this thing and are struggling to be the best moms we can. If you disagree with something I say, feel free to politely email me. If you disagree with another reader’s posting, you’re welcome to kindly post in reply. Vitriolic diatribes will be deleted. This site is about encouraging and supporting, not tearing down and chastising.

3) Questions welcomed. If an entry raises a question, you’re welcome to email me directly or post it. Keep in mind that postings will result in public replies by strangers and not just me.

4) Don’t steal. All original writings contained within this website are under copyright protection. If you link to us, please credit us as your source and provide a link back to our website. If you're interested in using an excerpt in published material, please contact us.

5) Share your photos! We'd love to have photos from our registered readers to show on our home page under "Maddie's friends". Email us a jpeg of your little one's best photo to photos@1mother2another.com. Please, no photos from professional photographers which fall under copyright protection.