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Growing Up At The State Fair

We took our yearly trek to our state fair yesterday, willingly taking an Unexcused Absence at the girls’ school so that we could see large statues carved of butter and marvel at Cool Ranch Dorito Fried Pizza (no, I didn’t try it). And though it rained off and on the whole day, we had a fine time, crawling in and out of fancy new cars at the auto show and sampling local foods in the Food Pavilion.

We’ve been going to the fair every year since we moved here five years ago, and we’ve watched the girls grow up each time. When we first started coming, both girls still napped in the afternoon and we’d time our trip to end right at nap time; I’d bring nap blankets and loveys and tuck the girls in nice and tight and they’d sleep happily on the drive home.

Also in years past, we’d bring our big red wagon for pulling around diaper bags and babies. It was a happy year indeed when we first left the diaper bag (and attendant jars of baby food) at home, and an even bigger one when Cora had the stamina to walk everywhere herself. No more lugging that red wagon up dozens of stairs.

So I’m used to seeing milestones each year, but this year we had three big ones, and I just gotta share.

First off, the girls discovered Big Kid rides. Yes, our tame bunch has stuck to the little motorcycles that go round and round, or the Flying Dumbo that airlifts gently up and down. But this year the girls ventured further afield, trying first a ride that had them LIE DOWN ON THEIR BELLIES and fly QUICKLY through the air with RAPID CHANGES OF ALTITUDE. We held our breaths, but both girls came off screaming “That was AWESOME!”

And a new love was born.

They hit the log ride (yes, in the rain); Cora insisted on trying a roller coaster (a shorter one, but still, she did it all by herself!); and in a final act of derring-do, the girls went with Daddy on the Texas Star – the largest ferris wheel in the US, rising over 200 feet up.

Six Flags, we’ve got our eye on you.

Second, I observed a new level of maturity in Maddie. She didn’t whine for treats ALL the time, and she stopped herself when she was full from cotton candy. But the topper came when both girls went to ride the grown-up swings – those metal swings suspended from loooong chains that fly around on a merry-go-round-type machine. Cora was told regretfully that she was an inch too short to ride and she walked sadly back down the ramp. We turned to Maddie, who already had her tickets in her hand. “Don’t you want to ride it, Maddie? You’re tall enough.” She looked at us, shocked. “No – I don’t want to ride them if Sissy can’t!” And she skipped happily down the ramp and grabbed Cora’s hand protectively, walking away without a backward glance.

That’s my girl.

And lastly, we had one more Growing Up milestone happen here. And some of you out there might scoff at this, but most of you will totally get it.

We had several bathroom stops throughout the day, as usual, and every single time? There was only ONE person in each stall.

Count ‘em, people. ONE.

Cora was confident enough of her ability to reach the toilet paper, and Maddie was brave enough to face the electric eyes, all by herself.

Mom got to pee in SOLITUDE. All. Day. Long.

Oh the times, they are a’changin.


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