the big e




The Big E – Eastern States Exposition

Sept 26, 2009

A ship in harbor is safe – but that is not what ships are for.  ~John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic




Look ma, no hands!




I would get that one!




Seriously? This is the ONLY way down?




Well then, here we come!




You would hold my ears.




Mama, please let me take Brooke by myself. I PROMISE we’ll be OK.




How to cover one’s ears while holding on – motor planning in motion.




We would be pirates! (I don’t know what about this actually made them pirates. I’m just here to report the facts.)


By the time we went home, I could honestly say that my girls had taken on every ride at that damn fair. “I would go on THIS one,” Brooke would say as we approached yet another spinning, whirring, twirling extravaganza. She wasn’t even looking to see what they were all about. She didn’t care. She just wanted to try them.

When we came upon one in particular, Katie was particularly enthusiastic.

“Mama! Mama!” yelled Katie. “Can we pleeeeeease go on that one?”

I looked down at Brooke, her hands clamped tightly over her ears. “Oh, Katie,” I said, “of all the rides in this place, the haunted mansion ride? Honey, let’s skip this one, OK? This will be awful for Brooke.”

As we got closer, the eerie noises became unbearably loud – shrill, high-pitched, truly awful attempts to be spooky. Brooke dug the heels of her hands into the sides of her head. And then shocked the hell out of her mother.

“We would go on THIS one,” she said, staring right at the haunted house.

“Oh, honey, we don’t have to go on that one,” I said, shouting to be heard over the noise and through her hands. “There are plenty of other rides we can go on, baby.”

By way of response, she pulled me toward the metal staircase, using a shoulder to protect the one ear that was left uncovered. I asked her if she was sure she wanted to go on the ride. I told her again that we didn’t have to. I reminded her that there were tons of other rides to go check out. Ones that wouldn’t have all this noise. With her ears covered, I imagine that she had no idea that she was yelling back when she shouted, “I WOULD GO ON THIS ONE.”

And so we did.



Things are not always easy for my littlest girl, but I’ll be dammed if that’s going to stop her.

Truth be told, I’m pretty convinced that nothing ever will.

Yep, it was quite a day at the fair.


25 thoughts on “the big e

  1. I cannot help but think of how distressed she was when we visited Rye Playland years ago? Do you remember that? You scaled the fence to save your baby girl in 2 second flat. Now you just have to be fast enough to capture her joy by camera. 🙂

  2. You look completely thrilled to be on that slide. Hee. Your expresion cracks me up.

    It’s so nice to see her out there, mixing it up, finding ways of managing the input. She is a toughie deluxe. And the development is nice to watch unfold here…she’s constantly doing more, more…growing at her own pace. Soon: she conquers the world. Her pirate ethos will allow such a move. Argh.

  3. Awesome!! Sounds like a great day!

    (I’ve been known to do that shoulder thing when my hands are full and the amulance/fire truck/police car comes streaming by…effective!)

  4. LMAO. Lesson number whatever-the-heck-we’re-up-to: NEVER underestimate our children!

    So, how did she handle it? Something tells me that she and Nik would have a blast together giving us heart palpitations and gray hairs from worry as they merrily saunter off on adventure after hair-raising adventure.

    Oh, and it’s the boots and Katie’s striped shirt that *clearly* make them pirates! 😉

  5. Amazing. And she does the same thing Nigel does when he can’t cover his ears with his hands – shrugs his shoulder up as far as it can go and bends his head down to get his ear as close as possible to his shoulder. Yay Brooke! Nothing will stop our kids!

  6. Yeah, Brooke!! And yeah Jess, because “you would” let her ride the scary ride. Because “you would” let her use the tools that she’s acquired. And because “you would” have the opportunity to see her thrive in what could’ve been a very overwhelming environment. A big thumbs up to you both.

    BTW…love the boots on the girls and really love the expression on your face in that one picture…I can relate:)

  7. ok, so we followed the path out of the funhouse and onto the landing in front of the slide. i had no idea that a) it was the only way down or b) that it was that darn steep until Brooke (who was walking through in front of me) yelled ‘mama, you would hold me!’ so i scooted up and straddled her, looked down and well, there was luau with the camera. gee, thanks, hon 🙂

  8. Oh, I have SO had the same thought and expression caught at the top of a particularly steep slide! I’ve squeezed my adult bottom down many a loop-de-loop clearly meant for littler ones.

    Brooke is so ready to take on the world! Her courage and will to do MORE and more is astounding. LOVE these stories. Keep ’em coming.

  9. m – if there’s one thing i’ve learned from aba it’s not to reinforce or praise behavior that i don’t want to encourage. help me out here, would ya? LOL

  10. My husband and I have created a thrill seeking monster. When he wears his headphones he is transformed into a typical little boy who wants to ride the roller coaster and the swings “all by myself!”. Like Cindy said, “It’s amazing what they will do when we let them, isn’t it??” 🙂 🙂

  11. And P.S. you are one courageous mama to take Brooke there in the first place. Courage is not a lack of fear. It is feeling fear and moving forward anyway. And you have truckloads, my friend. I stopped to think about it a minute: would it enter my head to say, “Hmmm… going to a fair with Jack. Let’s do it.” Nope. Not yet at least. We’ll let those beautiful girls do it first and catch up with you later. And their mama? Courage personified.

  12. Pingback: finding charlie « a diary of a mom

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