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Who's the Little Kid Here?

By jeannesager |

playingwashboardLet me just say I love summer festivals. But I can’t stand the people who man booths at said summer festivals.

They need to get a grip on BOUNDARIES.

I took my daughter to a local “pet and animal” festival over the weekend along with one of my best friends and her son. Feeding ponies, petting goats and picking up bunnies was all well and good. Until they met the guy with the fire dog, who clipped two leashes to the dog’s collar and let the kids take the Dalmation for a walk. Sounds like a dream come true for two kids, right? Wait, there’s more.

The man proceeded to tell my friend and I that he “hated kids and dogs.” It should have been a sign, but our kids were in heaven. So we stood there, watching carefully to make sure the dog didn’t pull the two pre-schoolers into the road, while the man set up for his “musical presentation.” A presentation that we soon realized, was slated to include our kids.

Um, OK? Again, we were stuck weighing out – do we disappoint our kids who are extra eager to take a spoon and a washboard and play “back up” or let them stay? Yes, we were letting the kids rule the day, but that was the point of the trip. We weren’t checking out a pets and animal festival for our health.

But when we were done, we were done. A few songs under their belt, we had the kids convinced we should move on to the next event. But the man with the band had other ideas. “Just one more song?” he asked.

“OK, just one more song.” So they sang the “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and we watched. OK. Done. “No, just one more song?” the man asked. This time he didn’t wait for us to relent. He started singing, and the kids joined in. We were moving in by the time he’d finished, when he gave my friend’s son the microphone, handing it direclty the four-year-old like he had the power to make the decisions here. “Want to sing the five little monkeys song?” What four-year-old was going to say no to that?”

While I grabbed my now shrieking daughter, the man argued, “Oh, Mom, just let her stay for one more song.”

If my daughter wasn’t there, I’d have snapped in his face. But if my daughter wasn’t there,  I wouldn’t have ended up being held hostage to a festival crazy either. Because they love to prey on families, knowing we parents don’t want to disappoint our kids. They say everything IN FRONT of our kids, making sure that we look like the heavies when we say no, and they offer up intoxicating fun with which we just can’t compete.

Summer’s just beginning, and can I say we’re in for a long one?

Image: SagerScenes

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About jeannesager



Jeanne Sager is a freelance writer and photographer living in upstate New York with her husband and daughter, Jillian. She maintains a blog of her award-winning columns at

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0 thoughts on “Who's the Little Kid Here?

  1. [...] I feel for them. My day job is near an ice cream stand, and when they open up for the summer, I can hear the soft serve machine calling my name. And I grew up in the “just say no” era. Driving by with my daughter, you’d think we were passing McDonald’s (can we stop, Mommy, please, please?). Fortunately, I can take another route when we leave her nursery school, and she’s rarely the wiser. To have it outside would drive us bananas. [...]

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