The carnival is in town.
It's a little carnival, put on by a church nearby. It's there every year, but this year my kids said they wanted to go. I knew they wouldn't like it - they just don't tend to like rickety rides, bright flashing lights, loud music, and games of chance in which the prizes are nearly impossible to win, and comprised of items they wouldn't want even if they did win. But they wanted to check it out.
I thought about sending them on their own. We live in a pretty quiet suburban area; the carnival is just over a mile away. But there were two problems with this idea. First, even though they are capable of the walk and most likely safe, a good part of the walk is along a busy road that is mostly commercial establishments closed at night; it's not very well lit. There's also a slightly-scary area by the train station they'd have to pass through. I wasn't afraid for their safety, really, but I knew they would feel uncomfortable walking along there in the dark.
The bigger problem, though, was that I knew my boy would run into friends from Boy Scouts and want to ditch his little sister. It's nothing personal, but he's just at that age, you know? There are places he doesn't want to be encumbered.
So the three of us walked over there together.
As we got closer to the carnival and saw packs of kids traveling together, the boy started walking ever so much more ahead of his sister and me. Almost immediately he saw a Scout friend; he gave me a look with raised eyebrows; I nodded; he was off.
It took my girl about 5 minutes of walking around to decide she was done. Ready to go home. Uh huh.
So now what?
We slowly looked at the food offerings to see if there was anything she wanted for dessert. Then we headed over to a park and sat on a bench. She pondered the sweets a little longer and decided on a snow cone. She had wanted cotton candy, but it was the pre-made kind in bags and some of it looked kind of icky, as if it had gotten wet in spots and started dissolving. So we walked back through, got the cone, and then back to our bench.
Shortly after that, the boy called (we were fully covered with cell phones) and said he was ready to "cut and run." His friend had had to leave; he'd seen some other boys he knew there but no one he really felt like hanging out with. (He's not very good at hanging out yet.) We were probably there for a half hour; my girl said it felt like 5 hours. She is prone to drama, that one.
We called home and alerted the seminarian that we were on the way; he leashed the dog and started walking to meet us. The highlight of the evening was the dog's excitement at running into us on the street. We had a nice family walk the rest of the way home.
I think everyone is glad we went, but I suspect that if we are still living here next year, no one will ask to go to the carnival.