Monday, July 30, 2007

Sundays With The Boy: The Circus

As our family has grown, The Boy has gotten less and less one-on-one time with his mama. I'm trying to correct that -- after all, The Boy is my original partner in adventure -- and so The Dad and I have decided to spend our Sunday afternoons in the company of the child with whom we spend the least amount of time. He hangs out with The Girl in daddy-daughter bonding time and I take The Boy on adventures, just the two of us. Yesterday was my third such adventure in the Sundays With The Boy series. We went to the circus.

The Baby came along for the ride. It was The Boy's first time at the circus and he had no idea what to expect. Neither, quite frankly, did I, as I haven't been to a circus since I was about 10 and it was always Ringling Bros. or Barnum & Bailey. I don't know if it's age (mine) or the direction that the medium is going, but the circus seems to have lost its vaudevillian aura. With all the crap on the Internet these days, the bearded woman and a man riding a motorcycle across a wire don't seem that strange or mysterious anymore.

Again, perhaps it is also related to becoming an adult, but the threat of running way to join the circus doesn't seem so scary or stigmatized any more. Although the Carson & Barnes circus was run out out of Oklahoma, most of the non-clown performers were Hispanic or Latino.

Yesterday's show was put on by the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley. I would like to say that Rotarians, as a whole, are among the nicest people I've ever met. They sent me to Europe as an exchange student in the early 1990s and I have a big soft spot in me for Rotary-sponsored events. So I only grumbled a bit when they charged me $5 to park in the Niles West High School lot. But then I bought my tickets at the Rotary booth and paid only $12 for an adult ticket and $6 for a child's ticket (The Baby was free), saving me $6 over the published, at-the-door rates.

We got there a full 30 minutes before the 1:30 p.m. start time, but The Boy and I found it easy to kill time while waiting for the show to start. It also gave him a chance to warm up to the clowns, who were walking around the grounds and the tent doing small performances (juggling) and posing for pictures. We stayed for the first half of the show, but left during the intermission. I don't know whether The Boy wanted to leave because he was bored, overwhelmed, or because I had run out of money to buy more snacks (popcorn $3, snow-cone $2.50, hot dog $2, pickle $1 - we didn't get the cotton candy $3 or peanuts $1.50)! I also bought him a light wand for $5 after the souvenirs seller handed it to The Boy, forcing me to pony up the cash or have a tearful 4-year-old on my hands. He thought the acrobats were pretty cool, and laughed at the clown trying to make a tightrope out of a small length of rope and two stepstools that kept collapsing. My favorite part was one gymnast supporting himself and another gymnast, both completely horizontal and supported only by one set of feet.

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