Reid and I went to Westfest – a street festival in the Westboro neighbourhood of Ottawa – on Saturday afternoon with M, Reid’s best friend from school. M was feeling shy and, by the time I parked the car, was complaining of a sore tummy. Fortified with water and distracted by Reid’s chatter about all of the amazing activities that awaited us, M walked along with us. I stopped the girls to get a pic of each of them, just in case we go separated. Reid was quite vividly dressed in a multi-coloured striped scooter worn under a t-shirt dress that was red, orange and yellow and topped with a flower-print sleeveless top. Guess who chose that outfit? M was less flamboyantly attired but I thought if I lost one of them, my memory and communication skills might be impaired by stress.
I was worried that we might have to go back home when M refused the first bouncy castle but she slowly came to the conclusion that there was fun to be had. The girls got balloons from the optometrist, though not eyeball balloons unfortunately, and lollipops from Mrs Tiggywinkle’s as we wandered down the street. We followed some Chinese drummers who accompanied three dragon dancers. M and Reid were entranced and moved more quickly in pursuit of these performers than at any other time during the day. We went to two other bouncy castles and Reid tried to climb a portable rock wall. She barely made the weight minimum for climbing the wall and wasn’t quite tall enough to reach the hand and foot holds. I helped her as high as I could reach and then, when she was high enough to tell me that she was scared, helped her back down. Reid was rightfully proud of herself. At some point early in our adventure, M lost her balloon and we spent a long time looking for another. Finally, we retraced our steps only to find that the optometrists had closed up their balloon operation, as had the other couple places we’d seen giving them out. Fortunately, Reid spotted the Bicycles for the World booth, which still had balloons and helium. I’d already broached the idea that Reid would have to give up her balloon since M was our guest and she hadn’t liked the idea much. She had extra motivation, I guess.
We dragged ourselves back to the car three hours after we left it. I was ever-so-glad that I’d remembered our Kleen Canteen of water. The day was hot enough that having a Camel Back on my back would have been welcome. I was proud not to have lost either girl and kept them from sunstroke and dehydration. Since it was the first time I’ve hosted a playdate, it seemed important to avoid such outcomes. Next time, I think I’ll put stickers in the kids shirts with my name and cell phone number on them. Or maybe those rubber bracelets that were all the rage a couple of years ago. Any opinions on what would be better?