From Lumbering Whale to Giggling Child

July 4th, 2009

Hot. Sticky.

We wanted to enjoy the day with our almost two and half year old.

When we were a family of 3 1/2...

It was 105 degrees outside – one of the 66 “Days Over 100 Degrees” my third trimester experienced.

Activities abounded. Carnivals. Professional fireworks.

Nothing I dared do – the risk of overheating a guaranteed certainty.

My husband and I chatted. Weighed options. Finally came to a decision.

We’d stay home and buy our own fireworks to set off.

The day passed indoors, luxuriating in the hard working air conditioning.

The temperature read 104 as we braved the scalding sun and set up for an evening of fun.

Each of us donned our swim suits – the early evening heat far too intense to brave without the cool water upon our skin. I walked to our sprinkler system, turning the front yard portion to “on”.

We ate our weight in watermelon in between sprinkler runs.

Giggles of delight as my son explored the spray: jumping, running, or standing still.

I chased along beside him, no longer the lumbering 7 month pregnant whale, but a child again. I laughed with him. I danced in the spray.

Until some fire ants found my foot. No warning mound as they hitchhiked a ride, before coordinating their simultaneous attack*.

Fearing my son would also stumble upon their hidden location, we ended the sprinkler fun.

No towels needed, just some vinegar for my wounds and mosquito repellent sprayed all around as we moved to Phase II: fireworks.

My son hated anything loud. He disliked the sparklers (which he’d loved the year before). He cowered from jumping jacks. He tried to hide inside from firecrackers (we didn’t have any, but the older neighborhood kids loved them).

Roman candles delighted him– the ideal blend of pretty, but quiet. They were the only item purchased he truly enjoyed from his front row seat. Pack after pack shot from CG’s hands as my son pointed, clapped, and yelled “fireworks go up and go boom!” (the “boom” in this sentence referred to the explosive part, not the sound)

He loved Roman candles. And only the Roman candles. This was still true the following year.

Time for “the big” ones. My son retreated to the guest bedroom overlooking the driveway with Grandma G. From the safety behind the thick window panes, he watched the colorful explosions. He cheered.  He jumped on the bed like a monkey.

I sat outside, a child again, admiring the explosions of color. All along the street, groups of neighbors and their friends set off every firework imaginable.

I took it all in, until the hour chimed “bedtime” and we had to put our son to bed.

I waddled inside, still wet in my bathing suit, the damp material my air conditioning for the three hours spent outside. As I stepped into the chilly house, I looked at the temperature: 101.

Nothing quite like the hottest Texas summer on record during your third trimester.

I refused to let it steal memory making opportunities.

This memory cropped up last night as I tweeted about the record heat we’re supposed to have today: 98 degrees and we’re only in mid-April. I fear a repetition of 2009, complete with severe drought and watering restrictions. My friend Sara tweeted back “Time to break out the hose and sprinkler and run through it!” referring to the odd way I entertained myself as a child. Remembering this memory from two years ago reminded me my inner child still loves to come out and play, even if when I resemble a land walking whale.

*For those living north, “fire ants” are named because their bite flames like a fire. They swarm you, barely a tickle, until they send out a signal and bite you as one. It burns for about ten minutes, and itches for days, leaving tiny white welts behind. Typically you see their ant mounds and avoid them. For five years I succeeded, before a trail hiding under a layer of leaves found me at a public pool. Since then, I have been bitten three times – all of them while I was pregnant with my daughter and my view of my feet was compromised.
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About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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8 Responses to From Lumbering Whale to Giggling Child

  1. Ironic Mom says:

    Ugh. Fire ants. I’ve experienced them in Thailand. Not fun.

    I love how kids can reignite our childlike selves. You describe this well. And your experience being hot and pregnant in Texas reminds me of my experience being hot and pregnant in Bangkok. Outside, I lived in my bathing suit (beside the apartment pool); inside, I lived in the thinnest robe.

    Sending you some cool, Canadian air!

    • Your Canadian air must have taken a detour. It’s even hotter. Trying to send some your way.

      Fire ants are nasty, and not something I was accustomed to. Thirty years, kids were still able to play without fear of them, before they firmly set up residence after hitch hiking a ride from somewhere.

      I also lived in my suit, mostly at the gym’s pool. Mostly I hid in air conditioning wearing my favorite light weight PJ bottoms that breathed better than shorts.

  2. Great memories and you were such a cute pregnant lady! Hardly the whale you reference. I really hope that the weather breaks and you don’t have a summer instead of a spring!

    • Alas, I think this was the last pregnant shot that saw the light of day. Shortly thereafter the “water retention” from the heat and 3rd trimester kicked in and my body was even more bloated and swollen.

      Summer is here. Period. The question merely remains if it will be insanely hot and drought ridden, insanely hot with bouts of rain, or only very hot.

      That’s south Texas for you.

  3. Catherine says:

    I am not looking forward to this summer! There will be many days spent inside with the air conditioning going full blast.

  4. I’ve heard of fire ants, but I didn’t know about their biting strategy. Ouch!

    Love the pics of the Tackler!

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