Sonoma has a seriously cute Independence Day parade. It doesn't include nudity or transvestite nuns of the more citified area celebrations, but it has all the classics: Good marching bands to clap along with, horses to wow the little girls, floats filled with candy-throwing officials, and a roller-skating grandma dressed up like the Statue of Liberty. Best of all, the Sonoma parade has water fights. Each year the locals come to the town square armed and ready for the appearance of fire trucks. Firefighters spray the crowds with their pumper truck hoses. Spectators return fire with waves of water balloons that the fire fighters fend off with garbage-can lid shields. It's hilarious to watch from a distance, and fun to get wet up close.
Since DH had to work on July 4th, this year I made the trip to the parade with the girls by myself. We met at SIL's house and walked together to the square. I was a little freaked about going to such a big event with no partner to assist with my kids. Of course SIL and her husband were there and did switch off with watching one girl or the other at times, but given that they have an 18-month old and a three year old themselves, their hands were already more than full.
Taking preschool-age kids to outdoor events is basically a suicide watch. (Stop walking at the corner! Stay near me! Don't eat that gum from under that bench! etc.) And suicide watch works best in a one-on-one ratio, and I am still getting used to having two children. Thank goodness Little A doesn't walk yet! Keeping track of meandering Big A while I was tethered to her sister's stroller was tricky enough.
I did pick up a good tip from a fellow mom at the parade, though. She wrote her son's name and her cell number on his hand, just in case he got lost. I thought this was brilliant and immediately did the same thing to Big A, which made me relax a little bit. Still, I think I caught maybe fifteen minutes of the two-hour parade, because I couldn't take my eyes of the kids for very long.
The nieces and my girls all had a pleasant time. But boy, was it HOT. Triple-degree temperature hot. Sonoma really ought to do their 4th of July parade in April, it was so hot. The walk back to SIL's house was just brutal, but somehow we made it without anyone getting too sunburned or overheated. We collapsed in the air conditioned splendor of their house and ate burgers and potato chips for hours. Ahhhhhh.