One day, the circus came to town. We were out running errands and the kids saw the classic red and white tents. They went berserk. They tried to bust out of their car seats and smash the windows and jump out of our moving car to get a closer look.
So we decided to take them. Safer that way.
(Now before anyone gets all up in my ass about how cruel circuses are to animals, this was an animal-free circus so you can save your energy.)
I haven’t been to a circus in years. The kids never have been to one. I’m not really sure what to expect.
I know that Crappy Baby and Crappy Boy aren’t big clown fans after taking them to McDonald’s for the first time. But they’ve never been fearful when we’ve seen clowns in books. It probably won’t be a big deal. If anything, they’ll learn that clowns aren’t scary. (Creepy though, right?)
We are standing in the ticket line. There is one family in front of us. As they walk away, the little girl asks:
Her father laughs and says, “Maybe!”
Crappy Baby heard their conversation. He says something about not wanting pies thrown at him by clowns. I reassure him that it isn’t going to happen.
But he won’t budge.
I pick him up and explain that sometimes in old movies clowns throw pies at each other. Because it is funny. Or at least at one point in time it was funny. Now it is just wasting pie.
Anyway, pies don’t get thrown at the audience so he doesn’t have to worry. It isn’t scary.
He is satisfied with this and he relaxes.
We enter the tent and find our seats. I’m thankful that we didn’t buy the super expensive seats in the front two rows. Not only is it scarier and in pie tossing range but also because they are not much different than our cheaper seats.
We settle in our seats and wait for the show to start. We’re about ten minutes early so we apply cotton candy. I love cotton candy. It is the worst possible thing you can eat. Sugar plus food coloring. An excellent snack for the whole family. (Cotton candy = candy floss or fairy floss to those of you from other parts of the world.)
The kids seem happy.
Except that every time a man walks by, Crappy Baby tenses up and asks:
He seems okay though.
Like most circus shows, there are guys walking around vending stuff. Cotton candy, drinks, popcorn and light-up wands that look like lightsabers.
We’ve seen those lightsabers a million times. At the zoo, at amusement parks, on the 4th of July and just random places where families go. We’ve always said “nah” and steered the kids away from them. Which of course makes them even more seductive. The forbidden fruit of glow-in-the-dark weaponry. I know.
So this time I say it is okay. They can each pick one out. Heck, we’re at the circus eating cotton candy on a Thursday. When we go out, we go all out.
The lightsaber guy walks over. He hands Crappy Baby a green one.
Crappy Baby slowly takes it with a solemn look on his face.
It isn’t the reaction I was expecting. Hmmmm
He also gives me his cotton candy.
And he clutches his lightsaber with a determined look on his face.
Just then the lights go dim. The show is starting!
I look over at Crappy Baby and he looks like a deer in headlights. Completely frozen.
I suddenly realize that he thinks he is going into battle. Against clowns.
Maybe he thinks that the lightsaber man was an arms dealer. “Pick your weapon, my son.”
Poor thing. A child knight totally unprepared for war.
I ask him if he wants to sit on my lap and he scrambles over.
Immediately, he relaxes.
And his courage grows.
And we laugh and enjoy the first act of the show.
The first act finishes and there are a handful of clowns on the stage. One is holding a pie.
He gently presses the pie on the face of another clown. Barely even gets him messy! And that is it. The clowns run off the stage.
Crappy Baby says:
That’s it? That is all he’s got? I could totally take down that clown.
He switches off his lightsaber and goes back to his own seat. He pretty much won.
The rest of the show is awesome. Balance acts, trapeze, acrobats and even a man shot out of a cannon. The classic stuff.
As we are leaving the tent, Crappy Boy says he wants to be an acrobat when he grows up.
Crappy Baby says:
I apologize for offending actual professional clowns. Though I do have one question… why? I’d love to hear what led you down this career path. That way, I can provide the exact opposite for my aspiring son.
Other circus folk not included. You guys are rad. And fascinating.