Friday, October 15, 2010

Bristol Renaissance Fair

Early in September we went to the Bristol Renaissance Fair in Wisconsin for the first time. I was so excited to take the kids. We had wanted to go last year, but the timing didn't work out since we were going to Grand Cayman, but this year I made sure we'd go.

Jared had been into a big knights and castles phase awhile ago, so I really played up the jousting tournaments. We watched the YouTube videos of the fair, and both kids seemed pretty excited about going.

The actual day, however, didn't go at all as I'd imagined. Jared was in a negative mood almost the entire day. Lately I've been reading Raising Your Spirited Child, and the book describes my son so accurately it's almost scary. He's the most intense, vivacious, moody, energetic, opinionated, clever, and creative child I've met. Usually, though, it means I'm wiped out at the end of every day. Alexa is definitely spunky, too, but he takes way, way more energy out of me than she does, even with her endless questions and talking.

After a lot of whining, we did make it to the jousting area. Unfortunately, we only saw about five minutes of the performance before it ended. So, we walked back through the fair, checking out the stalls and taking in the sights. We paid for the kids to go on one ride, although we hated shelling out six dollars when we had already paid so much to get into the fair in the first place. The fair is such a money trap, especially if you have children. I do love the shows, but it's hard to go through the place and say no to most of what the kids want to do.

We saw the Falconer's show, which Steve and I thought was pretty awesome. A man presented several hawks and falcons, showed us how they are trained to hunt, and gave many demonstrations. Were the kids impressed? Apparently not. This is what Jared did instead.

They did perk up, though, when we said we'd get a treat.

They were so into that ice cream cone they didn't even care when this was taking place right behind them.

After the treat, they both started getting pretty whiny and said they wanted to go home, but I pretty much insisted we go see another jousting match. It started with the queen's parade, and I really wanted to see it, especially since we'd paid so much to get in the place. We had to stop at the privies on the way, so the place was crowded when we go there. We had to stand back a good fifty feet from the ring, so we couldn't see that well. Still, the queens procession passed right in front of us. And what were the kids doing when the queen and her entourage passed by?

At least they were having fun. But I had to remind myself that they got out of the day what they needed. Just like we learn without prescribed curriculum, how we learn from each moment and expand and enlarge our present interests, we each took what we needed from the day. And I know that when we come back again to the same fair, they will take new ideas and images away.

It was a perfect day to remind me that we can't come up with brilliant (in our minds) experiences, lessons, or ideas and expect kids to enthusiastically come on board no matter how much fun we've made it. We need to look closely at our kids to see what captures their attention in the moment and meet them where they are. And just because they aren't excited by what excites us now doesn't mean they'll never be curious to find out what we'd like to show them.

1 comment:

Lynn B said...

Great reminder!! I just had the same thing happen when I engineered a "forced" nature walk, LOL. Can't win
'em all, but what a wealth of experiences you offer your kids. Thumbs up!

(Oh, and I just tagged you on my latest post :) )