How to Take Kids to a Carnival

1. While packing to go to the carnival, expect the unexpected. Your diaper bag should look like a compilation of necessities for all seasons, weather conditions, and accidents imaginable. If you forget a sweatshirt, it will drop to below freezing, even if your town has been in a heatwave all week.

2. While pulling into the carnival parking lot, make sure to forget your double stroller, forcing you to turn around, go the whole way back home, forcefully shove the huge stroller into the trunk of your car, and drive the whole way back to the carnival.

3. When you pull into the parking lot, you will start unbuckling the kids from their carseats, and attempt to transition them into the stroller. They will throw a colossal temper tantrum about wanting to walk instead of ride. Now you’re walking up a huge hill to the carnival entrance, holding two toddlers’ hands, and pushing an empty stroller. The kids finally give up, and ask you to put them in the stroller at the steepest of inclines.

4. Once you’ve entered the carnival, you decide to eat first. That way the kids’ stomachs will be full for the spinning rides later. You choose chicken fingers and french fries, because all kids like them, right? Wrong. Your oldest will not eat them, because they are brown.

5. While eating, with zero warning, your fully potty trained child will squat in a rocky patch, underwear and shorts still on, and pee like a racehorse, for everyone’s viewing pleasure. You did not take your own advice from step 1, and you are not prepared. Snowstorm? Covered. Potty accident? Screwed.

6. Luckily for you, your friend with a child two years younger, and two sizes smaller than your child, came prepared with a spare set of pants. After cleaning up in a disgusting public bathroom, you squeeze her into new pants. Then, she has the balls to say, “Mommy, I could go potty in this bathroom.”

7. Time to move onto the rides portion of the evening. The kids excitedly scurry up the metal stairs, to the first carny ride. It’s horse drawn carriages. No hills or spinning, just one continuous loop. As your husband straps your children in, he notices there is a bolt falling out of where the harness connects to the ride. The operator does not seem concerned, and even encourages your husband to “fix it if you’d like.” So he does.

8. Now that the ride is incredibly safe, the man flips the switch, and the kids zoom around the circle at a jarring pace. Your second kid, who hasn’t peed himself yet, definitely has now. His little fingers are clutching the sides of the carriage. His face is ghostly white, and his eyes scream, “Get me off of this right now!” You frantically wave to them with each passing swirl, but they are moving too fast to notice. As they exit, you ask, “How was it?” First child, “Let’s do another one!” Second child, *no response*.

9. Steps 8 and 9 repeat themselves two more times.

10. “Let’s win some prizes!” You excited yell, because you’d rather have to keep a goldfish alive for 5 years, than endure another terrifying “children’s” ride. Your son picks a shooting game, and your husband lovingly shells out some cash, and helps him win. He chooses a water gun, you just KNOW has a date with the dumpster as soon as you get home. Now it’s the other’s turn, and she wins a pink squishy ball, that acts not only as a choking hazard for your baby, but is also probably filled with toxic slime. “I WANT WHAT SHE HAS!” Too bad, my friend, you picked the plastic pistol.

11. It’s finally time to head home, but not before your baby… that’s right, you have a baby, too… decides she needs to run around on pavement, or she will scream bloody murder. You let her down, and she immediately falls flat on her face, scratching the skin off her forehead. Sweet.

12. You go home, and sanitize everything. Including you. With a giant glass of wine. Because you deserve it after that “fun.”

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