On Saturday we went to the same community picnic where Helen took 1st runner up in the beauty pageant. No pageant this year - instead, we went with a friend of hers from daycare.
It was pretty advanced for a playdate. We had met at the mall once before on a weekend afternoon to let the kids run off some steam in a giant play area. These two are really great buddies and the daycare teachers have told me many times they have watched Helen holding hands with this little boy. His 2nd birthday was last month, and Helen still sings Happy Birthday to him at home.
The mom and I have been chatting at pickup and dropoff for months now, and the first playdate had gone so well, I followed up with the picnic invitation, which she eagerly accepted. I think she and I are trying to dance around the whole "making new friends" thing. As a married lady in my mid-30s with a kid, this is a lot harder than it looks. At first it was about the kids and the daycare, but we've ventured into talking about other things now, like work and family, and we're making plans for a get-together again soon.
The picnic was packed with booths for local vendors, animal rescue groups, and lots of political candidates. There were 4 stages for music and talent acts, and bouncy castles and climbing towers for the kids. They even had pony rides. It was $5 to put her on a horse and let her ride around in circles. I walked next to her, which made it hard to get pictures, but fortunately there were plenty of volunteers who snapped some photos of us.
Helen's friend from daycare did get on the pony but he lasted maybe two trips around the circle before he wanted off. Helen, on the other hand, wanted to ride TWICE. So I spent $10 on pony rides. She kept patting the horse's mane, and saying "Horsie? Good horsie!"
I think I know what she wants for Christmas.
We also went to the Children's Stage to see some of the musical acts. Saying this as someone who cannot carry a tune, that was actually quite painful to watch. Fortunately, Helen chose that moment to go completely nuts and try to take down the soundboard tent, so we moved on.
I think we were there for 3 hours, and Helen was completely exhausted when we got home. She crashed for a quick 90-minute nap. But I won't forget this moment for a long time, where Helen made every single parent standing in line for a pony ride laugh: