Last year's Durham Fair weekend was a personal nightmare. My husband was away for work, my mom was visiting family in Greece, and I and my two kids, who were 2 1/2 years old and 10 months old at the time, came down with nasty colds. As the saying goes, when it rains, it pours. My daughter ended up falling down the stairs at some point (she was fine, but her mom is still recovering), was waking several times a night and needing to be snuggled back to bed and I was at my wit's end because we couldn't take our runny noses to visit friends and get a break from each other.
I did brave Sunday at the fair, and it started off reasonably well. We saw some animals and were enjoying music and dinner at Center Stage. Then my daughter decided it would be funny to make a run for it. While keeping my eyes on her, I hustled to throw everything back into the stroller (especially my son), and managed to catch her as she was boogying down in a tent by the Center Stage. And thus concluded the Durham Fair for the Dreyfus family that year.
I expect this year's fair to be infinitely better: my husband is home for one; my mom is back from her exotic summer travels and available for backup; my kids will remain healthy... or else; my daughter is old enough to know not to run away; and my son will be in a harness. I may be kidding about that last one.
I have also been preparing my kids for the most awesome musical guest, Kenny Rogers, by playing one of his greatest hits albums over and over and over again. Want to hear a three year old sing The Gambler?
I will start off our Durham Fair Parenting Guide with a few tips of wisdom I have gleaned over the past couple years of being a Durham mom. Please add to it as I know the parents of our towns have mountains of experience and the wisdom that comes with it.
DURHAM FAIR PARENTING GUIDE
1. If one of your kids is a runner, don't go it alone. A one to one ratio is always best.
2. If your kids are not old enough to enjoy the rides, stay away from the Midway. No point rubbing their faces in what they can't have.
3. Make sure you have enough carrying and/or stroller devices. The hills are steep, kids' legs are short. I scored a sit 'n' stand at a consignment shop recently. Gooooooal!
4. Go early, leave early. Try to beat the crowds and the heat. That won't be possible on Friday, "Kenny Rogers Day," but one must make exceptions.
5. Make exceptions but expect the ugly. Prioritize what you really want to attend, but know that you're going to pay later with cranky kids.
6. Be realistic. I know the driving and parking are a hassle, but if you have little ones, you should only expect to stay 2-3 hours. Even I'm ready to cry after four hours.
Share your best parenting tips for making the Durham Fair a pleasure for all. Or, even better, let us learn from your mistakes and share your most awful moments.