Friday, July 9, 2010

BOOM! (aka The Sky is Falling)

I've posted before about how much I like our little town. For such a small place, it's always impressed me with its variety in dining options, the nice waterfront and the events held there, and more recently, the fiscal responsibility city leaders have demonstrated in recent years. Of all these things though, the city's 4th of July fireworks have always been the clincher for me.
After years of hiking to cold and windy hilltops overlooking various parts of the San Francisco Bay just to see a hint of color lighting up the fog, I can't imagine ever getting tired of walking out my door to the end of the block and seeing an incredible fireworks display. I remember our first summer here, and our surprise at seeing the RV's staking out places around the harbor the day before. Now it's a habit of AudioDad's to return from an early run on the morning of the 4th to announce the number of people who have already set themselves up for the display that won't happen for another 12 hours.
Another thing I love about our fireworks is the up-close, neck-craning view you get. That was until the city installed the big lawn and we got to enjoy the show lying down, with the sparks seeming to fall right on us. I remember that year was also our nieces and nephew's first 4th with us and as they lay on that new lawn, they were more than a little terrified of death by sparklers. Needless to say, with that close proximity, the fireworks are loud...and you feel their heat. You can usually tell the newbies to the show as they tend to be the ones who are picking up their children and running for safety.
We were definitely looking forward to sharing the fun with Munch once she was born. As it turned out though, we haven't gotten to enjoy a full show ever since. At six months old, she was sleeping so well and I wasn't about to throw it off. The following year, she began to show more and more sensitivity to loud noises, and would burst into tears at things like the loud whoosh of a public toilet flushing. We ended up carrying her home just seconds into the first burst, both of fireworks and tears! When she was two, she was fully aware of, and consciously avoiding, anything that she knew was startlingly loud- school bells, sirens, hand dryers, and of course, she continued to be wary of those public toilets. As much as I tried to prepare Munch for the fun over the next couple of years, she couldn't tolerate more than a few seconds of fireworks before covering her ears and begging to go home. This year was no different.
Munch and I talked about the 4th being our country's birthday. She walked around the waterfront with AudioDad to check out the crowd and listen to music. The neighborhood put on a block party and she got to play with all the kids. Munch even knew she was getting to stay up significantly past her bedtime. A few minutes to 9 PM, she eagerly waded through the crowd of people waiting for the fireworks show to begin, and she felt like a really big kid. I thought we had a pretty good chance that this was her turn-around year. And then, BOOM! Back at home, I knew our dog was having a heart attack and cowering under the nightstand. And Munch? Hands to ears, freaking out. So we scurried home, me encouraging her to at least look at them (she wouldn't), trying out the big headphones offered by a neighbor (still, no), and getting her up to her room. But as we walked past our new neighbors, sitting on the roof of their garage and enjoying their first fireworks display here, it occurred to me that we might be able to see the show from inside the house. So, on the floor of Munch's room, I calmed her down, opened up the curtains, and she finally was able to enjoy the spectacle. (Opening the window a crack, however, was quickly rejected.) This was how we watched our fireworks this year-
We'll try again at Christmas...

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