In the fall and winter and spring, I was a much better mother. We went to the playground, we took long walks around the neighborhood identifying the blue-and-white letter tiles that spelled out street names, we played elaborate games of Puppy and Dogcatcher in the backyard.
But now it’s just too damn hot to do much of anything besides turn on the television and eat popsicles in our underwear.
Thankfully –– and just in time –– the circus is in town.
Last year, we took Ruby to the circus with my boss and a bunch of my other coworkers, and she had a good time. But when we asked her the next day what her favorite thing at the circus had been, she thought for a moment and then said, “Errol.”
This year, though, she got it. She loved the trapeze artists – probably a little too much; somehow my risk-averse body produced a child with a daredevil streak a mile wide who would hop on the trapeze in a hot minute if given the chance. She loved the clowns, all of whom she declared “fancy ladies.” She was fascinated by the puppy who wore a tutu and jumped rope. And she wanted to know all about the elephants: where they slept, what they ate, could they use the potty.
She ate $12 cotton candy, drank $9 lemonade and even charmed her way into a light-up spinning wand that we purchased for her at a cost that is unbearable to write down.
When I thought about raising a child in New Orleans, my first thoughts, obviously, were of the cultural richness that she’d get here that she wouldn’t get elsewhere: the Carnival parades, the vibrant arts scene that I myself grew up in, Jazz Fest, jazz brunches, jazz funerals.
And she gets that, obviously, with a healthy dose of Saints mania thrown in. (She and my husband flew back from seeing his parents last week, and as the plane touched down, Jamie said, “Ruby, we’re back home.” And she said, “Back in the Who Dat nation!”)
But for all the uniqueness of a snowball-stained jazz-infused New Orleans childhood, sometimes the universality of things like the circus is just perfect.
Any tips for surviving the New Orleans summer with a kid? Share them now.