Punahou Carnival 2014

The drizzles started in the first inning and stopped during the third. The host team, Leilehua, did some field work in the attempt to dry the mound and home plate. About five minutes after they walked off the field, it started pouring. It didn’t stop until I was soaked, the game was cancelled, and I was driving out of Wahiawa. We were ahead 4-2. When I got home, Lynnette and Madison were in the middle of a nap. I started a load of laundry and waited for them to wake up so we could go to the Punahou Carnival.

1Madison’s first Punahou Carnival was back in 2011. She loved it and we’ve gone every year since. Going to the carnival was never a big deal when I was in high school, and even later, but Madison loved it so much that first time, we decided to make it a family tradition. By now Madison knows exactly what the Punahou Carnival means: kids games and sugar. We were barely on campus when Mad shouted “Let’s go to the kids games!” “No, we’re going to eat first,” I said. Madison grumbled. All the adults know that getting one’s teri burger and/or gyro before the lines extend into the ivy-covered netting is one of the most important games at the carnival. Madison is 5, and I don’t expect her to understand that. Maybe that’s why she’s taking it out on this corn on the cob.

2 3As promised, we hit up the kids’ games. They’re always such a great barometer for Madison’s year-to-year development. Last year, her spin of the wheel wasn’t very good and failed to make rotations. This year, though, she ripped the wheel around at an amazing pace. The only game she hasn’t quite gotten down yet is the strength test. On her best attempt, Mad brought the hammer down and came within a few inches of ringing the bell at the top of the structure. She also showed much better accuracy in the games involving throwing something. She sank more tennis balls in the tic-tac-toe game than ever before. The highlight of the night came on our second trip through the tic-tac-toe game. One got away from her and sailed over the black and yellow squares and caught one of the guys in the back square in the crotch. He wasn’t looking. I apologized like a madman, but he just laughed it off.

67This is the second year that we’ve had a strict no-rides policy. The lines are too long and the actual ride times too short. Madison can go on the rides again when she’s old enough to stand in line by herself. For now, she’s content to walk around the fairgrounds and play the games. Last night, she won this bottle of Sprite in a ring toss. She threw the ring over hand. It hit on the wall behind the bottle, then bounced up and fell around the bottle. It was the luckiest set of bounces I’ve ever seen. And then I told Madison to pose with her prize and she did this. I did this to my daughter. I did this.

In lieu of rides, we let Madison climb all over this playground, the first official addition to (hashtag) Playground Tour 2014. We have pictures of her playing on it from a couple of years ago, but I don’t think she was strong or coordinated enough to climb the ladders herself. This time, though, she could do just about everything except for the monkey bars. “I want to stay, dad!” she said when I told her it was time to go. “We should have just come here first instead of spending money,” another father with a climbing daughter said. Truth.

8The final family tradition within this night of traditions is using the last three scripts to purchase three malassadas. Since Madison won the Sprite, we didn’t have to shell out for a drink, thus allowing Mad four more games to play. Anyway, we stand in the express line for our dessert, then leave the baseball field and plop down on the first clear curb we can find. Lynnette and I get first dibs because Madison’s tolerance for hot food is insanely low. If food is .5 degrees above room temperature, Madison will say it’s hot. Lynnette “The Snack Monger” Higa usually starts taking bites. She entices Madison into taking small nibbles by saying things like “If you want toooo loooong, there’s going to be anything leeeeeeft!” in a mocking tone. Once Madison finds the malassadas have fallen to an acceptable temperature, it’s only a matter of time until her mouth is covered with sugar and she’s backwashing chewed up bits of dough into the soda bottle.

I want to thank Lynnette for driving to and from the Carnival last night. I wouldn’t have made it without the 45-minute nap on the way into town. I also fell asleep on the way back to Mililani. In fact, I had a cuddle date with Lynnette scheduled for last night, but I first got into bed with Mad, just to hang out. I fell asleep in less than five minutes. “Dad!” I woke to Madison shouting. “Your arm moved by itself!” she said. “Did it?” I said. “Yeah, it almost hit me!” she said. I wanted to say “My, how the tables have turned,” but I didn’t. “Why did it move by itself?” Mad asked. “Because daddy is super-tired,” I said. I should have gone straight to Lynnette at that point, but I fell asleep again. By the time I moved to my room, it was too late for cuddling. “Sorry,” I whispered. “Just scratch my back,” Lynnette muttered. It was the least I could do. And I think I fell asleep scratching her back.

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