Here we are at the threshold of summer with a giant nationwide celebration on our hands, and we’ll be in bed by 8:30.
It’s not that we don’t enjoy the celebration of Independence Day, we really do. What I enjoy less are the late-hour explosions (I won’t get into the rant that they seem to last for a week) and how it translates to parenting young children. I haven’t always been this way, but since having children I’ve been less and less interested in the traditional fireworks for the Fourth of July. They’re loud, they’re expensive and they happen in the dark–which is easily after 9:30 p.m. this time of year.
Many parents will relate to cringing at the thought of keeping kids up past bedtime to shock their senses with bright lights and shocking loud booms that can instill fear in their little selves. Even the harmless Pop-Its saw a few years of shunning, as my kids were not a fan of their sharp “pop!” My kids couldn’t even seem to enjoy the sight of a sparkler, let alone actually hold one until last year’s holiday. And even then, with mild concern for the erratic and unpredictable tendencies of fire and sparks.
I don't see the need to push them into experiencing fireworks as I'm sure it will come with time. After all, my kids are only 3 and 5.
We’re a little anxious and maybe a bit excited to see how our kids enjoy this annual event as they get older and older. Most likely, age is a factor and as they grow, they’ll be able to stay up later (and consequently sleep in later) to allow them to enjoy the festivities. Their hearing will become a tad less sensitive and with awareness, they’ll realize that there is little hazard in fireworks when handled responsibly.
So this year, as in the other kid-centered years, we’ll enjoy the Fourth a little more quietly. We’ll dress patriotically, make a flag cake and talk about the significance and history of the holiday. Maybe throw in a flag-themed craft or two. We’ll try smoke bombs and sparklers, maybe a tank and throw some Pop-Its. Heck, we might even splurge for the Parachute Men that no doubt will land in the tree tops and dangle above us for the next two weeks. We’ll most certainly barbeque, weather permitting, but we’ll spend the evening just as we do every other night.