The 4th of July has got to be my least favorite holiday in the entire year. It’s not that I am un-patriotic, I love what the holiday stands for and symbolizes, I just can’t stand the sound of fireworks being shot off night after night after night. Because around here that is exactly what happens. Approximately 2 weeks before the holiday the occasional person in our neighborhood will shoot off a few fireworks. Then in the week before the holiday a few more people will start shooting them off. The closer we get to the holiday the more people there are and the more fireworks they shoot off.
I accept that pretty much everyone in the country will be shooting off fireworks on the 4th itself. In fact our house sits on the top of a hill so that we’re able to go into our backyard and see most of the fireworks being set off in the city. And I would love it if that were the end of the fireworks shooting, but it isn’t. For close to 2 weeks after the holiday has ended you’ll hear the sounds of fireworks going off in my neighborhood. Admittedly the volume goes way down after the 4th, but the fact that I end up listening to things blowing up for a full month makes me crazy.
Especially these days. I’ll admit to hating this holiday long before I had kids, but now that I actually have them it’s gotten so much worse. My kids hate the sound of fireworks going off outside their bedroom windows, and it frightens every single one of them. Some to a lesser extent, I mean Brendan loves to stay up and watch the fireworks on the 4th, but hearing them going off and not being able to see them gets him all sorts of worked up. Cameron says he’s frightened too, though there are days that I wonder if he’s really scared or just looking for yet another excuse to get out of bed (because he finds at least 5 different excuses every single night)
But by far the worst is Kaylee. That’s not too surprising, I think all kids are afraid of fireworks at age 2. But we’ve had a lot of restless nights with her screaming, crying, and being generally afraid to go to sleep because every time she closes her eyes and tries to relax another loud pop sounds outside her window.
It was so bad the other day that we ended up putting her into our bed with me watching cartoons until well past 11. The next night we put her into her own bed with a cartoon (to drown out the noise) and even though the fireworks stopped a little after 10 she was still awake at midnight, and when I told her to go night-night she looked fearfully at her window before laying down on her pillow with her eyes still wide open. Two nights ago she insisted on laying her pillow down in her doorway (which is as far away from her window as possible in her bedroom) and fell asleep sprawled across it with her head spilling into the hallway. She slept through the fireworks that night, from sheer exhaustion I think.
We’re usually pretty strict about the kids watching movies at bedtime. I prefer to read stories to the kids before bed, and getting to watch a movie in lieu of that is generally rare and done on the weekends at most. If they do get cartoons during the week its a single cartoon only so that they will still go to bed close to their bedtime and not be tired when they have to get up the next morning (yes, I do make them get up every morning at 7:00 even though it’s summer vacation–saves me the hassle of having to get them back into routine in the fall).
This week, however, all bets are off. In an effort to drown out any sounds from the fireworks we have put on movies every night and made sure the movie was long enough to keep going until people get tired of shooting them off. So last night Matt and I were putting the kids into bed and getting their movies set up. Cameron wanted to watch Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension so Matt started getting that set up, while I tried to determine what Kaylee wanted to watch.
Finally she told me she wanted to watch Tale of the Nighty-nights. It took a few seconds for my brain to translate that from toddler-speak into something I could understand. Then it finally clicked. She wanted to watch Backyardigans. Specifically the Tale of the Mighty Knights disc. Though I thought it completely fitting that she called it Nighty-nights instead of Mighty Knights.
With the kids settled into bed, Matt and I retired into our bedroom and hoped that we would have a peaceful night. There seemed to only be one person shooting off fireworks, and from the muffled sounds they were at least a couple of streets away from us. Finally around 11 we both went to sleep, happy that none of the kids had been up and scared.
Our night was completely uneventful until around 3:00 this morning. At that time I was jolted awake by the light in my living room being turned on. It took a minute for my sleep fatigued brain to really comprehend what had woken me. I looked into my doorway expecting to see a child sized silhouette, but there was nothing there. I stumbled into the living room and across the house to the kids bedrooms but all three appeared to be sleeping peacefully. So I flipped off the light and made my own way back to bed.
I suspected that Cameron might have been the culprit, as he is most often the child to get out of bed in the night. So this morning I asked him about it. He admitted that yes, he was the one up and that he turned on the light. When I asked him why he was up he said, “Because I wanted to give you a hug and a kiss, but you were sleeping so I just went back to bed.” I told him next time to just wake me up, I’m open to getting hugs and kisses no matter what time it is.