We returned from our annual trip to Long Lake on the evening of July 3rd. Since I had been so busy preparing for two 3 hour plane rides, two 5 hour car trips, and a week away from home with an 11 month old, I hadn't put a moment's thought into what we were going to do to celebrate the 4th. So, there I was on the night of July 3rd, surrounded by open suitcases full of dirty laundry, scouring the internet for things in our area to do on the 4th. That's when I spotted it: The Beautiful Baby Swimsuit Contest.
Obviously, there was no doubt in my mind that my son is beautiful. And, of course, I felt strongly that everyone, including crowds of complete strangers, must recognize just how beautiful he is. I quickly printed out an entry form, filled it out, and stuck it to the fridge, so it would be easy to find the next day. There was just one problem: the outfit. Since I hadn't put any thought into the Fourth of July until that very moment, I was fairly certain that James didn't have an appropriate outfit.
Just in case the perfect thing was somehow hiding at the bottom of the drawer, I went and looked through James' swimsuits. Nope. Nothing good there. Not even a plain red, white or blue suit that I could embellish. I moved on to the bucket full of dog costumes. (I used to dress my dogs up every holiday before I had a child and no longer had time for that sort of thing.) Success! I found an American Flag bandana. It was a start.
Early the next morning I went to Target in search of Fourth of July items, but the selection was slim. I ended up buying a navy blue and white striped swimsuit with a pirate skull and crossbones on it and some disposable straws embellished to look like fireworks.
Once home, I quickly cut out a large red felt star and a smaller white felt star. I sewed them onto the swimsuit using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. They covered the pirate skull perfectly and to my surprise the swimsuit looked really cute! I loved it! To complete the outfit, I tied the American Flag bandana around James' shoulders and gave him one of the "fireworks" straws to carry across the stage.
Here we are waiting for our turn.
James was perfectly happy the entire time we were waiting and perfectly happy when I set him down at the edge of the stage.
Then, as soon as it was his turn, he stepped forward, took a good look at the crowd, and burst into tears. He leaned back into me and refused to budge another step. Thinking quickly, I stepped out in front of him and started walking backward. He chased me across the stage, and while he wasn't his usual bubbly self, he at least wasn't crying any more.
Needless to say, James didn't win. The winner for the boys was a two year old who skipped across the stage singing "God Bless America." But, seriously, how can you beat that?
All in all, I'm glad that we decided to participate in the Beautiful Baby Swimsuit Contest this year. It made for a neat memory and some fun pictures. However, it is not an experience that I wish to repeat. It was too hot, too crowded, and there were too many rowdy people around.
At least James had fun making a new friend after the contest.