On Saturday I got up before 7 a.m. to ready the girls for their first Easter candy race, which started at 10 a.m.. By 8:30 a.m., I enlisted help.
It took four adults to get the two little ones through the day. One guided and instructed Katie, who wasn't sure what the hullabaloo was about and was more interested in the other children than she was the candy. Another followed and retrieved the candy that missed the Easter basket, which was most of it by the way. The third followed along with the baby, and I, gleefully unencumbered, ran in circles with the video camera.
Four adults. Two kids.
It was pandemonium, but then again, any event at which hundreds of children gather is pandemonium.
I have attended the annual Lions Club Candy Race on several occasions as a photographer, a Lions Club member, and (I've lived here long enough to remember) as a participant. This was the first time I've attended only as a parent and the first time I've been at the 0- to 3-aged section.
Usually I watch the bigger kids and am always astonished at the rate children can suck up more than 200 pounds of candy. It's gone in minutes literally minutes. In fact when they're done there aren't many leaves or pieces of trash left on the ground either.
It's ferocious out there hand-to-hand combat for pieces of toffee and hard candy.
A friend, whose daughter participated for the first time last year and retrieved very few pieces of candy, said he started training her early for this year's race. It didn't take him long to learn that sharp elbows and a head start were needed to come out on top. He even worked for a few weeks to develop a strategy.
This race is a big deal.
But it's different at the toddlers' end of the line. Most of the children aren't sure what to do, so the noise is created by frantic parents trying to show their sons and daughters what to do and calling their names to distract them from the lure of hundreds of other children. You could see once the kids started picking up candy that they still weren't sure what they were doing, but their actions calmed their parents and earned them praise. That was enough to encourage them to keep going.
After the race, an attractive, elderly woman came over to talk to me. I could tell by the way she was watching Katie a compliment was coming.
I was half right.
She told me my little boy was adorable.
Now, I'm sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt that Katie is a girl. I have experience changing thousands of diapers to prove it. I try to dress her to make her gender clear, but no matter how much pink, no matter how many flowers on her shirt or ribbons on her head, people still insist on calling her a boy.
Her great-great-grandfather, who was nearby when she was born, gifted her with four adorable outfits on her first birthday. I was so touched to imagine him doing something he's probably never done in his life wander through the children's clothing section selecting outfits for ... for his grandson?
He did get the right size.
As he handed over the bag and told me to wrap the outfits (he shopped, I wrap) I noticed each one was dark blue or had footballs on the front. I didn't have the heart to say anything (I usually don't. Many people walk away still thinking Katie is a boy).
My husband on the other hand, had no such compunction, and had a good laugh telling grandpa what happened (and yes, my grandfather still likes my husband more than he does me).
I do understand the confusion, though.
The problem is that Katie doesn't have any hair. Well, she has a little, but it's so thin and blond, she might as well not have any. She doesn't even have enough to hold a velcro bow.
It was during the candy race that I really noticed my 20-month-old daughter was a little behind. There wasn't a girl there (even the younger ones) who had less hair than Katie.
Girls, who were just to learning to walk, had ponytails on each side of their heads. I saw a girl struggling to carry a basket so big it kept tipping her over. She had a mop of blond curls on the top of her head.
And I saw Katie, who at nearly two years old, only needs a washcloth to style her hair.
It'll come, people keep telling me. Their children didn't have hair until they were two either.
Liars. I didn't see any evidence Saturday that the slow hair growth gene exists anywhere in Craig but in my daughter. And I looked at a lot of children.
I'm searching for a solution.
What encourages hair growth? More protein? Scalp massages? Rogaine for babies?
Before we went to the family's Easter activities Sunday, we bought a hat.
My daughter may be a card-carrying member of the hair club for babies, but we aren't going to advertise that fact.