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Fourth Of July Fireworks Not Worth The Tantrums The Next Day

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Most people are busy making plans for the long weekend. I, on the other hand, am busy avoiding plans. Specifically, I will not be taking my kids to see fireworks this year. I know what you’re thinking: what kind of mother deprives her children of something so cool, so celebratory, so magical? That would be me.

For starters, it doesn’t get dark outside until well after 9 p.m. By that time, both my kids have been fast asleep for at least one hour and I’ve already poured myself a glass of wine. In theory, I don’t mind my kids staying up late for a special occasion (like a national holiday). In actuality, it’s a complete and total disaster.

Let’s put it this way: when I, an actual adult, get four or five five hours of sleep instead of seven, I turn into a total bitch. I am weepy and cranky and can barely keep it together. Likewise, when my kids get two hours’ less sleep than usual, they are a nightmare the next day. There are tears and tantrums and Academy Award-winning drama. I, in turn, get snappy and impatient. But, more than anything, I feel badly for my children, as I know what it feels like to be so tired you just want to cry.

Second, firecrackers are LOUD. And for lots of kids, all that noise can be a scary thing. One long weekend last summer, my then 4-year-old woke up crying after being awoken by the sound of firecrackers coming from a park down the street. He was startled, and rightly so (I’ve felt the same way during 3 a.m. thunderstorms). That same summer, a close friend took her 4-year-old to see fireworks at a park across the street from their house. Her daughter was so excited about the occasion she could barely contain herself. And when the moment finally came and that first firecracker went off, the little girl flipped out. “It’s too noisy!” she told her mom between sobs. Her mother swooped her up and took home. She then spent the next two hours consoling her daughter, who trembled with fear each and every time she heard a bang.

Look, I’m a pretty laid back person. My kids have had ice cream for dinner and skipped a bath far too many times (don’t tell anyone). But when it comes to fireworks, I’m sticking to my guns. No fireworks for these kids, thank you very much. To all those patriotic moms out there, enjoy. Just don’t call me the next day when your kids are having their umpteenth meltdown. We’ll be enjoying a chilled out day at the park under the blazing sun.

(Photo: Jupiterimages)