Balancing act goes into Mardi Gras with kids

Editor February 23, 2017 Comments Off on Balancing act goes into Mardi Gras with kids
Balancing act goes into Mardi Gras with kids

Over recent years the children have been learning the truth about Mardi Gras, and this year it’s official. They know. There are parades all over the place, on all sorts of days, and they are not at those parades.
For years, we let them believe Mardi Gras consists of two, maybe three parades. There were a few years they may have believed Abita’s Krewe of Push Mow WAS Mardi Gras. And hey, that’s cool, because Push Mow is a really good parade, am I right?
But the kids are older now, and they have actual conversations with other children about actual things. Like, not just unicorns or cat warriors (don’t ask), but real “what did you do this weekend?” kind of conversations. Which is good—yay for social maturity!—but also bad, because now they want to do all the things. They’ve heard reports of parades happening across the lake, parades they’ve never attended, parades where their friends catch glittery high heeled shoes ON A SCHOOL NIGHT.
“We never go to parades on a school night!” my 9-year-old daughter complained, indignant at the years of unfairness she’s experienced without even knowing.
“Everyone else goes to lots of parades, and we only go to two!” she was wounded, deeply. “Maybe 3!” Clearly we are ruining her childhood.
“But we go to lots of parades!” I responded, for a moment forgetting that I DO NOT argue with children. But now I was the one indignant.
“We go to lots of parades! We just went to Dionysus! And there was Push Mow, and we do Mardi Gras Day in Covington, and…those are fun!” (They ARE fun, dangit. How much revelry can one family handle?)
She was unimpressed.
Obviously my daughter hasn’t looked at my Instagram feed lately, or she would know our family is SUPER FUN. Just look at all the fun we have! With filters. And the laundry cropped out.
It’s not that we’re Mardi Gras Scrooges. It’s just, with four kids…oh, forget it. We’re Mardi Gras Scrooges. I mean, I like the idea of Mardi Gras—it’s fun! There’s music and happy people, and beads flying at my 3-year-old’s face. We stay injury-free because I’m like the Secret Service, throwing myself in front of flying beads to protect them. Ow.
So we’re considering upping our Carnival game this year. Like, maybe we’ll add Selene to our schedule, and come on, that should be plenty, right? I might need to lie down, though. I mean, there’s prep that goes into parading with small kids. Gotta have snacks and water bottles for everyone and folding chairs and sunglasses because it’s tooooo briiiiight. And access to a bathroom, of course. Granted, my 3-year-old just goes when the mood strikes, like right after we parked next to Bethany Lutheran Church Saturday before Dionysus rolled down Gause. It was horrifying. The van door slid open, he hopped out, dropped his pants and just…went. Bethany parishioners, my apologies. We talked about how we don’t peepee in front of the Lutheran Church or any church for that matter, or on sidewalks or in public. I mean, I know it’s Mardi Gras, but sheesh. This is the Northshore, kid.
So here is my wish for you this Carnival season: may you parade just as much (or as little) as your heart desires, and may your kids be grateful for it. I wish you clean bathrooms and king cake and NO SPEARS. That part is important, so let me repeat: NO SPEARS.
Happy Mardi Gras, y’all.
(Betsy Swenson can be reached at

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