Saturday was the Smithsonian Kite Festival on the National Mall. We thought Soren might get a kick out of all the crazy flying things, so we thought it would probably be worth battling the crowds to head on down there. We invited Chris and Sarah to join us, and they kindly did. And, also kindly, they did not give us a hard time about our (almost inevitable, between the two wee ones and the slow-moving herds at the Metro stations) tardiness.
It was a fairly chilly day, though not especially windy. [Insert obligatory joke about trouble "getting it up" here.] It was windy enough, however, and there were lots and lots of kite fliers in attendance. This made for somewhat treacherous conditions at times, and it was a minor miracle that none of us was clotheslined or divebombed.
We timed our arrival to approximately coincide with the start of the "Hot Tricks" competition, which was set to punk rock-ish music as though they were attempting to emulate Tony Hawk Pro Skater. They even had all sorts of goofy trick names ("Oh! There's a Helicopter Stall followed by a Jacob's Ladder!"). It was like the X-Games for nerds. (Not really. But kind of.) Alas, there are really only so many cool things you can do with a kite, and I suspect it's one of those things that's a lot more fun to actually do than to watch, so we didn't stick around for the whole competition.
Fortunately, there was no shortage of other interesting things to see. Kites of all sizes, shapes, colors, and varieties! Parasailers! Crazy pamphlet-wielding doomsayers! (The end is coming, by the way, on May 11th of next year. One pamphleteer was saying, "Please, take one. You don't want to miss this." Sarah remarked that she wasn't sure whether he was trying to warn us about the coming Apocalypse or lure us into a strip club.) I think Soren's absolute favorite thing of the whole day, though, was the bubble man.
There was a guy operating a complicated bubble blowing contraption on a rolling cart. There was a little pot of soap, and a hoop & stick attached to a lever. At the other end of the lever was a string, held by the bubble man, and used to lower the hoop into the soap and raise it up again. At this point he would use a bellows, also attached to the cart, to blow bubbles, much to the delight of all the children present. The funny, and slightly creepy, thing was the complete lack of expression on the bubble man's face. Here are all these little kids frolicking around him in glee and wonderment, and his face is completely impassive. At one point he heaved a large, cheeks-puffed-full-of-air sigh. Dude, perhaps being the operator of the bubble cart was not your calling after all.
(In his defense, I'm pretty sure the cart bore the shield of one of the kite clubs, so it's entirely possible he really didn't want to be the bubble man but just drew the short straw that day. Still. You can't even crack a smile?)
If you look closely at the photo above, you'll note that our little hippy had rejected both his shoes and his socks, in spite of the fact that it was about 50 degrees out. We didn't let him run around barefooted for long, though, and he made his displeasure known when we made him cover up his feet again. Little goof. He was, overall, very well behaved on our outing. He was great on the train, sitting quietly and making cute little conversation. Not at all like our first family trip on the Metro almost a year ago, thank goodness! Eleri (surprise!) fell asleep on the train ride into the city and didn't wake up again until we were almost to the car on our way home. Granted, we were only out for a couple of hours, so it's not as though she slept through a whole day of excitement.
Sunday was chore day, as usual. We pulled the Bumbo seat down from the closet for Eleri, since she's almost strong enough to use it. Currently, her head is still a little to heavy and her neck a little too weak; she can hold herself upright for about a minute, and then the weight of her head starts to pull her upper body sideways, and soon she's listing in the seat. Hehe. She'll get there, though! She spent a bunch of time this weekend rolling back & forth on our bed. Well, she's still only rolling from tummy to back, but previously she'd only been rolling to the left, and this weekend she was rolling to the right as well. She'd flip over, I'd return her to her stomach, and then she'd roll the other way. She's getting pretty good at it.
Soren, of course, had to commandeer the Bumbo immediately. I fully expected him to get stuck when he sat down in it, but he's such a string bean that he was able to easily stand back up. It's funny how he's all interested in these baby toys again, long after he decided they were boring. I guess anything "new again" is exciting. ;)