My earliest memories about the 4th of July consist of a strict lecture about sparkler safety (which led to an extreme fear that I was going to set my blonde pigtails on fire), watching grown men lighting things on fire and then running like crazy, and our Australian Shepherd, Bean, hiding under the couch because of the loud booms. I also remember the first time I was allowed to light a firecracker on my own. I chose the desert tank firework as the multiple effects and their ability to travel mesmerized me as they sprayed sparks in a circle. As I have grown older, I would like to say that my taste in fireworks has become more sophisticated, but those little tanks are still my favorite, and I am pleased to say that I am no longer afraid of setting my pigtails on fire.
A more recent memory of the 4th of July dates to the summer of 2009 when my (then) boyfriend and I traveled up to Chetek, WI to watch the fireworks from an unsound dock on Lake Chetek. The launch platform for the fireworks was approximately fifteen yards from our location. As ashes and sparks fell into the waters surrounding us, he turned to me and began giving me a history lesson on the origins of fireworks, how they have been used for celebrations in myriad cultures over many centuries, and how from that evening forward, they would unwittingly be used to celebrate our engagement. I recall looking at him and thinking, ‘what are you talking about?’ Then he pulled a ring from his pocket and I was struck with the realization that his long-winded lecture on the history of fireworks was actually a marriage proposal.
Four years later, we had a seven-month-old baby to celebrate the 4th with us up in Spooner, WI. We walked one mile with her strapped to my chest in my owl covered Beco baby carrier to find the best view, and she loved every minute of it. Fast forward two years and she was singing a different tune. I think if Bean were still alive, she would be joining him under the couch. Last year, we stayed home on the 4th of July because she did not want to go. I do not want to miss it again this year; therefore, I am going to check out some books and music inspired by fireworks to rekindle (so to speak) some excitement about the light show in our otherwise adventurous four-year-old.
The Explosive Story of Fireworks! / by Kama Einhorn ; illustrated by Daniel Guidera. Eau Claire Juv NonFiction JUV 662.1 Ei66e
Fireworks for All / adaptation by Karen Barss ; based on a TV series teleplay by Dietrich Smith ; based on the characters created by Susan Meddaugh. Eau Claire Juv Easy Reader ER MEDDAUGH Susan
Fourth of July Fireworks / by Patrick Merrick. Eau Claire Juv Holiday Bk JUV HOLIDAY 394.2634 M551f
Music for the Royal Fireworks ; Water music = Feuerwerksmusik ; Wassermusik / Georg Frideric Handel. Eau Claire Compact Discs CD EA HAND MRF W 52
I have also invested in a pair of noise muffling headphones in case the books and music do not work to assuage her fears.
If you have had a reluctant or fearful fireworks viewer and have any suggestions for other parents who don’t want to miss the show, please share them in the comments below! And please have a safe and happy 4th of July!