"What exactly is a 'Maker Faire'?"
We hear that question a lot when we are out and about, talking up our Dover Mini Maker Faire, coming up on Saturday, August 29. It's a deceptively hard question to answer! I usually say things like "It's a place where people who make things, engineer things, craft things, etc. can come together and show off their creativity."
"...So, there aren't any rides?"
Well, no. There aren't any rides. But we think it's just as fun. So to clear up some of the confusion about what visitors to a Maker Faire can expect, here's a handy list of frequently asked questions and our answers.
Q. What exactly is a Maker Faire?
A. Maker Faire is family-friendly festival of innovation, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new. Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students and commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and share what they have learned.
Q. How did Maker Faire get started?
A. The Maker movement sparked at the first Maker Faire back in 2006 in the Bay Area. Since then, sponsorship of Maker Faire events from corporations has helped propelled this grassroots movement eastward like wildfire. The original Maker Faire event was held in San Mateo, CA and in 2012 celebrated its seventh annual show with some 800 makers and 110,000 people in attendance. World Maker Faire New York, the other flagship event, has grown in three years to 500+ makers and 55,000 attendees. Detroit, Kansas City, Newcastle (UK), and Tokyo are the home of “featured” Maker Faires (200+ makers).
Q. Why is it called Dover MINI Maker Faire?
A. Across the United States and the world, community-driven, independently organized Mini Maker Faires are now being produced. Dover Mini Maker Faire is independently organized and operated under license from Maker Media, Inc., and is the FIRST Mini Maker Faire in the state of New Hampshire.
Q. Are there rides?
A. No. There aren't any rides like you would see at a regular town fair. BUT, there are a ton of hands on activities and opportunities to explore new things. In addition to all the great Maker tables and demos, we'll be offering an opportunity to help us build a giant Jenga and there will be a grand finale involving coke and mentos "explosions!"
Q. So what exactly will I see at the Faire?
A. You will see lots of tables and booths outside in Henry Law Park with people displaying and demonstrating their creative talents. If you want to learn more about the individual vendors, we've compiled a great list of them over on our makerfairedover.com blog!
Q. How many people can I expect to see there?
A. The first year (2013) we had more than 1,200 people attend (300 of which were kids)!
Q. What does it cost?
A. If you buy tickets online before August 29, tickets cost $10 for anyone over 5 years of age. Kids ages 5 and younger get in for free. You can buy tickets at the door for $12.
Q. Is that all the money I'll spend while at the Faire?
A. If you are just looking around at all the great inventors and trying your hand at the different activities, then yes, that's all you'll spend. There are, however a few vendors who are selling their wares, and of course food will cost you extra. We will also have t-shirts for sale for a reasonable price. But your admission will get you into all areas of the Faire, including the Children's Museum.
Q. I'm a CMNH member. Do I get into the Faire for free?
A. Look for an email from us in early August with a Member discount code.
Q. Will there be food?
A. Yes! We have quite a few vendors who will be selling food.
Q. Can I bring my dog?
A. Yes, you may bring your dog to all outside locations (i.e. Henry Law Park), however with the exception of service animals, dogs are not permitted in the Museum or in One Washington Street Mill. However, for the safety and well being of our four-legged friends, we recommend you leave your pets at home. There will be loud noises, many moveable parts, and large crowds, all of which do not create a safe environment for pets.
Q. Where exactly is the Faire?
A. The Faire takes place in and around the Children's Museum, Henry Law Park, and One Washington Street Mill, which is directly behind the Museum.
Q. Is there parking?
A. Yes! Weekend parking is free throughout the city of Dover, but we suggest:
- Henry Law Avenue in front of the museum
- the River Street lot- Drive past the museum along Washington Street, veer onto Waters Street, then cross the bridge to River Street.
- The Orchard Street lot near the Post Office (accessed via Central Avenue or Chestnut Street)
- The Amtrak lot on Chestnut & Third Streets
- The Third Street lot next to Holy Rosary Credit Union
- The Portland Street lot
- The Library lot on Locust Street (across from the Police Station)
Q. What about handicap parking?
A. There are a few handicap parking spots on Washington Street right next to the museum, as well as in the TD Bank lot across the street.
If you find yourself saying "I have a question and I don't see the answer here," then feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to clear things up for you. We hope you can make it to Maker Faire this year!
By Amanda Girard, Marketing Intern
Worried about bringing older kids to CMNH with their younger siblings? Afraid they might just stand there moaning, “I’m bored?” The Children’s Museum does offer exhibits and events that older kids can enjoy alongside their younger siblings so that the whole family can have some fun!
“The Muse Studio is a place that caters to all ages,” said Sarah Terry, one of the Museum’s educators. “We make a lot of the crafts open-ended, so you can make them as simple or as complex as you want.” Museum educators come up with new themes every week, like New England books or Super Heroes, and plan craft projects based around that theme.
The Thinkering Lab is another exhibit that encourages guests to create anything they want, no matter how simple or how complex. Here you can build things with LEGOS, design vehicles and tracks, and create ball mazes.
Finally, Mindball is a fun exhibit that many older kids and even adults enjoy! The game is simple: try to stay as relaxed as you can while an electronic headband monitors your brainwaves. See if you can beat your opponent and if you can stay more relaxed. (You could even switch up the game and see who can be the most un-relaxed!)
“A lot of our events are geared towards all ages too,” said Sarah Terry, “like Super Hero Week or our Mini Maker Faire.” If you’re an adult, you probably have great memories of discovering super heroes in comic books, and what better way to introduce your kids to those same super heroes than to take them to Super Hero Week here at the Children’s Museum. Maker Faire (coming up on August 29) is also an event that is for everyone. Some of our Makers this year are as young as 12 or 13 years old and older kids will get a chance to learn more about topics like robotics, engineering, music or art. Maker Faire has a lot to offer everyone.
So, if you are looking to bring the whole family (including older kids) to the Museum, a special program or some of our tried and true exhibits may be a good opportunity to get everyone engaged and involved!
Last year, I ran the Children’s Museum 5K Road Race with a 6 month old. It was definitely a different experience from the previous races I had run. My son, wearing a *slightly* smaller version of the Captain America shirt that Daddy runs in, mostly stayed quiet the whole race while I talked loudly and often to him throughout the race. It was the first time during a race that – when encountering a downhill portion of the course – I yelled, “Wheeeee!”
Like I said, a different experience.
This year, the experience changed again.
#1. That 6 month old suddenly (at least it felt sudden) had become an 18 month old, had a mouth full of teeth, is obsessed with his Thomas the Tank Engine sunglasses and waving and shouting to most people (and animals – especially animals) he sees on a leisurely walk around our neighborhood. A very busy Road Race & Fun Run? Would it be too overwhelming? Would he have a meltdown? Would I need to keep raisins in my shorts pocket? He loves raisins.
#2. As the museum’s Media Producer, I would be photographing and videotaping different portions of Race Day. And pushing my son in the stroller at the same time.
#3. If things turned upside-down (something that any parent of a toddler can attest happens roughly every 20-30 minutes), I would have to leave the course and head back to the museum for an extended raisin-filled time out.
Please enjoy the following look at our participating in the 30th Annual CMNH 5K Road Race and Fun Run.
Father & Son, pre-race, sporting the official hashtag of the CMNH Road Race!
Long time volunteers and former staff Ann, Gabe & Anne help man the registration tables for those picking up their race bibs and the many racers that wait to check the weather that morning and register the day of the race
It was still a little chilly about 15 minutes before race time.
One of the largest groups of runners at this year’s race!
Getting to the starting line on time can be difficult when there’s a . . . FIRETRUCK PIT STOP!
Face Painting is always a popular activity at our road races.
CMNH Volunteer and Miss Teen NH Caroline moments before she sings the National Anthem.
One more minute until the starting pistol starts the 30th Annual CMNH 5K Road Race!
On your mark . . .
Get set . . .
Making our way up Central Avenue!
Cutting across Chapel Street next to Kendall Pond Pizza II & Janetos!
“Horsies! Horsies!” the voice from the stroller cried out as we continued up Portland Ave. The Dover Mounted Patrol joined our volunteers at Rogers St in cheering on the races. (Which also convinced my son that there would be horses waiting for him at the end of every street we passed.)
CMNH Media Producer Zach and his son ran the 5K this morning. We checked in with them at Mile #1 to see how the father/son team was holding up. We'll give you a hint: Someone was missing the third member of their team! #CMNH #CMNH5K #CMNHrace #CMNHzf #SeacoastRoadRaceSeries #AtlanticAvenue #FamilyFun #FatherAndSon #Mile1 #SeacoastNH #DoverNH #NewHampshire
A video posted by Children's Museum of NH (@childrensmuseumofnh) on May 2, 2015 at 3:04pm PDT
Long time CMNH volunteer Frank prepares runners for the Fairway Meadows Cul-de-sac. What he DIDN’T prepare me for is that there would be cute puppy dogs that live on said cul-de-sac. Cute puppy dogs that my son INSISTED we stop the stroller for so we could point at them. Repeatedly. “Doggie, Doggie, Doggie!” was his repeated yelp. That is, until he came up to the top of the loop and quickly remembered that his grandfather was helping to man the water station!
After 1.5 miles mostly uphill, our Water Station volunteers were a very welcome sight for our course runners! #CMNH #CMNH5K #CMNHrace #CMNHvolunteers #WaterStation #SeacoastRoadRaceSeries #SeacoastNH #DoverNH #NewHampshire
A photo posted by Children's Museum of NH (@childrensmuseumofnh) on May 2, 2015 at 4:52pm PDT
It’s all (mostly) downhill after the Mile #2 marker! And this is about when the cries for, “Grampa!” finally gave way to “Balloon! Balloon! Balloon!”, which itself turned to excited garbles of “PONYHORSIEPONY!” as we approached the Mounted Patrol Stables on Cocheco Street.
CMNH volunteer & balloon wrangler Jess mans the hill leading from Cocheco Street to Portland Avenue.
Looking out over the Cocheco River as we round the bend towards Mile Marker #3!
Can it really be Mile #3?! Are we almost there?
These two long time CMNH members both participated on race day; 5K for Mom and Fun Run for Son!
Two local runners who run the CMNH 5K every year!
Long time Children’s Museum 5K mascot, Albert the Alligator getting ready for the Fun Run! (Has anyone else ever noticed that Doug is always missing when it’s time for the Fun Run? Hmmmmm . . .)
Stop the presses – BANANA BREAK!
CMNH Educator Sarah and Albert the Alligator lead the junior racers in some stretches before the race begins
And they’re off!
My wife and son running in the Toddler 50 yd. dash. He might just make this!
You’ve . . . um, gone . . . off course . . .
And . . . he’s decided he’s running an entirely different race now. To each his own!
CMNH volunteer extraordinaire Terri mans the CMNH/Hannaford Foodworks Yogurt Bar in Henry Law Park
You’d be bananas to miss out on the miles of food post-race at our Hospitality Tent! (See what I did there?)
Bookings Manager Caitlynne, Corporate Relations Manager Katie and CMNH Board Member Sarah were running behind the scenes all morning to make sure everything ran smoothly!
Well, that’s another CMNH Road Race & Fun Run in the books! We’re already preparing for Race #31! Did you run the race? We hope you had as much fun as we did!
Yesterday, March 14th, in addition to being Albert Einstein’s 136th birthday, was Pi Day. March 14th = 3.14 = Pi Day. Since Physicist Larry Shaw put together the first official Pi Day celebration in San Francisco back in 1988, the deliciously mathematical holiday has only grown exponentially in popularity.
Last year, we focused more on the delicious side of Pi Day festivities. This year? We got down to pi business. Because many of our visitors are still in elementary school, trying to explain pi exclusively with terms like “irrational number”, “mathematical constant” or “Madhava-Leibniz series” isn’t exactly the most fruitful plan of attack.
So how can you make the math fun? Multiplication? No problem. Geometrical shapes? Sure. But the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter? That’s a bit bigger of a fraction to follow!
Enter Museum Educator Sarah Terry. I asked Sarah, who returned to CMNH at the end of 2014 after first joining our team in October of 2011, how she approached a subject that seems, on the surface, to be rather dry and difficult to build a day of fun around.
“I’ve always thought math was a lot of fun,” Sarah said. “There’s something so satisfying about working with problems and equations that can be solved. In the humanities, you don’t come across too many situations where there is a definitive right answer. It tends to be based on opinion. Well-reasoned and supported opinions, but still debatable. The rationality of mathematics always seemed comforting in comparison.”
But can Rational = Interesting? Can Rational = Fun? Sarah was confident it could be both.
“When you come across something like pi, which is an infinite number with no apparent pattern or repetition, it’s pretty mind-blowing,” admits Sarah. “How can something as crazy and enormous of a number that’s been calculated out thus far to over 12 trillion digits also be considered a mathematical constant? Every circle that has been or ever will be created will find that its circumference divided by its diameter will be pi. It’s unwieldy and baffling and I looked forward to coming up with activities that could show our visitors that things as awesome as pi actually make math – yes, math – pretty cool!”
Using CMNH’s Colorful Classroom space as her home base, Sarah taught visitors young and old about pi. Some had never heard of it. Some had learned about it in school but had forgotten the specifics. Some were wearing Pi Day shirts. Using a variety of colorful craft activities coupled with the promise that if you located her over the course of Pi Day and recited a fact about Pi, Sarah would paint the pi symbol on your cheek, visitors left yesterday with a newfound appreciation – and hopefully, enthusiasm – for the wild, wacky, infinite constant that is pi!
We hope you and your family had a Happy Pi Day and look forward to you spending Pi Day 2016 with us here at CMNH!
“Pi lets us show off the oddball side of math and lets us stretch our imaginations,” Sarah said.
What’s a Pi Chain? Good question! Here’s the answer: 0-9 are each represented by a color. Following the order of numbers in pi, can you make an accurate chain that is correctly represented by the 10 colors? Can you make a longer Pi Day Pi Chain than your friends and family?
Valentine’s Day is a pretty big deal at a Children’s Museum and here at CMNH, it’s no different.
We’re in the middle of hosting our first ever Alice in Wonderland Tea Party and it’s a huge hit! Don’t worry: there’s no calling for “off with their heads”! Instead, we’re enjoying tea, juice, decorating our own cookies and flowers, and listening to the Queen of Hearts read from Lewis Carroll’s 1865 classic.The Three of Hearts (Meghan) & The Queen of Hearts (Sarah) preside over the CMNH Alice in Wonderland Tea Party
While we celebrate this holiday full of love, friendship and fun, take a walk down memory lane with some of these special valentines from decades past. Do you remember any of them? Did you give or receive some of these when you were a child?Dorothy & The Tin Man – The Wizard of Oz, 1930sSuperman, 1940sSorcerer Mickey – Fantasia, 1950sLudwig Von Drake, 1950s
Batman, 1960sHuckleberry Hound, 1960s
Ronald McDonald, McDonald’s – 1970sMiss Piggy & Animal – The Muppets, 1980sDonatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1980s
Wicket & R2-D2 – Return of the Jedi, 1980sTails & Sonic – Sonic the Hedgehog, 1990sMichael Jordan – Chicago Bulls, 1990sRaccoon Mario – Super Mario Brothers 3, 1990s
Donkey – Shrek, 2000sWall-E, 2000s
CMNH Staff celebrating Valentine’s Day 2015
The picture above is of CMNH staff showing all the ways that your donation to the museum helps us achieve our mission and vision every day. If you want to be our Valentine this year, please take a look at our Start Strong Fund initiative and see how you can help today and every day in the lives of the children and families in our community.
Happy Valentine’s Day from your friends at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire!
Looking past the snow piled outside my window on a cold February day, it is easy to daydream of warm breezes, family road trips and summer adventures that are many months in the future.
For the past three years, the Museum’s car raffle fundraiser has given people a reason to daydream the winter away, hoping to win a fun summer ride in the spring.
This year we’ve changed up the format a bit – our Joyride Raffle gives one lucky winner their choice of a new Nissan Quest S minivan, a Harley Davidson Glide motorcycle or $20,000 cash prize.* Our second prize winner will ride away on a 2015 Honda Ruckus scooter thanks to our friends at Nault’s Powersports.
With a maximum of 750 total tickets sold, the odds of winning are exponentially better than the Powerball (an estimated 1 out of 176 million)! We’ll be drawing the winning tickets at Port City Nissan on April 16th — and I can tell you from past drawings that it’s pretty exciting to be in a room with people anticipating that they will win a big prize!
If I won this year’s raffle, I would have difficulty deciding which prize to choose.
Or maybe the Harley Street Glide is the way to go. I don’t have a motorcycle license, but my husband does, and driving down coastal roads with the scent of salt air and the sun warming my back would be pure joy.
Then there is always the cash prize. I could be practical and invest my winnings for the kids’ college or retirement OR I could splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation to Europe, home improvements or a combination of these options.
Even if I wasn’t the grand prize winner, the Honda Ruckus second prize would be a great way to zip around town for errands and fun trips to places where parking is at a premium. I would put a basket on the front of mine.
The great news is that one of these daydreams can come true for anyone who participates in the Joyride Raffle.
Now my question is: if you win the Joyride Raffle, which prize will you choose?
For more information or to purchase your own Joyride Raffle ticket(s), visit this link or call the Museum at 603-742-2002 during normal business hours. Proceeds benefit the Museum’s programs and exhibits.
* see website for full details, taxes not included
The award-winning duo Peg + Cat visited the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire yesterday. Curious Peg & her hilarious best friend Cat get into math-related hi-jinx each day on their PBS program. While they are ably assisted in their adventures by characters such as Ramone, The Pirates, Richard the Space Alien, and even George Washington & Cleopatra, Peg & Cat and their delightful wordplay and songs are the reason families keep tuning in.
With the news that Saturday Morning Cartoons are now officially a thing of the past, let’s take this opportunity to look at some famous dynamic duos from the world of children’s television shows.
Chip ‘N’ Dale made their debut in 1943 in a series of animated shorts that pitted them against either Pluto the Dog or Donald Duck. While often taking background roles in many Disney shorts and specials, a new audience met Chip ‘N’ Dale in 1989 when they anchored their own cartoon with “Chip ‘N’ Dale Rescue Rangers” as part of the Disney Afternoon block of programming.
Beany & Cecil began as a Puppet Show in 1949 created by famed Warner Brothers animator Bob Clampett. Beany had the ability to fly using his patented beanycopter while the childlike Cecil the Sea Serpent often stayed in water and was so large that his tail was rarely seen as it would continue “off screen”. It relaunched as an animated show in 1959 and then was relaunched again in 1988 as the “The New Adventures of Beany & Cecil” cartoon.
Rocky & Bullwinkle were the stars of their own variety show that ran from 1959-1964. Created by Jay Ward, the show was responsible for introducing not only the legendary title characters, but Dudley Do-Right, Boris Badenov, Natasha Fatale, Mr. Peadbody & Sherman. Many of the characters were given life by voiceover legends June Foray, Paul Frees, Bill Scott and Daws Butler. The show was popular with children as well as adults due to its clever wordplay and intelligent writing.
Bert and Ernie debuted on Sesame Street in the summer of 1969. They were the first of Jim Henson’s creations to appear on the show – a part of it from the very first episode, pre-dating Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird. Best friends Bert and Ernie are meant to represent the curiosity and behaviors of 6-7 year olds. Ernie, famed for his dedication to his rubber ducky, loves pulling tricks on the pigeon-loving Bert, the most popular (and absurd) of which is pulling off Bert’s nose for comic effect.
Scooby Doo & Shaggy premiered in the Saturday morning cartoon, “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” in the fall of 1969. The two perpetually frightened – and hungry – best friends have starred in a large variety of tv shows, comic books and movies since their debut. Each generation seems to rediscover Scoob, Shag, Velma, Daphne and Fred solving supernatural capers in their Mystery Machine.
Danger Mouse & Penfold first premiered in the United Kingdom in 1981, but saw their popularity reach even greater heights when US markets (most notably Nickelodeon) imported “Danger Mouse” – a cheeky take on James Bond – in 1984. Danger Mouse occupied the role of the heroic British spy while Ernest Penfold is his consistently nervous hamster sidekick prone to yell out, “Crumbs, D.M.!” or, ‘Oh, carrots!” before falling to pieces in the face of danger.
The Tick & Arthur are two lovable – if not often highly ridiculous superheroes – who live in The City. Originally created by Ben Edlund in 1986 for New England Comics, The Tick & Arthur were exposed to a much larger audience when their 1994 Saturday morning cartoon debuted on Fox. Fox was the home of the next incarnation of The Tick as well when a live-action version debuted in 2001. The Tick embodies several of the most popular mainstream superheroes in his origin, powers and behaviors (a healthy mix of Superman, Batman & Spider-Man) though his catchphrase (“Spoooooooooon!”) is wholly his own. The much more responsible and down-to-Earth Arthur is often getting him out of jams – some caused by supervillains, some caused by The Tick.
Wallace & Grommit, the brainchild of Nick Park from Aardman Animations, made their debut in 1989 in the Oscar-nomniated short film, “A Grand Day Out”. Their next two shorts – “The Wrong Trousers” & “A Close Shave” – and their first full-length feature, “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” all won Academy Awards. Though Wallace is an inventor – specializing in Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions – most would agree that the silent Grommit is the smarter of the two, getting Wallace out of trouble or helping his inventions go more smoothly when he’s not busy knitting, playing chess or drinking tea. Though their adventures and occupations change with each outing, one thing that never changes is Wallace & Grommit being the best of friends.
Dora & Boots have been inseparable since their introduction in 2000 with the premiere of “Dora the Explorer”. Boots, who’s always sporting his trademark red boots, assists Dora during her adventures as they solve riddles and and figure out puzzles while often focusing on a strong bilingual component. Dora & Boots’ adventures proved so popular that they not only spun off their own books, video games and stage shows, but a brand new show as well: 2005’s “Go, Diego, Go!” which focused on animal rescue and environmental concerns with Dora’s cousin Diego.
Peg & Cat from Peg + Cat have only been entertaining families since 2013, but they’ve made such a favorable impression that the show won three Emmy Awards for its first season! Created by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson, based on the book “The Chicken Problem”, the math-focused adventures of Peg & Cat bring them in contact with an incredibly large array of characters and showcases some of the best songwriting ever created in the history of children’s programming. Peg & Cat are deeply loyal, deeply hilarious and deeply curious. These qualities make the show an absolute joy for children and parents alike. Thank you again to New Hampshire Public Television and PBS Kids for making it possible for Peg + Cat to be a part of CMNH’s big day!
Were you familiar with most of these dynamic duos? Do your children know any of them? Who did we forget? Let us know your favorite duo in the comments!
A few weeks ago, I ran the 29th Annual Children’s Museum of New Hampshire 5K Race & Fun Run. Full disclosure: I didn’t run the Fun Run. I’ve aged out of that bracket.
This was my sixth CMNH 5K and, unlike the first five that I ran, I approached the sixth much, much differently.
My preparation for my first five museum races broke down something like this:
2009-2013 Race Prep
- Don’t eat or drink something stupid the night before
- Go to bed early and get plenty of sleep the eve of the race
- Eat some dry toast and maybe a few bites of banana for breakfast
- Load up my ipod or cell phone with a good race tracklist for the run (usually heavy on songs with strong, steady beats, like Daft Punk and Talking Heads) – something I find essential to a good running experience
- Walk down to Henry Law Park early enough to get in plenty of stretching time (say, 30 minutes or so) pre-race
- Find a place among the racers that keeps me as far away from the parents with strollers as possible. It’s great that they’re running with their kids, but they’ll just get in my way
- Get ready for the starting gun and focus on the goal of beating my time from the previous year
Simple enough, no?
This year’s list was going to need a little tweaking – some voluntary, some involuntary. Why? Well . . . I wasn’t racing alone this year.
2014 Race Prep
– Go to bed after I finally eat dinner which won’t happen until we finally get the 5 1/2 month old baby – who happens to be teething – down for the night
– Wake up at 5:30 AM because that’s what time the baby has decided he’s going to be awake
– Stand at the stove half-asleep and make eggs for breakfast because the baby has decided that he wants Daddy and he to race in matching Captain America shirts and that we should use our Captain America spatula while making breakfast. Therefore, eggs
– Decorate our racing bibs in special Captain America stickers that the baby insisted Daddy buy for the race
– Walk down to Henry Law Park the long way so Mommy can get a coffee at Adelle’s and Daddy can stress out about potentially not getting to the race on time
– Meet up with the baby’s Nana, Memere, two cousins, Aunt, and Grandfather at Henry Law Park – all of whom are either running, walking or volunteering at the event
– Rush, with the baby in the stroller, to get in line
– Check on the baby to make sure he’s ok for the 47th time in the last half hour
– Forgo any headphones or music because I’ll obviously need to be listening for every sigh, gasp, squeak and titter that the baby makes
– 25 seconds before the gun goes off, realize I have no idea what a running belt is, that I have nothing on my person to strap my son’s stroller belt into, that this is all some sort of horrible mistake and will likely end with me on the side of the road with a sprained ankle, two full diapers, and lots of crying
– 20 seconds before the gun goes off, panic. A lot
– 15 seconds before the gun goes off, remember that your race time doesn’t matter and that you’re just in this for you and the baby to have a good time
– 10 seconds before the gun goes off, hear your baby start laughing at the fact that he just stuck his whole fist in his mouth
– 5 seconds before the gun goes off, smile and remember that this is the last time you’ll be able to take your baby on his first race
It wasn’t my easiest race. But, my goodness, it was the most fun race I’ve ever run. Our volunteer staff is always awesome when it comes to cheering the racers on and this year was no different – but, for me, it felt different. The cheers seemed louder. The adrenaline seemed stronger. In addition to the volunteers, you also have many citizens of Dover who come out to watch the race. Yes, it stops traffic for a bit. Yes, there’s detours. Yes, it can be a brief inconvenience. But all the bystanders have huge smiles on their faces and – especially in the last mile – they’re yelling out encouragement, they’re telling you it’s not that much longer and they’re yelling at the top of their lungs that you – yes, YOU – are going to make it! They’re having fun and whether we runners and walkers look like it, I promise you, we’re having fun too! But this year? This year was different.
The biggest difference? The talking. Oh, the talking. Listen, I was voted Most Talkative so many years in a row in middle and high school that they retired my jersey. And my baby and I? We talk. A lot. All the time. Heck, I even talk to pictures of my baby when he’s at daycare. Is that normal? I don’t know. Maybe. Despite working with children for over a decade, this is my first time at the Dad Rodeo.* But the talking! The talking! I’m not referring to the baby. I’m referring to me! It’s one thing to regulate your breathing during a race. But it’s another thing to try to regulate your breathing while you’re talking to your tiny little son for 3.1 miles. Despite my verbose nature, I’m not used to uttering one word during a race. Maybe a cough or a vocalized wince, but certainly not sentences. Certainly not elaborate conversations.
* – (At the Dad Rodeo, you win if you can change a diaper in the dark without waking up the baby in under 8 seconds. But you’re still likely going to be a clown.)
Things I verbalize to Cap Jr. during the CMNH 5K
– Believe it or not, we haven’t even officially gone over the Starting Line yet.
– We don’t have to wait for the walk sign this time. Just trust me.
– Whoa. Pal, look at that guy over there. I think he’s still out from last night. No. Don’t stare.
– Yeah. It’s slow moving at first. But we’ll break away once we get to Portland Ave.
– Hmmmm . . . maybe Dad should have investigated sun screen?
– But seriously, you’re fine? Because I can’t really see you that well.
– He actually prefers Cap Jr. or Lil’ Cap! (in response to someone yelling, “Go Baby Cap!”)
– Stu! Don’t throw water at my baby! (in response to the water station volunteers’ exuberance)
– Daddy’s going to say a bad word. The other side of this cul-de-sac is &%#$@!
– If you want to yell, “Wheeeeee!” as we go down the hill, Dad totally signs off on that.
– Wheeeeeeeeeeee! (in response to Cap Jr’s failure to do so as we go down the Cocheco St. hill to hit Mile Marker 2)
– I think that’s your cousin Garrett up ahead. No . . . we’re not catching up to him. Because Daddy’s more than 20 years older than your cousin, that’s why.
– Yup. That’s what horses do sometimes, pal. Yup. Sometimes right in the street.
– Don’t yell “on your left” to Nana! It’s rude!
– Yes, those guys are running in the opposite direction. Because . . . they . . . already finished and . . . are circling back to run . . . a 10K.
– There’s Grampa! Wave to Grampa!
– No, Grampa! We can’t stop for a picture! Meet us at the finish line!
– Yes, that volunteer is on a unicycle.
– No, I don’t know why that volunteer is on a unicycle.
– Aarrrrgh! (Translated: “I can’t believe your Aunt Kate just snaked by us in the last 2 seconds of the race!”)
The first thing I used to do after a race (once my vision came back, my inhaler patched my lungs over, and I wrung the sweat out of my eyebrows) was to stretch. And I made sure to stretch this time too. Once I checked on the baby and finally looked in his eyes for the first time in over a half hour and made sure he was fine. He was actually exhausted and pretty much out cold. Wouldn’t you be after flying all around Dover and listening to your Dad endlessly spout at you? And if you woke up and watched your mom cross the finish line and then she brought you to meet a giant alligator named Albert, wouldn’t that just be the best day ever?
One of the most magical things that happens at the CMNH 5K & Fun Run each year is the sense of community. Former and current employees and board members and long time volunteers return to help or participate in the event. Families run together. Elementary school classes run together. Scout groups run together. Co-workers, trivia teams, running groups – they’re all represented.
There was a runner there that told me that morning that this was his 100th race. Cap Jr. still has a bit more mileage to hit before he enters the triple digits. But I won’t care what his race times are. Or if he ate the right protein bar beforehand. Or what music he listens to when he runs. As long as he has fun.
At 32 minutes and 44 seconds, it was my worst 5K time ever. But who cares? I wouldn’t change a thing. (Well, maybe next year, we’ll aim for a bit more sleep the night before. I’m going to assume Cap Jr.’s teeth will finally be in by then.)