When you imagine the traditional Rites of Passage, you might think of learning to ride a bike, or starting grade school, or getting your first job. In our family, "attending your 1st Orioles game" also counts as an important milestone on the road to growing up. Derek, being the first child, was toted along in a Baby Bjorn when he was about 3 months old. And he has since sat through countless innings with rapt attention, tearing his eyes away from the action only to ask for more food. With the second child, however, our attendance dwindled, due to cost, and logistics, and Riley's lack of interest in holding down a stadium seat for a 3-hour sporting event.
Finally this year he began asking when he would be allowed to go to a game. (you know, it's all about what my brother gets to do, and why I can't do it also!) With only slight foreboding, we agreed. We even picked a giveaway day, so at least the boys would be handed something to play with on the way in (nobody cares what's happening down on the field, as long as they have their free WebKinz). And what do you know, Riley--if not watched the game--at least sat in his seat and behaved like an actual fan for 8 innings! (This is even more impressive when you consider that it was approximately 900 degrees that day...and humid!)
It was a very important game, too. Not because of the Orioles, 23 games below .500 in dead-last place, but because in about the 5th inning Riley turned to me and said, "Mommy, I lost my tooth in my cup of ice!" Sure enough, that very first little baby tooth, loose for at least a month, was looking up at us from among the free ice chips they give away on hot summer days at Camden Yards. What can I say, I'm a mom, so I of course clapped and squealed with delight, as if he'd done something much more remarkable than biting into an ice cube. Maybe I made more noise than I thought, or maybe the game was just that dull, but everyone in our section turned to see, and spontaneously gave a congratulatory cheer.
So, my "baby" turns 6 tomorrow, minus one tooth, but with a cool memory to show for it (not to mention his stuffed Oriole-bird toy)! It will be just fine with me, though, if the other 19 teeth are not quite as dramatic!