I’ve experienced the immense joy of watching multiple fireworks displays while driving down the road several times in my life. Two of these trips I was riding or driving from Colorado, across Kansas, down to Oklahoma and saw them along the way. The most memorable trip; however, occurred when I was driving south from my aunt’s house in Wyoming to my other aunt’s house in Ft. Collins, CO. We had spent some time shooting off fireworks in Wyoming, and it was time to go back to Ft. Collins – where we were staying – to get some sleep. My mom was riding with me, and my two young sons were in the backseat.
My oldest son, whom I affectionately refer to as Thing 1, was about 4 years old. My youngest son, Thing 2 (of course!) had just turned 3 in June. Some of the cousins had glow stick bracelet/necklace things and had given my boys each a couple. Glow sticks are, as expected, the coolest things on the planet, and my kids were holding onto theirs with a death grip. This is totally a side note, but why do people say “it’s like taking candy from a baby” – have you ever tried to take candy (or a special treasure) from a baby? The world (or at the very least, the parents) will suffer if you take that object away from the baby!
I’m driving, Mom’s riding, the boys are in the backseat, and we are all enjoying the beautiful night, with fireworks all over the place for us to enjoy. We watched several of the big town displays bursting in air. It was shaping up to be an absolutely perfect drive when the most horrifying screaming came from the backseat. I pulled the van over to the side of the road, turned to look in the backseat and found that Thing 1 was glowing in the mouth, still screaming about the pain, and it took me about 1/5th of a second to realize he’d bitten into a glow stick. Here I am, on the side of the interstate, pulling him out of the car, trying to get him to spit and dialing the 1-800-222-1222 Poison Control number that I thought was for Oklahoma. Turns out that number directs you to the Colorado Poison Control Center when you’re in Colorado – go figure!
Thing 1 is still screaming at the top of his lungs, we’re still along the highway, and Poison Control assures me that the glow stuff from a glow stick is non-toxic. It irritates mucus membranes and is likely quite painful (as if the screaming didn’t tell me that) but he would suffer no lasting damage. He should have some milk to soothe the mucus membrane and have a happy Fourth!
Once I got my baby calmed down, got all of the glowing goo of his car seat, and bagged up, we headed down the road again. My Mom and I enjoyed several more colorful explosions, but the kids fell asleep so our peaceful serenity was not interrupted by screaming again — which is a good thing, my nerves could not have handled a repeat offense.