My parents got me and my kids three-day passes to Disney World for Christmas which is awesome because, as it turns out “the happiest place on earth” is also one of “the most expensive places on earth”. Yesterday, I took my kids to Hollywood Studios. We had a ton of fun and I learned a few things about my family as well, so really it was an educational trip.
1. I learned that I have absolutely no patience or tolerance for people who drift along in their own little world, completely oblivious to everyone else on the planet. Why must people suddenly stop in the middle of a crowded sidewalk to look at a map? Is it so difficult to consider the 80,000 thousand people behind them and walk 2 steps over to the side, out of the way?
2. I have absolutely no tolerance for people who try to spoon me while standing in line. Especially because not one of them was a cute, single man! Do these people have no concept of personal space? These are the same people who stand there watching their children smash into my butt repeatedly without intervening. By the end of the day, I resorted to turning around and coughing until it sounded like my lung would fall out, then stammering an apology and mumbling something about tuberculosis.
3. I wish I had Austin’s quick wit. As we walked toward a ride, a Disney cast member looked at Brooklyn and said, “Hello, Princess.” Without missing a beat, Austin replied, “Hi!” in his best ‘princess voice’.
4. I may have a slight problem with competition. After going on Midway Mania (a ride where you wear 3D glasses and shoot at arcade style targets to accumulate points), I slid out of the car and immediately asked my kids their scores. Upon hearing the numbers (and realizing I’d beaten them) I whipped my 3D glasses down as if I was spiking a football in the end zone, jumped up, did a little dance and cheered, “I beat you! Yes! Ha! In your face!” My kids (and a few hundred spectators) looked at me like the parenting failure I am.
5. My kids have amazing ingenuity. Because Brooklyn was too little to go on Rock’N’Roller Coaster, we took turns watching her while we used ride swap tickets. When I got off the ride and walked over to where Austin was watching Brooklyn, I saw that he had created a makeshift Tic-Tac-Toe game using small leaves for the Xs and bits of tree bark for the Os. The grid was constructed of small palm fronds. What a great idea to keep her occupied and it beats the heck out of the game ‘Punch me in the arm until I can no longer take the pain’. (I said they had amazing ingenuity; not that their ideas are always great.)
6. As self-reliant as I am, it’s sometimes hard to do everything myself. I hate to admit this one. Hate it. I’m used to taking care of everyone and everything and it bothers me to no end when I drop a ball. I give the advice to lighten up and give yourselves a break. I tell other parents not to worry over every little mistake. It’s not a big deal. And I wholeheartedly believe this wisdom I’m spouting. But I have a hard time accepting my own advice. I remembered my camera. I even remembered to charge the battery and make sure the memory card was installed. I remembered to go to the bank and pull out some cash for food. I remembered to go to the grocery store and get some granola bars and fruit snacks to have on hand in case the little kids got hungry instead of spending money on snacks in the park. I remembered to pack water bottles. I remembered to give Clay his penicillin before we left. But I forgot the tickets. When we were only fifteen minutes away from the park, we had to turn around and go home for them. I beat myself up for hours about this (and it was only partly due to the fact that Savannah was driving on the tollway and now I’d have to white-knuckle it even longer.)
7. I should never ask Austin and Savannah to hold my camera for me. Last night, after getting home, showering the germs of a million people off me, and getting my kids to bed, I sat down and looked at the pictures I’d taken throughout the day. There were about thirty close-ups of random people on my memory card. If you happened to be at Hollywood Studios yesterday, there’s a good chance I have a picture of you on my camera (especially if you were dressed oddly or had a goofy expression on your face or were picking your nose).