Monthly Archives: October 2010

The weekend before Halloween

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Our neighborhood hosts a Halloween parade every year on the Sunday before.  Of course, the men of Christ Renews His Parish scheduled a retreat the same day, which divided my time to help prepare the kids.  When I arrived home, the doll, complete in her witch costume informed me she was embarrassed to be near her brother.  “Why, did he come up with a good costume?”  “No, mom, he’s going as himself except he’s wearing a hat.”  ‘Well”, I began, “He is a scary dude in his own right, with all that hair…maybe that could be enough”.  Not buying my explanation she said, “Whatever Mom, but I’m not claiming him as my brother”.  “Whatever? Is right!

The boy had made plans the day before with Marg, to accompany her to the parade.  Afterward, they would receive various candies thrown from the cars and floats and then run back to her house to play.  The idea was to be at her house by 12:30 pm in costume so they would arrive together at the 1 pm set up.  The boy’s father, feeling sorry for him, took both kids out shopping for the right accessories for their costumes, yet the only thing the boy found that he liked was an “Indiana Jones” styled hat.  I met up with him while he was walking down to Marg’s.  “Boy, you’re not in costume, where are you going?”  As he walked past me he said, “Yes I am, I’m wearing a hat.  That’s my costume”.  ‘Wait, you’re going as yourself except you’re wearing a hat?”  “No mom” he began, “I’m going as a super commando sniper, who wears a cool hat”.  He lifted his jacket in the back to reveal to me a Nerf gun he had placed in the waist band of his camouflage shorts.  “See I got the gun, the hat and the style.  I’m good to go!  Love ya momma”.

 

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“how about being grateful?”

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“Give me a break!  We’re at Disney world, ‘The Happiest Place on Earth!’  we really can’t afford it, yet here we are!  How about being grateful for a change instead of upset that you’re not getting your way…” I said this to both kids, on more than one occasion.  You know that old saying, “you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” certainly applied to my children as we walked around Disney World.  Regardless what park we were in, each kid took a break from reality and tried to present disappointments because they were not getting their way.   “I don’t want to go on that ride” the boy would complain. “Mom, why do we have to do all the stuff the boy wants to do” the doll would say, and on and on they would go.

Finally when we had had just about enough of their squabbles, quibbles and overall boorish behavior,  we threatened to take them back to the resort, where they would be forced to do nothing but sit in the corner and look at one another. But, remembering that old Mommy handbook line that states, “If you’re going to punish the child, make sure you don’t punish yourself as well” kept us from following through on that threat.  Instead we came up with a brilliant idea: we separated the kids. (DUH!!)

The doll wanted to see the parade which was about to begin, while the boy wanted to explore Tom Sawyer’s Island.  NO BRAINER!!!  Because of the distance from where we were to where the island lay, I chose to go with the boy, leaving the doll in her father and Grandmother’s care.  This way, Grammy wouldn’t have to walk as far.   The atmosphere in the park began to change, as people moved to their best viewing spots to watch as the parade travelled through.  The boy and I quickly moved past and hopped on a boat which transported us to Tom’s island.  As loudspeakers broadcast music for the parade, the boy and I were toned them out, instead going into caves, climbing into tree houses and sitting on rocking chairs, looking out onto the lagoon.

To be honest, that was one of my most favorite times during our vacation.  While sitting on that rocking chair, the boy and I talked about the stories he tells the doll before bedtime; the characters, the action, their newfound abilities…gamma rays unexpectedly transforming regular zoo visitors and the animals into more fierce, evil fighting superheroes.  Watching his imagination at work—priceless!  I guess you could say, I was grateful for that time with him.



highlights part two

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One of the Disney interactive shows at the Magic Kingdom is Monsters Inc. Laugh-Floor, based on the movie, Monsters Inc., which elicits several unsuspecting audience members to interact with the monsters on the screen.  The premise is to create enough clean “laugh” power to support the Monster’s energy grid. As the show progressed, a younger alien “comedian” asked if he could speak to the kid who’s so happy to be here, she blew the top off her hat.  All of a sudden a bright light came on before us, and lo and behold, the doll was up on the big screen, wearing her Pluto signed Disney visor.  “Hi what’s your name?” the alien asked.  Star struck she became very bashful and quiet.  “Doll” she said with a whisper.  “I’m sorry, what was that?”  “Doll, my name is doll” she said with more conviction.  “Hi Doll, what’s your favorite food?”  At that moment, something happened I never thought could happen to this child.  She was struck silent.  Equally part embarrassed and bashful; she could not utter a sound, which brought about “cute” type laughter from the audience.  “Um, let’s ask you something easier, “What’s your favorite animal?” the alien asked.   Regaining her vocal abilities she uttered, “Fox”, which caught me by surprise, considering the number of times she’s asked to adopt a cat. Then the alien asked, “Do you know why 6 is afraid of 7?” “Yes” she said in return.  After a pause for laughter, the alien asked again, “Can you tell me why 6 is afraid of 7?”  Realizing she hadn’t delivered the punch line, she giggled then said, “Because 789”, which brought enough laughter to fill the monsters energy grid (yay!) and end the show; all the while creating lifetime memories for the doll.

greetings…..

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When one travels to Disney World there are certain expectations to meet one or more of the many famous members of the Disney family.  We were lucky running into several different characters and fortunately for me, I had my camera at the ready.  What’s cool about Disney is at any given time you can find a character just about anywhere.  The first time we walked into the Animal Kingdom theme park, I directed the kids over to a bench, to wait for their Father and Grandmother, who had to enter at a different checkpoint.  In doing so, I noticed Pluto, standing all by his lonesome, just waiting for some nice red haired children, with brand new Disney visors, to come walking by.  Without much thought, I directed the kids over to see him, where he signed their hats, goofed around with them and then gave me the chance to jump into the picture with them.

Another day in the Animal Kingdom, we hit the mother lode of good luck, meeting Turk the gorilla, from Tarzan; Rafikki the baboon, from the Lion King movie, along with an ol’ time favorite, Jiminy Cricket and the doll’s dream come true, Pocahontas.  As you can imagine, the boy was a bit unimpressed.  After all, everywhere you looked, there were real live animals, way more impressive than the Disney characters.

In fact, if he had his way, the only pictures on the camera would have been of live animals.  Take for instance Fruit bats.  The boy begged for this picture, saying to me, “That’s going to be my new screen saver Mom”.   Too bad he doesn’t have his own computer.

Another day, we had a wonderful buffet breakfast at the Crystal Palace, where Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore are Piglet hang out.  Of course breakfast would not be complete without pictures of the kids with these wonderful guys. Why they even had a chance to walk in a parade around the restaurant with them.

The best greeting though, had nothing to do with any of the Disney characters; but rather, Mary, Elle and their family.  We knew we were all going to be at Disney at the same time, what we didn’t know was whether we would be able to coordinate getting together.  While being seated for dinner Monday night, out of a hallway walked Mary and Elle, screaming with delight upon seeing the doll standing before them.  Seems our restaurants shared the same bathroom.  And as luck would have it, Mary had taken the wrong turn exiting the bathroom and walked straight into us.  I guess Disney says it best, “It’s a small world, after all!”

highlights part one

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Best “line” of our vacation:  The doll’s Grandmother purchased Disney visors for each kid.  As we were leaving the resort hotel room one morning, the doll asked, “Do I need to put my futon on my head?”  Looking at her with an odd look on my face I said, “What?”  “My futon Mom, you know the thing that Grammy bought”.  “Do you mean the visor?”  “Visor, futon, what’s the difference?”  ‘Well one you wear and one you sleep on”.   “Oh”.

Disappearing Act: Inside the Animal Kingdom they have an attraction called, “Expedition Everest” which is a roller coaster that comes in contact with the “famed” Yeti of the Asian continent.  My Crypto-zoologist in training, boy pulled a disappearing act, when the pictures of us riding the coaster appeared on the screens.  Both times we rode the coaster, even though he was physically in the seat, he ducked so far down, out of fear from the Yeti, he completely disappeared from view.

Water Works:  At The Animal Kingdom, there is a water ride, The Kali River Rapids that promises passengers will get soaked.  The doll wanted to go on this ride so bad, her father relented.  Meanwhile the boy, Grammy and I hung out on an overlook, camera ready to take pictures. Sure enough they emerged fully soaked.  The next day, we went back to the Animal kingdom to conquer that ride.  The kids and their father wore bathing suits.  I, the level headed one, chose to stay on the bridge, holding all electronic devices that do not do well in water.  The boy emerged with very few wet spots.  The doll was very damp; the hubby was wet down his front side.  When the doll and dad went on the ride again, he emerged fully soaked front and back. That time the doll escaped getting as wet, meanwhile the boy, not wanting to press his luck, sat on the sidelines with me.

The next day while at the Magic Kingdom, the entire family rode Splash Mountain where the ‘cast’ members assured us, we might get sprinkled upon, but not much more.  The boy and his father were in the front seat.  I was directly behind the boy, the doll was located next to me, but behind her dad.  After the first splashes hit us the doll said, ‘That’s not cool dude”.  After the second wave, which made her even wetter, she exclaimed, “That’s not fair!” Then when all the water came tumbling in she yelled, “This is the worst day ever!”  We all emerged from the ride wet, but in varying degrees.  I had a slightly damp pair of shorts, while the other three were soaked and unhappy with the turn of events. Of course, I couldn’t help but enjoy their plight as I  listened to all their complaints.  Unlike my doll, my day was going  great!

the conversationalist…..

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We marvel at the fact the boy has an innate ability to strike up a conversation with just about anybody.  However, if you’re going to strike up a conversation with someone, you need a good opening line–which the boy appears to always have, regardless where he is located.  Sitting on a bus?  Easy:  “We are going east, because…” he said lifting his arms into the air and pointing in different directions, “the sun is just over the top of the sky, and if the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, then it’s logical to believe, we are headed east because, that would be north, that way is south and that is west, leaving this direction as east.” The funny thing about this is the people he’s addressing seem to be really interested in what he’s saying and carry on the conversation with him.   The boy certainly has a schmooze factor that the rest of us only dream of having.

Another bus ride home, his opening line was, “Is that your daughter?  How old is she.  She’s very pretty.  Have you been to the Animal Kingdom?  That’s my favorite place here at Disney…..” and on and on he went, engaging the woman with all the different animals he encountered that day.  For the boy, the park rides are not the attraction at this park.  The different species of animals in residence are.  I honestly believe, if we could have dropped him off at the Animal Kingdom on Saturday and picked him up on our way to the airport Wednesday, his vacation would have been better than it was.

On our last night at Disney, as we exited the park, the boys stopped to use one of the restrooms, while the girls continued walking to our bus stop.  When we arrived, we found two buses loading up with weary passengers.  I encouraged my mother in law to take the doll and go, while I waited for the next bus with the boys.  On the bus ride home, unencumbered by her brother, the doll struck up a conversation of her own, with an older couple, telling them about all the fun stuff she had done that day.  As my mother in law put it, “She engaged that couple and entertained them the entire ride home.  I guess the boy is not the only child with the schmooze factor after all.

Mr. Rigid

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Have you ever had an idea you believed in so much, that you couldn’t allow yourself to be swayed?  Meet my son, Mr. Rigid.  The boy was given that name this weekend, because no matter what new idea was placed before him, he wanted nothing to do with it.  “Boy, let’s go to the Haunted Mansion…”  “No, that ride is too cheesy, let’s do this instead…” he said while pointing toward a ride none of us were interested in. “Boy, let’s stop here for lunch…”  “No, I don’t want to eat that junk.  Just get me a hot dog at that cart.”

As is the nature of theme parks, no one kid can be happy at the same time.  Instead we were blessed with a litany of remarks we would rather not have heard  On more than one occasion the boy voiced his displeasure, “This place is boring, let’s go back to the other park” which prompted the doll to say “Mom, could we just leave the boy at the resort?”  But my all time favorite unsolicited remark came from both kids, “Do we have to go to the parks?  I mean, there’s a perfectly good pool here to swim in.”  Of course we also enjoyed (not) the run of the mill type questions such as: Why are we standing in this line? When is the bus going to arrive? When will I be allowed to buy a souvenir?

By the end of our trip the boy loosened up on his rigidity, but only slightly. He stayed true to who he is, even though that drives the rest of us nuts!