To distract myself from the fact that T. turned 5 yesterday – and ultimately to remain in complete denial that my baby is actually growing up (insert “shuddering sob” here) – we took the family to Busch Gardens for Memorial day. We left our home at 8am, made a quick stop at IHOP for breakfast (T. had always wanted to go) and then arrived at the park, ready to rumble. We returned back home, zombie-like, at 7pm. What a day.
And you know what? I am still exhausted. Of course, my children awoke bright eyed at 6:15am as if yesterday never happened. However, I am sitting here, sore, tired, sunburned and overwhelmed by the entire experience.
In an effort to debrief all that we did, I thought I would share our day with you.
Excited, singing, anticipating, strapped into the Saturn, almost there. Sunny, beautiful day, but – oh crap – its gonna be hot, lined up with cars, cars, cars, pay at the gate, more cars, guys waving flags, park in a row, efficient, lets get out, lets just finally GET there already. Unloading our circus: kids, sit n stand stroller, backpack fat with goldfish, pretzels, clothes, diapers, wipes, medicine, water bottles full, sippy cups sloshing. We skip the bus and speed walk to the gates. People everywhere, every shape, every color, every variety of hat, flip flop, sunglasses, stroller, tank top, tattoo, t-shirt, bathing suit. Smells like sunscreen, popcorn, animals, fun. Shuffling through the gates – moo; shiny, smiling, colorful characters dressed in gold walking on stilts meet guests, pose for pictures. T. hides. C. waves frantically. We’re in! Maps out. T. reads it carefully in stroller, C. gapes at the buildings, the fountains, the flowers, the people people people, roller coasters roaring everywhere, the birds, the loud music, the sun, the trees, the color, the movement. We take off to the new section. Shaded areas, plexiglass, OH TIGERS! Cool. T. runs to the rope playground, C. wants OUT of stroller. Climbing, splashing, wondering, yelling, screaming, LOOK AT ME MOMMY!!!, laughing, climbing and climbing and climbing. He’s so high. Diaper change time. Where is T.??? WHERE IS T.!!!! Hi mommy! Oh. Wrangling. I’m hungry. I’m firsty. Pretzels. Water. More sunscreen. Off we go. Next, the congo river rapids, I take T. He jumps and fidgets while we wait. For. a. half. hour. People. Too close. Staring at odd back tattoos. Annoying wet people. Eavesdropping. We’re almost there T. So close now. Almost there. Do you think we’ll get wet? Our turn, we jump on. 5 minutes later, we step out. We’re really really reeeeeally wet. Meet Daddy. Walking, dripping, why didn’t I wear my bathing suit? I’m hungry. I’m firsty. Lunch time. I want to go on the Merry go round!!! Where is a table. WHERE IS YOUR BROTHER?? How much for chicken fingers??? We’ll split one. Is that “God Bless America” in Carousel music? Lets go see the pirate while we wait! I WANT TO GO ON THE MERRY GO ROUND! French fries, mommy wants french fries, everyone is eating french fries, must have must have… OK, Daddy, will you take them on the merry go round? I sneak french fries. Kids back, a few bites of $6 chicken, off they run. Pack it up, throw it out. Off we go. Yelling, roller coasters, people, kids, babies, stroller traffic, teenaged couples, more tattoos, lets go on the train. Where do we park the stroller? Do you have T.? Look at the big turtles. Wow, honey, yeah, cool…. where is my camera? Mommy, here comes the train! Please keep your hands and feet inside the train at all times. C. doesn’t like that idea. Wrestle wrestle wrestle – look there’s a Giraffe! Wrestle wrestle wrestle – look there’s a rhino! Wrestle, HUG, don’t be scared of the tunnel, its ok C.! Train stops. Off we go, C. on shoulders, backpack on, T. holding hands with Daddy, on to the skyride. Another line. Waiting. More people. Weird T-shirts. Teenagers rolling their eyes. C. trying to climb over the wall. Singing “do your ears hang low” to keep kids happy. More teenagers roll their eyes. I fight urge to trip them. Onto skyride. C. clings to me but peeks out, T. in heaven. Peaceful. Quiet. I smell elephant poop. Off we go, back onto stroller, the show starts in 10 minutes! Race through more people, more tattoos, more families of 5 stretched across the walkways just not getTING OUT OF THE WAY!!!!! Excuse me! Thanks! Daddy takes C. off to the quiet monkey section with shade, waterfalls, where napping potential is high. I grab T. and run for the theater. Inside, dark, FREEZING! Clothes still wet. Sit down. MUSIC!!! LIGHTS!!! COLOR!!! Fun, beautiful, singing, puppets, animals, stories, escape. T. is enthralled. Out we walk with the crowds, moo, back into the heat, bright light, wheres Daddy? Text him. “W. R. U?” Text back. “C. slpng. w/ mnkees.” Off we go. There they are. Daddy giving loud kids playing near sleeping C. dirty looks. C. wakes up, groggy, grumpy. Off we go. More animals. More smells. More discoveries. More children elbowing their way in to see. Giraffe, meerkats, lions, hyenas, hippos, fish, turtles, alligators, elephants, snakes. Daddy takes T. onto another ride. I keep C. occupied by walking walking walking. Stopping to watch a lemur. Walking walking walking. Stop to look at an alligator. Walking. Walking. Out runs T. Happy!! The water almost got us! I’m hungry. I’m firsty. Off to find pizza. Stroller is so very heavy now. Must. Push. It. Uphill. Where IS pizza? Are you kidding me? More tattoos. More people in the way. Stroller traffic. Roller coasters zooming by. C. and T. stunned, fascinated. Over-stimmed out of their minds. Still trying to push through. More strollers. People stopped reading maps in FRONT of us. Groan. EXCUSE ME! Thank you. Find pizza. Oh. And beer! Mmmmm. Sense of humor returns. Off to kid section. Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me with this really bad princess and dragon show. Kids laughing. Keep sipping that beer. C. runs for the stage, hold by shirt until show over, then C. charges Dragon. Hugs. Hi! Hugs. Patting dragons belly. C. in love. Off to play in kid section. Ferris wheels, carousels, flying dragons, boats, more rope playgrounds, yelling, laughing, climbing, jumping, rolling, discovering, wandering, for crying out loud – where is T.?? Look at watch. Late. Tired. Lets get out of here. All accounted for. I don’t wanna go! I want more fun! Uh-huh. Push through the crowds. Push through the gates. Push past crowds for bus and walk back to parking lot. Push the stroller up hill and give bus going by dirty looks. Can’t find car. Can’t find the energy. Oh. There it is. Pop trunk, stroller in. Kids buckled in, glassy-eyed. Daddy drives. I look through pics on camera. Get home. Done. T. is 5 and I am too tired to think about it anymore.
And this morning at 6:30am, as I lay on the couch watching CNN, feeling sorry for myself since I am sore and still absolutely WIPED OUT from yesterday, T. says to me “I want to do something fun today”. Great googlie mooglie.