Sunday, October 2, 2011
The happiest place in the world
Last week our family wrapped up a seven day vacation in Disney World with my husband's family. Now, I love a vacation, but as anyone with children, well, let me rephrase that, as any mother knows, a vacation with small children is no easy feat. There is the packing - an outfit for each day, plus extras for accidents, spills, and all the other unforeseen yet somehow unavoidable messes children tend to get themselves into. Then there are the pool accessories, which alone use up a good half of the suitcase (inflatable anythings NEVER fold up as small as they came in the package), and the myriad of toiletries and diapering items. If you can manage to get all of this into one suitcase (ha, good luck), you are still left with the backpack/diaper bag, which gets filled to the brim with snacks and sippy cups, spare pacifiers (which will be lost on the second day anyways), and as many wipes as you can shove into one of those travel cases and still keep it mostly closed. Oh, and of course, the stroller(s). A lot of stuff, but with some packing finesse (and a huge sigh of relief that we get to drive all this junk in our car instead of trying to check it and claim it at the airport like we had thought back in Colorado - bonus for moving to Florida!) you get it and most of the kids in the car and on the road. Wait, where's the baby? Just kidding, but you should know that, because who actually forgets their baby? Right? Anyways, you make it to the hotel, get the key, dump the junk in the room, do the potty rounds (you always do the potty rounds before you leave a place with a clean potty), gather the backpack junk, spray sunscreen flames into the kids' faces (noting that next time you will spray it in your hands first and then rub it on), load the stroller and head to the parks. Awesome! We made it! The castle! The balloons! A princess! Happy music! Happy children! Yes, let's get in line to ride our first ride! In line! It's moving! "Mom, I have to go potty." Hmm, we did the potty round before we got here, but it's the first day, and they were probably just excited to get here, so you exit the line, locate a bathroom, do the bathroom thing, jump back in line. On the ride! So much fun! Girls love it! Exit the ride, head towards the next attraction, and the other child pipes up "I have to go potty." You gently remind the child that the next time she sees you taking her sister to the bathroom, she should ask to come too so you don't have to go back twice. Child nods, back to the bathroom (you have already mentally noted it's location and proximity to attractions for future visits) and back to the rest of the family. Little do you know, this bathroom dance has set the tone for the rest of your vacation. Any time you get in line for anything, someone will need to go, so you try to stay ahead of it by asking if there is a need any time you pass a bathroom, but of course, no one needs to go until the bathroom is four miles behind you. You try to stay positive, thinking you'd much rather make a few trips to the bathroom than change clothes because of accidents, but soon, it is getting ridiculous. The bathroom trips are showing up before and after every attraction, and at least four times during meals. Like, take a bite, take a kid to the bathroom, come back, take a bite, take the same or another kid to the bathroom, come back, take another bite, and so on. You have found exit paths out of half of the rides, and know where every single toilet in every single park is located, as well as which ones have a short sink for kids because "that is so cool! A sink my size!", which is cool, as it cuts out the balancing-your-child-on-your-knee-to-reach-soap-and-wash-hands dance. The husband offers to take over a trip or two, but you know he does not like bringing the girls into the men's restroom ("men are gross, I can't take our daughters in there!") so instead you decide to push through knowing this will give you great leverage over many battles to come ("remember how often I had to take all the girls to the bathroom?"). By the fourth day, you are starting to feel like you are on a tour of Disney bathroom extravaganza, and contemplate "forgetting" the water bottles in hopes of eliminating a bathroom stop or five, but no, it is hot outside and you are a good mom, so you fill up the water bottles and review bathroom locations for the park of the day. You have accepted it. It will be happening. Frequently. On the upside, you have not had to use any of the spare clothes, and frequent hand washing may not be such a bad thing, given you have seen at least eight children with their fingers in their noses (one of which was your own) and a few questionable sticky bits on ride railings. Not so bad. The vacation continues smoothly, bathroom breaks and all, and everyone has a good time. Before you know it, the last day has come and all of the junk you brought, plus all of the new junk you have acquired, miraculously fits back into the car and you are on your way back home. You ask the kids if they had a good time - "Yes! I liked the princesses! I liked the rides! I liked the ice cream! It was so fun!" Good, you think to yourself, a successful family vacation leaving everyone with happy memories. "And mom, I liked the little sinks in the bathrooms, too!" Disney never disappoints.