Monthly Archives: January 2012

Magic Kingdom


How can I possibly find the words to describe our first day at the Magic Kingdom with Robbie?  They all sound so trite, so cliche.  But it really was magical.

As soon as the gates opened, we headed for the Astro Orbiters,  a ride Justin loved when he was little but that just wasn’t geared for a thirty-something man without a child.  As we made our way to Tomorrowland, Robbie got more and more excited about all the spaceships he was seeing.  You can only imagine his excitement when he found out that he was actually going to get to fly one!  Actually, it was a little bit of terror following take-off.  But, as soon as he realized he could move the ship up and down, life got a little better.

We continued to make our way through Tomorrowland on the Peoplemover, one of Grandmama’s favorites.  Robbie got a little tense when the ride went dark, telling us that it was “really dark, but that’s OK”.  And then he got to control our space ship while Justin and I battled it out on the Buzz Lightyear ride.  He loved spinning us around in circles, much to Justin’s dismay (he takes that ride and the shooting of aliens very seriously).

From there, it was a day of pure childhood bliss.  A round on the Speedway.  A ride – or three – on the tea cups (with that “silly mouse, Mom!”).  Meeting the White Rabbit.  Heading over to Snow White (which Robbie declared “a little scary, Mom”), Small World, Haunted Mansion (“really scary, Mom!”) and Pirates of the Caribbean.  And then we happened on the parade.

It was meant to be.  Some how, we wound up with “front curb” seats, and the floats stopped right in front of us.  Then, miracle of all miracles, a dance party started.  Kids were invited to dance in the street with characters.  And who was the character right in front of us? You guessed it – Woody.  Robbie, having no fear, ran right up to dance with him.  And, boy, did they dance!  At one point, Woody tried to grab Robbie’s hand to lead a conga line, but he wasn’t paying attention.

He spent the rest of the day meeting characters – Pooh and Tigger (who was thrilled to see Robbie wearing a Tigger hat), Mickey and Minnie (they did the Hot Dog Dance when Robbie told them he knew it), and then dinner with Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore.  And a dance party with Chip, Dale, and Stitch.  Are you kidding me?  Could it possibly get any better?

Yes, it could.  Just a little.  A dessert buffet on the Tomorrowland Terrace with a perfect view of the fireworks.  And Robbie, finally, passed out from sheer exhaustion of the best day of his life.

Disney Magic


Watching Robbie experience Disney World is quite possibly the coolest thing I have ever gotten to do as a parent.  Actually having the child was pretty incredible.  Being with him when he figured out Christmas was fantastic.  But Disney World for the first time?  Magical.

It took awhile before we were finally able to get to Epcot.  Fortunately, our flight got in an hour early and our hotel room was ready when we got here.  Then it was off to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports to pick up our half marathon packets (a nightmare, by the way) and finally to Epcot, where Robbie was able to realize what all the build-up had been about.

There was some debate as to Robbie’s first ride.  After all, you only get your first Disney ride once in your life.  And it has to be the right one.  Journey into Imagination it was.  As we walked into the ride, we were ushered aside by a cast member who asked if we wanted to take a side trip and see something very few people got to see.  He opened a door just outside of the line and escorted us in.  And there it was, a shrinking room!  As we walked in, the room got smaller and smaller until the door at the far end was nothing more than a window, perfect for Robbie to look through.

Once we reached the head of the line we asked to please wait for the first car, since it was Robbie’s first ride.  We wanted to make sure we did it right.  The lovely gentleman assigning seats had us wait over to the side and then held the ride long enough to take a family picture of Robbie going on his first ride.


Robbie sat through the entire experience, hardly moving a muscle.  His eyes were open wide and his jaw was partially dropped.  He kept saying, “Figment” every time he saw the little dragon pop up.  From there, it was onto The Seas and Finding Nemo.  Robbie sat on the floor with the other kids for Turtle Talk (yelling, “Hey, kids!” as he approached…).  He saw manatees and rode in a spaceship.  Somewhere in there, Robbie managed to finagle his way into eating all of Justin’s ice cream.

And there was even a chance meeting with Chip and Dale, who tried to steal the ice cream, too!

We had to cut our night short during dinner when Robbie lost complete control of his senses.  Papers were thrown over the ledge onto unsuspecting guests dining below us.  Silverware was chucked toward the table behind us and to the left.  At one point, Robbie had a screaming competition with himself.  You know, basically what you would expect when you wake a two-and-a-half-year-old up at five in the morning and expect him to go all day without a nap.  Shortly after dinner, he looked a little something like this.

So, we opted to return to the hotel and miss the rest of Epcot.  After all, our child needed sleep.  Except he managed to run around our room like a man who had lost his mind for two hours, turning light switches on and off (I’d like to thank the person who installed light switches in the bedposts at perfect toddler height).  However, he finally passed out.

There is nothing more wonderful than the pure elation of your child, especially when you helped make it possible.  And I can’t wait for tomorrow when we take him to Magic Kingdom where he will finally really get to meet Mickey.  And then take a nap.

The Ole Switch-a-roo


There’s a famous story involving my husband drinking in college.  He’d had a bit much to drink when the guys ran out of beer.  Justin, being the persuasive man that he is, insisted on continuing to drink the non-existent beer.  Unsure of what to do, his friends poured water into the empty Natty Light cans and served them to my unsuspecting husband.  He proudly swung them back, proclaiming the beer to be delicious.

Fast-forward thirteen years or so (after all, I’m sure Justin was well over twenty-one when this incident occurs).  Robbie comes up the stairs with a cup in his hand, complaining that he’s thirsty.  Being the attentive mother that we all know I am, I rush out to help him.  He looks at me, points down the stairs, and says, “Diet Coke heavy, Mom.  Please help.”  And, sure enough, there was a two-liter of Diet Coke parked halfway up the stairs.

I tried to convince Robbie that milk or juice was the way to go, but he wasn’t having it.  “Diet Coke, Mom.  I want Diet Coke.”  He may have even started chanting, “Diet Coke!  Diet Coke!”

So, I did what any good mother would do.  I rushed down the stairs ahead of him, swooping up the plastic bottle on my way.  I ran to the sink, filled the cup 75% full with water, and then headed to the kitchen.  I managed to pour juice in the rest of the cup just as Robbie came around the  bend.  He screamed that he wanted Diet Coke, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pull it off.

Quickly grabbing the bottle of Diet Coke, I opened it and pretended to pour it into the already full cup.  And I had to be convincing, getting the liquid all the way to the lip of the bottle because Robbie was watching very carefully.  With a flourish, I stopped “pouring”, screwed the cap back on, and presented Robbie with his Diet Coke.  And held my breath.

He gratefully took the cup, now parched from all his chanting, and took a deep swig.  His eyes met mine as he finished drinking.  Robbie inhaled deeply and proclaimed, with great passion, “Oh, thanks, Mom!  Yummy Diet Coke.”


Home Again


It’s been a long two days.  In the car.  With a toddler.  And a husband.  And oodles of time to think.  Too much time to think.

And now we are home, if only until Thursday when we take Robbie to Disney World for the first time.  It’s a trip we had planned with Augusta, and she would be livid if we didn’t go.  Justin and I have been talking it up with Robbie, and for the past two days he’s been telling me, “Mom, I wanna meet Mickey.”

I am hoping that this trip will move us forward in the healing process.  All of the hard, labor-intensive work is behind us, and we need something fun to look forward to.

I wish I had more to share…  But there’s a big cold coming on.  And I’ve spend two days in the car, having small plastic toys lobbed in my general direction.  Fortunately, I’m unpacked and enjoying the Survivor finale.  Yes, from three weeks ago.  Don’t ruin it for me!

Ringing in the New Year


Remember when New Year’s Eve was about getting dressed up, going out, and drinking yourself into an oblivion?  Sure that this would be the year you’d meet someone?  Yeah, me, neither.  Which I guess is the whole point, right?

This year, Justin and I tried a new approach to New Year’s Eve, a night I usually dread because of the unrealistic expectations we put on it.  We did New Year’s Eve family style.  When we were home earlier in December, our good friend Jen mentioned that they were having a kid-friendly New Year’s party.  I told her (only half joking) that I would only come if I could be in my pajamas.  And so it was born: the family-friendly, pajama-wearing New Year’s Eve.  No pressure to look fabulous (Jen probably would have kicked you out anyway).    No concern about compensating a babysitter enough for taking up her entire New Year’s Eve.  No being gauged by restaurants and their “special” menus.

The kids (and occasionally my husband) were exiled to the basement.  The adults made pizza, picked at food, and drank.  Robbie came running up the steps occasionally, just to say, “Happy, Mom!  Fun kids!” and dash back down into the fray.  After all, he’d been talking about this all day.  Every hour or so, Robbie would say, “Mom, I’m ready.  Party with kids.  Pizza and cake.  Let’s go, Mom!”  Or, “I need a party hat, Mom.”  You know, the usual pre-party concerns.

And boy, did he have fun!  Robbie was still going at 10:00.  At 11:00 he looked a little worse for the wear, dragging himself, crying, up the stairs.  He crawled to me, asked me to kiss his boo boos (I’m sure his whole body hurt from fatigue; it’s tough trying to keep up with three four year olds, a few six year olds, and a ten year old).  Then he’d slide off my lap and return to “the kids.”

Near midnight, the kids all came upstairs to get their fun drinks (Sprite) in champagne flutes.  Robbie, with five minutes left in the old year, toasted everyone around him and stumbled around the room from sheer exhaustion.  But then, as the countdown started, Robbie stood next to me, pure elation on his face as he joined in the screaming, no idea of what he was saying.  But, somehow, he got it.  At midnight, my little boy jumped up and down, screaming, “Happy New Year!”

There’s nowhere else