Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Things I learned about parenting by taking four kids under 12 to Disneyland over Christmas break
On the day before New Year's Eve, R and I joined his sister, brother-in-law and their four kids under the age of 12 for a day at Disneyland. Here is what we learned about parenting from that experience:
1. Don't take four kids under the age of 12 to Disneyland on the day before New Year's Eve, aka two days before the Rose Bowl, when an extra 45K people descend upon the already insanely crowded Winter Break crowds.
2. iPhones and Blackberries are an essential element of waiting in line without one child killing another. Ensure that yours' are stocked with enough games for a 60 minute Space Mountain wait.
3. When Space Mountain breaks down minute 55 of a 60 minute Space Mountain wait, it's important to remain calm to provide a positive example to the children. This will be among the hardest things you've done in your life because you JUST WAITED 55 MINUTES FOR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!! And you didn't get to play any iPhone or Blackberry games.
4. A snack-filled child is a happy child. Buy them snacks whenever they are requested, immediately following the request.
5. It is important to have at least one child of stroller-riding age so that you can use the stroller as a moving storage locker for things like extra clothes, extra snacks, and balloon animals.
6. It is also important to have at least one child of stroller-riding age so that you, the parent, can take a break from waiting on 55 minute lines every once in awhile. Someone needs to stay with the baby...
7. Four kids is A LOT OF KIDS, jam-packed theme park or not. But sure to think about that before having four whole kids.
8. Be prepared to spend your day with your financial blinders ON. From the moment you pull up to the parking attendant, to the moment you leave you will be hemorrhaging money. Try not to think about it.
9. No child's opinion on "what to do next" should be taken into account after 9:00 pm. Between 9:20 and 9:40 their bodies will crumble in a pile of overwhelmed exhaustion. Nod and smile kindly when they say they want to stay in the park until midnight. They will never in a million years make it past 10pm.
10. Despite the long lines, the mini melt-downs, the ride malfunctions and the extreme expense, there is NO greater feeling than seeing the ear-to-ear smile on a child's face when they experience the magic of Disney. That line contain absolutely zero sarcasm, and yes, I believe Disney is magical.
Then again, R and I were with four incredible kids and two fantastic parents, who were no doubt responsible for getting us all through the day in one, happy piece.
Stay tuned for the follow-up to this piece: Things I learned about life by taking my boyfriend's parents to Disneyland over Spring Break, coming this March!