I have learned a lesson: Never take 5 little kids to an amusement park if you want to come home with an intact brain.
I learned that lesson yesterday when some friends and I took the kids to the amusement/water park. We were doing great at first - we shelled out the extra cash for a personal cabana, and with all those kids it was a fabulous thing to have. We thought we were soooo smart! We had waited out most of the first 15 minute safety break when we thought it would be smart to take the restless kids over to the pirate ship area, which has slides and places to run in splashing water. My daughter, who's 6, immediately went into melt-down mode. She was screaming and stomping and causing a scene while she told us she refused to go to the pirate ship. Well, when you have four other kids who really want to go to the pirate ship area, the one who does not want to go has to follow along. She reluctantly came with us as I started to drag her along. I guess she didn't want to scrape her knees or something crazy like that.
We finally meandered over there and put our toes in the water. It was freezing cold. It was blasting out at our faces at about a million miles an hour, and it was, let me reiterate, COLD! The 'girl with the bad attitude' was sitting on a rock, pouting, as we chased the others around. I went with my little guy onto the pirate ship and rode down a water slide with him, immediately getting yelled at because there was a weight limit on the dang thing. Seriously? OK, whatever, lifeguard dude. We splashed around a bit more and then I heard yelling coming from the steps up to the pirate ship. Actually, it was more like shrieking, as in 'somebody getting knives stabbed into them' shrieking. I turn to look to see who's horribly undisciplined child was causing all the ruckus, and to my horror it was my daughter. Wow. I, being the responsible parent that I am..., made sure all the kids were being looked after and ran back to the ship. My daughter was standing on the steps telling me she hated this place, her face was red, and she was kicking the water all around. I grabbed her, took her to the 'shore' and plopped her down. She told me she was never coming back and she wanted to go home. When I reminded her how many chores she was going to have to do to pay me back she shut up and followed us back over to the wave pool. That was a little better for everyone, although once the waves started my little guy wanted nothing to do with it. I had to hold a screaming, not quite two year old, baby while holding onto my daughter's raft. Every time a wave came he would crawl up my body like a little monkey. It was a blast, let me tell you.
When the second safety stop came about we decided we should probably feed the whole rotten bunch of them before they became more rotten and we got ourselves kicked out. That is where adventure number two came about.
Everyone decided they wanted chicken nuggets and corn dogs. Fine. That shouldn't be too hard. It IS an amusement park, after all, and people like fried foods when they wear themselves out standing in ridiculously lines for the rides. We made our slow way over to the ONE stand that sold what we were looking for and got in line. Trying to keep everybody amused while we waited was neat. They basically took off and immediately started stomping on the flowers planted around a tree. One of us went over there, trying to stop the behavior, but it was like trying to herd cats. They would all stop for a minute, one would see our backs were turned and get back on the flowers, and they'd all be up there the next second. It happened so fast you would think it was magic. Black magic.
Trying to figure out why we'd been standing in line for ten minutes at this point and not moving, we noticed there was one guy working the most popular stand at the whole place. One. We contemplated going somewhere else but there was nowhere else everybody would be happy, so we chose to wait it out. Twenty minutes, and lots of yelling at kids and bad looks from just about everyone, we got to the front of the line. And guess what? They were out of corn dogs. Great. I run over to see if my daughter will eat anything else and she says no. I am about to scream in frustration when I decided to order her a hot dog and she could just deal with it. There was going to be no reasoning with her and I didn't want to fight it. She was trying to run the show and it wasn't going to work. I bribed everyone with Dippin' Dots if they ate all of their lunch. (Don't judge me) Lalalala - long story short, we finally made it back to the cabana a couple of hours later and we were pooped. We herded everyone back into the pool and attempted to have some fun again. We finally wised up and stayed there until they kicked us out. The margaritas certainly didn't hurt, either. (See, we were smart!) A few rides and games later and I'd had enough.
The fun continued when we left the park and I only had one bottle of water. Perfect. Two kids and one bottle of water. Well, Miss Anger Management Reject started kicking and screaming again about how it wasn't fair; I was a terrible mother; I should have two water bottles because I have two kids and I didn't think right; and so on and so on and so on. She also said she wasn't going to put on her seat belt if she didn't have water because she was too hot to move. I understand she was tired, yup, I get that, but it didn't make it any easier. With the threat of 'never ever going anywhere fun ever again and we were only playing in a kiddy pool in the backyard', she clipped it fast enough. Ten minutes into the drive home and they were both blissfully asleep and I could have a thought in my mind about something else that wasn't yelling, angry kids.
I'm never doing that again, I told myself. But, as it turns out, I'd bought season tickets. What was I thinking. I need a lobotomy. Please!! Oh, and the whole "I hate the pirate ship" thing?" Yeah. It all happened because my daughter thought there were real pirates there. Sheesh.