Some days I’m not exactly sure what I’m thinking. Like am I trying to set myself up for failure? Am I looking for frustration? Or am I really that optimistic that I think Stevie and I will have fun at a theme park. I’m going to go with optimistic. And determined. And tenacious. Yes, yes all those things sound like me.
I gotta tell ya, these traits pay off sometimes. In small doses. Just enough to keep my glimmer of hope alive.
It was Friday. We were looking for something to do and it was one of those days where I was just fresh out of ideas. Those days with no plan? They seem to end up being our favorite days of adventure. I had been thinking about taking Stevie to Universal Studios, but you know. It’s an expensive risk for a possibly miserable time. Stevie seemed to be in a good mood and excited to go have some fun, so I said “YOLO, man. Let’s do it.”
We rode the subway over to Universal City and hopped on our favorite tram. Headed over to the ticket window and after haggling the price a little (she dropped it $10 for each of us!) we were on our way. The first meltdown happened before we reached the gate. Stevie just laid himself down right there on the red carpet leading up to the entrance and I was thinking “Crappity crap crap crap. We just spent all this money on tickets and it’s gonna be one of those days???” So I took Stevie aside for a pep talk. It included lots of things like how lucky he is and how much fun we could have and how expensive this was and how I want to see lots of smiles. Nothing else would be tolerated.
So he peeled himself off the carpet and posed for a photo and we made our way in!
First stop was lunch. So by noon, I had already spent hundreds of dollars and we had gotten his favorite thing accomplished. He was happy about our lunch spot too, because it was so close to the cars from Fast & Furious. He gobbled up some fries and then took a look around. There’s also a fountain in the courtyard and he saw other kids playing, so he wanted to jump in. Well, son, your old mother was prepared for anything today and totally brought your swimsuit and swim diaper! So we went and got him changed and I thought that since he wanted water, I’d take him directly to the splash pads in Super Silly Fun Land.
We walked over and he was giddy. Smiling from ear to ear. About 0.25 seconds after he walked in, a giant wave of water came from the sky (or somewhere) and drenched him. It was cold and he was shocked. Screaming, terrified, he clung to me and wouldn’t go back in the water. I told him I would hold his hand and we’d just walk around. No more waves. Of course we somehow got splashed by something else. Where it was coming from, I never did find out. But now we were both wet and he was done-zo. So many tears.
He wanted to go to the playground there and I said No. I don’t want to do that! Let’s go on rides! I somehow convinced him to get on the one kiddie ride in the whole park. And that was good. Fun. We were flying. Happy. Yay. The ride lasted about 30 seconds. OK.
Next up, Stevie needed a lollipop. NEEEEDED it. And you know my philosophy on snacks. If it’ll keep you quiet for 5 minutes, it’s all yours. So the hunt began. On our way in, I had made a mental note of all the stores where I saw Fast & Furious displays. My anti-car-buying radar went off: must avoid at all costs. So we searched for the lollipop in the lower lots. And finally found them in the minion store! FOR EIGHT DOLLARS. I tried to talk him out of it. I really did. The words ice cream, slushies, and cotton candy fell from my mouth. But eight dollar lollipops it had to be. Did I mention YOLO?
Once that was done, Stevie started asking for the tram. I knew this meant he was ready to go home. But guess what! Universal Studios has a tram ride! The Backlot Tour. So I tricked him. And we rode the tram ride. He liked it except for any of the actual ride parts. King Kong? Screaming. So many tears. Earthquake? Screaming. So many tears. Fast and Furious? Screaming bloody effing murder. So many tears. The roughly 1 and 3 year olds sitting next to us just stared at him like “Is this kid ok?” But we survived and even with all the dramatics, I asked if he liked it and he said “Stevie do it again”. HAHAHA. NO.
While in line for the tram, Stevie had joined a dance party. They liked his moves so much, that on our way out they gave us a front of the line pass for the Transformers 3-D Ride! Well we gotta do that! I knew he would hate it, but I made him go on anyway. And guess what?! Screaming bloody murder. So many tears. But he wanted to do it again. HAHAHA. NO.
For one of our last stops, I just wanted a photo of him with a minion. He likes the minions. Even though he won’t sit through the movie, he knows what they are. So I wanted him to see one up close and personal. While we were there, I noticed the line for the Despicable Me Ride was curiously short. So we went on that too. Screaming bloody murder. So many tears. “Stevie going again?” HAHAHA. You know.
Tired, sweaty and hungry, we headed back to the subway. I couldn’t believe we had just spent 7 hours at a theme park. And besides him being scared on the rides, he did really great. He waited in those long lines. He didn’t have any meltdowns or throw himself on the ground. He didn’t try running away from me. Behaviorally, it was a good day for him. And he was excited to call daddy and tell him all about it. He’s even been asking to go back. I keep telling him “Next year buddy. Next summer, I promise we’ll go back.”
(That’s when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens. HEEEE!)