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Monday, October 29, 2012

We Went To Disneyland And Left The Kid Home.

1. Marrying Todd
2. Getting impregnated
3. Leaving Alex with my parents while we went to Disneyland

That is my list of Top Decisions I've Made. It's not a long list because I am sticking to only those decisions of Utmost Importance and let me just tell you, leaving Alexandra with her grandparents was such a wildly intelligent move that I marvel, even now, at my outstanding genius. Todd helped.

Last Friday was Todd's and my five year wedding anniversary. We wanted to go to Napa but I think October is like The Busiest Month Ever for Napa and our beloved Churchill Manor B&B was all booked up. After a few cocktails Todd started looking at the cost of flying to France for a week. The reality sobered him up real quick. Then it dawned on the two of us: Disneyland! I'd never been before. Okay, wait. I've been but only rode the Pirates of the Caribbean before being struck down by a vicious migraine so all I did was lay on a park bench until it subsided and then we went home. Fun!

We quickly decided that we'd go and spend two whole days at both Disneyland (I keep typing disnley and it is driving me CRAZY) and California Adventure. But what to do with Alex? She absolutely detested Sea World, and the insanity of the day wound up giving her nightmares. Plus the prospect of spending 80 bucks for a toddler to go some place where she'll only enjoy about 5% of what it has to offer was not enticing. We knew she'd hate it.

We also knew that the chances of snagging a two-room hotel suite for an affordable price would be difficult. Using Get Away Today, we saw that only four hotels in the Anaheim area had available rooms for the dates we wanted, and none of them had two-room suite offers. Todd and I are not early-to-bed types and knew that if we had just one room, we'd be forced to sitting silently in the dark after Alex's 8:30pm bedtime. And did I mention this is our anniversary? Yeah, that's not very romantic.

So it just didn't seem to make much sense to ruin everyone's vacation. But the opposite scenario sounded more appealing: Alex gets three nights and four days with my parents, whom she doesn't know as well as Todd's parents because my mom and stepdad only moved out here like a year ago. They needed bonding time. Plus instead of being dragged around two enormous parks that had little to offer her (princess stuff would be it), she'd go to story time at the library and the playground; get access to my parents' pool; make cakes and crepes (my baby says CREPES now you guys), get regular naps and baths and bedtimes; be the center of attention.

It was set in stone and my God, we had such a good time without her there. Well, let me be more specific. We missed her like crazy but we did not miss having to navigate the dreaded Stroller Parking and I myself loved not having to shove a big Graco stroller through crowds. We didn't miss the tantrums and screaming, the guilt of a tired, cranky kid passing out from sheer exaustion. I didn't have to bring a diaper bag! Hell, I didn't even bring my purse! Todd carried my ID, phone and most importantly my lip balm.

I realized too that every ride we went on, even Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, would have utterly scared the shit out of her. And sure, one of us could stay with Alex while the other rode Space Mountain or the Matterhorn but it was our anniversary. I don't get a whole lot of time with my husband and I didn't want to spend huge chunks of our family vacation separated. And aside from meeting princesses, there was literally no ride tame enough for Alex. Snow White's shit was terrifying, and the tea cups reminded me a bit of Elmo's Flying Fish ride at Sea World. And yep, Alex hated it.

I actually felt bad for all the parents with young children. I saw frazzled faces, exasperated mothers and fathers, and we saw and heard tantrum after tantrum after tantrum. Kids screaming because they were scared. Kids crying because they were tired or hungry or angry. Moms were yelling at their children and the kids were yelling back. I saw several parents resorting to literally having to drag their child by the arm or leg to get them out of a Land. And almost every child I saw that was in a stroller was either passed out cold or looked so over-tired and psychologically checked out. You don't pay almost $100 to do that to your kids.

Now, I have a couple of friends who say their toddlers LOVED Disneyland and I think that's great! If they're into it, then that is awesome. Alex is by no means a shrinking violet or a delicate child. We call her Shredder for God's sake. But if rinky dinky old Sea World kicked her butt and left her unhappy, then the caliber of Disneyland and CA Adventure would have driven her to legally emancipate herself from us.

Next year will be different. She'll be three and a half; she'll be so stoked to meet princesses, ride the tea cups and maybe even drive the car in Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Hopefully she will be tall enough to ride other stuff, too. I can't wait to show her World of Color, to take her into little shops and recklessly spoil her with dresses and tiaras. I want her to meet Mickey. I want her in my arms as we walk up to Sleeping Beauty's Castle. But that's next year. This year was for Todd and for me. All parents deserve Disneyland without the kids. You need that time together, and after all,  it's the happiest place on earth.

If you're going to Disneyland and are flirting with the idea of leaving the kids at home, DO IT. We had such a fun romantic time together, fingers clasped as we held hands all throughout the park, my head resting on his shoulder (okay, upper arm, he is super tall). No stroller to push. No diaper bag strap biting into my shoulder, bumping into other people. Just two crazy kids, still in love after five years of matrimony, kissing on each other and saying "I love you" and "This is so much fun" and "I am SO glad it's just us" over and over.

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