Every parent imagines the day they can make their child’s greatest dream come true.
It’s the last wish of dying children.
It’s the first thing quarterbacks do after the big Super Bowl win.
Commercials, cartoons and movies have been subversively, subconsciously training us our entire lives to put the annoying mouse with the pre-pubescent girl voice on a pedestal.
After our highly-anticipated trip to Disney this past week, I consider those hidden messages from the “happiest place on Earth” to be more evil than the secret satanic messages when a song is played backwards.
Over the past month, we used Disney as a way to threaten our son into trying to use the potty.
We used Disney to get our daughter to stop whining.
I drew Mickey Mouse hats on our family portrait on the kid’s white board.
Abuela bought them luggage with Elsa and Anna and Teenage Mutant Engine Turtles on it especially for the trip. (I meant to say “Engine.” It’s what the kids still call them.)
None of this adequately prepared me for one of the most hellish vacations of my life.
Let’s start with boarding a bus packed with pale, sweaty, overweight tourists. Standing room only, elbowing pot-bellies and stepping on the slippered toes of white trash girls wearing Elsa dresses and Koolaid stain smiles.
The driver got lost, so we were bumping and jerking along the winding roads near the Magic Kingdom for an extra 20 minutes.
We finally arrived, battered and already sweating.
We were able to see the welcome train roll in with all the famous Disney characters onboard. I was glowing with joy watching my son shout, “Goofy! Pluto!” (While secretly wondering how many of the “actors” are actually pedophiles and whether the princesses have coffee breath.)
We enjoyed the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.
The Jungle Cruise was tolerable, despite sitting next to the bellowing Broadway-voiced failed comedian “guide.”
My daughter plugged her ears for the duration of It’s a Small World and that should’ve been the first clue that things were about to go terribly awry.
Shortly after, as we were preparing to go on the Peter Pan ride she said, “I want to go home.”
After much badgering, prying and film noir interrogation, I figured out that she had to pee and didn’t want to use the public restroom.
It was about 10 a.m.
Oh hell no! After the amount of money we paid to go on this magical, cancer-kid dream trip, you’re going to throw a fit because you prefer the comfort of a familiar toilet?
I dragged her screaming to the bathroom, where she proceeded to humiliate me by shouting, “I don’t have to go pee pee! It’s not coming out!” (Which is a crock of shit, but makes me appear abusive to all of the parents in neighboring stalls.)
The real reason why she refuses to go is because, “The potty is too loud.” She’s always had an aversion to any noise above a reasonable “inside voice.” Fireworks, loud music, loud movies in the theater… but nothing is more traumatic than a growling, loud potty.
Cruise ships are out of the question.
Airplane potties, never gonna happen.
Those toilets could suck out your intestines with a flick of the flusher.
We spent the next hour and a half trying to convince her to use a bathroom, dragging her to different potties, her berating me and bawling. She’s screaming, “Is the potty loud? The potty is loud!!”
The only thing that eventually worked was promising to immediately buy her a toy upon urination.
The children survived going to the haunted house, but only because we called it the “Hotel Transylvania.” (They LOVE that movie)
Instead, Alma was terrified of going on the Buzz Lightyear ride. She also had some kind of irrational fear that the People Mover was going to transform into Space Mountain.
Breakfast and lunch, both kids were on hunger strike. I resisted the urge to shout, “This shitty mass produced meal cost us 10 bucks per kid! You WILL eat it.”
So, here we are sweating and grunting our way through Walt’s version of wonderland while our children barely crack a smile. My feet hurt, I’ve sweat through my underwear and there is NO BEER. Don’t they realize that without a little bit of liquid CALM, parents are highly likely to resort to homicidal violence?
At one point, some self-important , acne-pocked UCF student is telling us we need to relocate our stroller because we are in the “dancing zone” of the Incredibles. Seriously, we’re interfering with the bubble-muscled Mr. Freeze’s electric slide with our inconvenient children.
Time to buy another 5 dollar bottle of water and daydream it’s vodka!
While planning the trip, I had visions of the kids passing out after watching the parade and fireworks, sleeping with satisfied smiles in the stroller.
Instead, my daughter is plugging her ears and frowning while the characters perform outside Cinderella’s castle. (The one that she’s pissed off about because we can’t go inside.)
We’re hightailing it to the bus before sunset, back to the resort so we can go out to dinner at a normal place where the shitty food doesn’t cost a fortune.
At Olive Garden, it’s our son’s turn to be a complete D-bag. He’s whining for no apparent reason, border line crying for the ENTIRE TIME. I end up taking a bunch of food back to the hotel room only to realize there’s no microwave. (duh)
In a lame attempt to salvage the “vacation” we get up in the morning and watch the kids pick at their pricey breakfast and then rent a two-person bike. So, we shred our calves and drip sweat along a path around the resort so the kids can argue over who gets to ring the ridiculous bell.
We go to the Arcade with our card for free games only to learn it has a total of 100 points on it. Each game costs about 40 points or more. Air hockey? 100 points.
It’s cloudy, but we brave the pool anyway. The unheated-freezing from all of the rain-pool. The pool with the bar that’s not open.
Later, the bar opens! We grab a couple of drinks and shuttle the kids to the “kiddie pool.” My son promptly tries to drown himself, twice. In the mad dash to rescue him before CPR becomes necessary, my husband knocks over his entire alcoholic beverage. (You know, the one that costs more than a year of college tuition.)
We finally bail when the sweet New Orleans jazz music is being drowned out by some kid-friendly club shit. (Not to mention the chattering of my son’s teeth.)
We decide to take the kids to the Rainforest Cafe for another authentic theme park experience. My daughter is plugging her ears and cowering every time the fake gorillas start to scream. She is still on hunger strike. The meal is super expensive and I will be tasting the garlic for days.
I can’t catch a buzz.
We can’t catch a break.
We pack up and leave for Tampa. We had another full night booked at the resort.
Money flushed down the toilet. The very loud, evil toilet.
So, this guy walks into a bar…
Can you picture it? Me neither.
My husband and I were discussing adult actors on kid shows. How can they live with themselves as grownups when shooting wraps for the day?
I don’t see Mister Douche from Imagination Movers proudly donning that early 90’s Shaggy haircut and chunky soul patch while ordering any beer with an alcohol content over 5%.
He looks like more of an O’Doul’s type. Maybe throw in a teeny umbrella.
I’m guessing they have morality clauses in their contracts, but what would that entail for a 30-something on a kid show?
I mean, do you think Twist from Fresh Beat Band hits up the strip club on occasion?
He has crow’s feet for Christ’s sake!
I have a huge girl crush on Carly Ciarrocchi from the Sunny Side Up Show.
Her cutesy color blocking and funky sneakers don’t fool me. I bet she’s a blast to hang out with at house parties and can kill it at the club.
But…. can she? Does she?
Don’t get me started on The Wiggles.
“Sir, I didn’t recognize you without your rib-crushing, shiny spandex turtle neck.”
“You mean, you don’t actually prefer women’s underwear? I just… assumed… because… you know.”
There’s always this secret assumption that at least some of the older cast members on these shows could be undercover sex offenders.
Thanks Pee Wee. Mugshot complete with pervy Blue Blockers.
Even in death, the lovely Mister Rogers will never be able escape theories that he was actually some kind of evil-doer.
I still love you Mister Rogers. You, and Mr. Happy Trees.
Even when they find the bodies buried in Bob Ross’s backyard. I’ll still love him.
Everyone has regrets. If they say they don’t, it’s bullshit.
That one time you drank so much you threw up in some dude’s bathroom sink? If you don’t regret it, chances are good you’re still doing it.
I can’t tell you how many time I’ve heard someone say, “I don’t regret anything, because my mistakes made me who I am today.”
Well, who I am today has shitty eyebrows. Plucking the hell out of them starting at age 12? Yeah, I regret that. I can’t get that back.
I want Jennifer Connelly caterpillar brows and that ship has sailed.
I regret using baby oil in my effort to transform into another ethnicity when I was in high school. I was dark and mysterious, and growing secret sunspots deep underneath that glowing tan.
Like a dormant “I told you so”, they’ve arrived to tell me that being WHITE was okay.
I regret getting a Journalism degree. I remember when one of my mother’s big wig Time Warner bosses warned me to stay out of the biz. I burst into tears after dinner and told my mom, “It’s too late! I’m a Junior in college!”
Bwooohahahaha. Too late? If only I could go back and bitch slap my former self and choose public relations instead.
Even better, I would go back and tell 8 year old me to get over the math mental block and start to really excel at science and computers.
I am fortunate none of my regrets landed me in handcuffs or with something that causes periodic “outbreaks.”
But, the regrets continue even today.
I regret that I wore flip flops recently to work and bit it on the stairs.
I regret just about any outfit I choose in the morning halfway through the day.
I am currently regretting growing my hair out. I successfully made it through the Patrick Swayze stage and have now entered the wet dog phase.
Perfectly dry. Still looks like this:
I regret putting my son in undies at his request last night. I was sopping up pee pee and stuffing Despicable Me minions and soggy shark slippers into the washing machine.
Now to the mother of all regrets.
I adore my children. They are my reason for being. I literally could not live without them. I wouldn’t trade them for anyone else’s children. Mine are exceptional. They are sunshine and laughter and all that is right with this messed up world.
That does not stop me from having brief moments of regret. I mostly regret being ill-equipped to handle the little bastards.
As they both sob in the backseat of the car during a dueling temper tantrum or when a battle over some crappy 99 cent toy from Target escalates to toddler fisticuffs, I genuinely question my ability to be a good parent.
I regret not having them younger, so maybe I could better handle their perpetual insanity.
I regret not having them older, when perhaps I would be better at letting things go.
I sometimes regret having them so close together. Double the diapers. Double the wailing. Double the daycare cost. As they get older, definitely double the trouble.
I will never regret having my children. But, that didn’t stop me from saying to my husband the other day, “I don’t think I want kids. What do I do now?” (A joke, of course. Kind of. Seriously, a joke.)
Talk about “No Backsies.”
Can’t take a Mulligan on human beings.
No Safe Haven for the little boy you can’t seem to potty train.
No Indian giving with the little girl with the bad-ass, pre-teen attitude at 4 years old.
Thankfully, we waded through hell and high water to have these babies.
Otherwise, I might start to daydream about going all runaway bride the next time my daughter says, “I don’t like you anymore” because I told her she couldn’t wear her pink cupcake tutu to go to the park.