Monday, March 24, 2014

Who's the Leader of the Club

I am happy to report that we all survived Disney, even with a freshly potty-trained tot in tow. We even survived the kid's first plane rides too, which says a lot since their mother is the worst flier ever. Better yet...we had a blast.

Going to Disney 2 years in a row on spring break has taught me something. You are either a Disney lover or not. It is kind of like cats. You either want one purring and snuggled up with you each night or would rather never come close to one. If you had asked me 4 years ago which person I was...I would quickly tell you I was not a Disney lover. I can remember going as a kid (I think) and enjoying it but over the years I've heard one too many stories of "stressed out Disney trips," "character meal reservations that you had to make before you even became pregnant," "character outfits for every day of the week and some with costume changes throughout the day," that it sort of rubbed me the wrong way. Yeah, people talked about having a good time but they also talked about all the planning that went into it and what you "had" to do to make it work and so on. If there are 2 things Amy Norris doesn't do well, they are planning and having someone tell me what I "have" to do. Terrible character flaws, I know...but it really turned me off from Disney. But I also had children, and isn't it some sort of rite of passage for a child? First world problems, right?

But I sit here now with 2 trips under my belt and I think I have successfully jumped the bridge and have landed safely on the Disney lovers side. How that came to be I am not completely sure but I can tell you this. The cliche is true. That place is magical. There is a sort of conversion that occurs as soon as you pass under the Disney World sign as you are driving in. It IS the happiest place on earth. All of your cares slip away and all you need to worry about it what kind of Mickey Mouse ice cream you want to eat in the afternoon while waiting on the parade. With that said, don't get me wrong. It is by FAR the most crowded place I can think of, but then again, when you go at spring break - you have to expect it.

I think that I can honestly say one of my fave things about Disney is how it runs so smoothly. It is like the best oiled wheel there is. I am sure there is chaos behind the scenes, but you would never know. In a place that has close to 30,000 people in it a day - it amazes the ever-living snot out of me how well things flow. The whole Disney experience pleases my inner lover of all things efficient like no other. Everyone is happy, the people, the employees, etc. Granted, you have kids of all ages left and right melting down at every moment - but no one seems to notice (except for me and all of the other parents that giggle internally knowing that it isn't ours but oh our time is coming soon). I love to walk through the parks and see kids passed out in strollers. There is no sleep like Disney sleep. For kids and adults as well. 

Anyways - back to the trip. This year I was super slack and didn't take my good camera. I kept my cell phone in my pocket (yep as I rocked tennis shoes with jeans and shorts because there is no sense in looking cute at Disney) so the majority of our photos are either "selfies" or snapshots. So, bare with the photos in this post. ;) I guess bad photos are better than the photos from the trip last year that are still ON my camera. Wow.

We decided to fly this year which was awesome I must say. And coming from a non-flyer, trust me on that one. Granted, I don't like to fly - but I also don't like interstate travel. If I ruled our travel schedules, I would have us traveling those 2-lane back roads through the tiny towns and arriving 2 hours later. That drive my husband crazy. And as efficient as I like to be it just occurred to me that it should drive me cuckoo too. Maybe since I am already there we are good to go? But this year an hour flight sounded so much better than a 5+ hour stint on I-75 and the turnpike. The kids flew like champions. Nash provided in-flight entertainment for all on board as any 3 year old would. I laughed though as we left Disney and arrived at the Orlando airport. You get so used to everything being EASY at Disney with everyone trying to help and all those around you are riding unicorns and tooting glitter and rainbows. Then you go back to reality when people cut in line, say bad words in front of your children (ooops, maybe that was me) and go out of their way to make your life miserable. Now I am not saying this is just the Orlando airport, because trust me it happened at the Atlanta one too. You just get so used to all the smiles and happy songs that it is like a record scratching and bringing you back to reality. I may or may not have stood in security and clicked my tennis shoes (yep that i was wearing with jeans and a bookbag) saying there was no place like Disney.

I have to brag on the place we stayed because it honestly made the trip. We could walk to Magic Kingdom - which those of you with little ones that have experienced the buses with melting kiddos know the beauty of keeping them in the stroller and moving them right along. Our room had a kitchen which was great since we decided to for-go the dining plan this year. That is probably in my opinion one of the most hectic parts of Disney - their dining "experiences." The chaos involved there is more than my introverted self likes to handle especially when I have the pleasure of dining with this one right here.

So the kitchen was fantastic to have since we were able to cook meals and eat at the table in the privacy of our own hotel room. (Read I was able to eat without Nash being in public) And since we didn't have a vehicle I was super spoiled by grocery delivery. Again, the people go out of their way to make things easy for you. I am now searching for a local grocery that delivers. Not kidding. We also had a washer and dryer in the villa which was perfect since we tried to pack as light as we could to haul kids through the airport. Can I tell you how fantastic it was to come home with only ONE load of laundry that had to be done? So, all in all, I don't think I can ever go back to Disney and not stay at the Bay Lake Tower.

I also must say that I am pretty sure Frozen on the iPad saved our life on the bus to/from the airport. Thank you Disney and Apple for teaming up to put that one on iTunes before the DVD came out.

PS - check out those fancy Spider-man Shoes. That is what my child picked out to be his "prize" for being potty-trained. I am pretty sure that 8 years ago when I didn't have children I muttered something about how much children would never wear character tennis shoes, especially ones that lit up. Oh Amy, one day you will learn. One day.

This year Nash was tall enough to ride a small roller coaster. He loved it so very much.

But not as much as the bumper car sort of race car things. Both kids were attached to Byron at the hip this trip and I had to bribe kids to ride with me. Somehow I got to be in the car with Louisa and all I have to say is Daddy will be doing the driving lessons with that one. Although I had control over the gas/brake pedal, I am pretty sure my "dashboard brake" (as Byron calls it) was slammed a few times. I am the world's worst back-seat driver and Louisa gave me panic attacks just thinking of the future. At one point she even said, "Gosh I wish this had a radio so I could sing while I drive." No mam Lou, focus on the road ahead. Please, said the Momma that will buy her a car with a bubble around it in 10 years.


 Oh look, Louisa is riding with me again. Wonder what that bribe was...

This is the one ride at Disney that Momma doesn't do. I gag and varmit just thinking about. I sometimes cannot even watch it. Oh dear me. Louisa was too busy spinning the cup around to be bothered with a photo.

This was probably my most fave part of Animal Kingdom. This is a dig site for kids to go in and dig up "fossils." Best part, it isn't dirt or sand. It is the fabulous rock that yes, you will find in every piece of clothing you are wearing, but it isn't messy. Byron and I joked that Disney needed to set up a bar in this place since the kids were all content and the parents were sitting around on the rocks trying to gain a 34th wind.

This is just a snapshot of the magic. I mean really, the kids just really adore it. Nash is starting to get to the point of talking in a not-so-inside voice and asking things you don't want others to hear. I caught him starting at what I thought were Ariel's clam shells and I kept thinking, "Dear child please don't touch them or ask about them please. Oh goodness." I was happily surprised when he came up to me and asked "Why does Arul has red hairs?" Phew, it was her hair he was staring at. Nice cover Nash.

And with that said, I have to post what is one of my fave pics of the trip. This is when we met Mickey Mouse (Nash's prized FAVE of all times) on the first day. I *think* Byron might be just as amazed as Nash that he just glimpsed Mickey close up.

But I must admit, I actually got a bit star-struck too. They keep Mickey locked away and hidden at the parks with the exception of the parades it seems. You never see Mickey walking around. This moment right here was probably worth every penny of the Disney trip. Nash was on cloud 9 meeting Mickey. He still talks about Mickey giving him a kiss.

I asked Byron to email me pictures from his phone of the Disney trip that he thought were good for the blog. And I get this one.

 Haaaa. The difference between boys and girls. Although I must admit the fire-breathing dragon in their new parade was pretty awesome. 

Last but not least, when at Disney...

Thanks again Disney for am amazing spring break. You know the old saying, "See you real soon!"

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Porcelain Gods - Part Deux

This post is titled part deux because Nash's first love affair with the toilet came just after we moved on to West Clover. For a walk down memory lane (and maybe a tear and a sniffle seeing how much my baby has grown) you can giggle at that post here.

This love affair with the toilet is completely different this time. Thankfully there is no standing inside and stomping (that I am aware of that is...this year for Lent I am working on self control and just letting things go, so unless he is drowning upstairs during his "quiet time" in the toilet - whatever works, right?) but instead just pure business. Big boy potty business.

Remember how I just said in the last post that Nash was so unmotivated and was going to be that kid starting kindergarten in diapers? Well, I do. And I am still wondering who read that to Nash and explained to him that it was a really good idea to decide the week before a trip to Disney that now was the time to use the big boy potty. Possibly the same person that encouraged me to choose my Lenten voyage of letting it all go and rolling with the punches? If not the same is very coincidental. Hey Karma - I see you. :)

Anyways, Nash up and decided he was ready to potty train and while I cannot possibly think of a worse time than right before Disney (Disney during spring break is one thing, Disney during spring break with a freshly potty trained child might require an extra adult beverage each night), we all know as moms that once they start - it is a terrible thing to discourage. I've talked before about how potty training scares the snot out of me. I was so incredibly lucky that Louisa up and trained herself one day. So one easy one down, I knew this next one would be a doozy. But I must say, the first few days went GREAT.

However, the day that I woke up and found Superman head first in the return register...I should have taken the hint.

Things were about to get interesting. And interesting with children is a whole other ball game. 

Might I mention that on top of the whole potty training ordeal, Nash is also working on giving up his nap. The thought along makes me want to crawl into the corner and sob. So, we have entered the world of "quiet time" with him now. The phrase quiet time always gives me a good laugh as it was always so NOT quiet time with Louisa. Pretty much the same thing for Nash so far too. My sewing room is directly under Nash's room and with the lack of insulation between the floors it sounds like a heard of buffalo up there. Just a Lego Duplo dropping makes me feel the need to duck and cover as it sounds like something is being bombed overhead. So, on this particular day that was foreshadowed by Superman, I was working in my sewing room and listening to World War III play out overhead. When I noticed over 10 minutes of quiet, I suddenly panicked. Repeat after me: quiet with kids is NOT golden. So, I make my way upstairs to make sure that all is well and I find that he has actually fallen asleep in bed. Sweet boy.

All curled up with a book about animals - be still my animal loving heart! It was so sweet that I almost overlooked the destruction.

I knew immediately that if anyone found the humor in the toy baskets that I literally just organized and labeled the day before, it was Byron. He is so not a fan of the organization. He actually giggled when I told him that I organized it all and asked me if I expected Nash to keep it organized. I explained to him that his school toys were set up this way and he certainly was of the age to learn about putting things away. (A side note - I am a bit of a freak about a place for everything and everything in its place) So, my first thought was this, "Crap. Byron is going to have the best time laughing about this one." Then, I got over myself and had to smile when I saw that Mickey Mouse and Pete were watching over my basket labels. Pete even reminded me not to cry because it is all good.

As I turned and was leaving the room, I decided that I smelt poo. Nash is a nap-time pooper and I knew this was going to be a hard part of the training. So, I would put him down for "quiet time/nap" in a pull up to avoid any sort of a mess.

Well, that was before I realized that poop and pull-up don't mesh well. When he woke up, we had a major code brown on our hands. I mean major. All sheets, duvets, pillowcases, bed friends, etc. got hauled downstairs to the washer. It was like he pooped in his pull-up and then a bomb went off in it. I found poop on the bottom of his socks. The poop was so stuck to his skin that I had to scrub with a poof (now trashed) to get it off. His skin was so red. Look at those red chunk-legs in this mid-cleaning picture. Poor kid.

And yes, I totally posted that picture. It's okay, most of us are moms here and poop is an everyday occurrence. 

It was in the next hour or so that all sorts of potty training went downhill and with it my sanity went out the window. I wanted to quit. It would be so much easier to just quit. So, I did what I do every other time I lose my faith in my mothering skills. I text my most trusted expert on children. My old pediatrician. Dr. Bill Smith is always right. Every single time. When I worked for him I gave him such a hard time about it. But it is true. I told him I was ready to quit. I told him I was afraid we were going to enter a battle of wills. I told him I was scared. He told me 3 simple words that I almost already knew he was going to say.

Stick with it.

The man is a genius. So, with that pep talk, I did what needed to be done. I put on my big girl panties and decided from here on out, it was big boy undies unless we were asleep. Surprisingly enough (KNOCK ON WOOD), it has been smooth sailing ever since. He loves his big boy underwear, and let's face there anything cuter than some chunky legs in tighty-whities?

Today is day 3 of undies and so far, so good. I have regained what is left of the sanity that I still possess and am feeling optimistic about potty training and the trip. One of my biggest flaws as a mother is forgetting that they are just kids. I lose my patience and expect 20 year old behavior from a 3 year old. It isn't pretty and I am certainly not proud of it. It happens, and I feel like such a troll when it does. Thankfully when I go to sit down with my kids and apologize for losing my patience and not being nice my kids are such sweet souls about it and tell me that they love me and everything is okay. I only wish I could practice their level of grace every day!

When I started this blog post, my little helper was sitting beside me painting.

Midway through I told him it was quiet time and we went upstairs to his room. I just now realized it was cease-fire upstairs and found this, thankfully void of the poop smell.

Curled up today with his paper from gymnastics the other day. Sweet, sweet boy.  I think that being a big boy and potty training is wearing him out. :)

On another note...Nash was studying doctors at school the other day. I couldn't resist my twins modeling their head mirror things. Sorry, as the wife of an ENT I should probably know what those are called, but I am afraid the functioning side of my brain has been taken over by the poop-cleaning side.

Now it is time to get my other fireball from the bus stop. Crazy how fast these kids grow. We are off to the happiest place on earth next week and hopefully this year I will actually sit down to post pics and blog about it when we get back. :)