My 6-year-old’s half-day kindergarten ended on Friday. Older grades still had a half-day on Monday, so I decided it would be a good day to tackle Mommy Day #2. A few weeks ago, I took my 4-year-old to Hershey for the day. This is what the 6-year-old wanted to do as well.
So, after getting the 9-year-old on the bus, the 6-year-old and I took off for the 90-minute drive. This visit to the park was a lot more scorching than the last, with temperatures topping 90 degrees. Fortunately, there was a bit of a breeze and we managed to hit some shady or air-conditioned spots at the worst of times. We didn’t feel the need to hit the water park until 6:00. There were some crowds, but nothing was too bad.
I was slightly less blissfully in the moment for this one vs. the 4-year-old’s trip. Partly this was because my 6-year-old and I had trouble agreeing on what constitutes “fun” at an amusement park. He goes a bit more for thrills, and my original backstop against the worst of it — the height limitations on rides — turned out to be less ironclad when I learned that in the last few months my son shot up another two inches and was incontrovertibly in the “Hershey Bar” category (greater than 48 inches). However, it turns out he also really, really likes arcade and carnival games. I decided to let him do a lot of games, which drastically reduced the time available for wretched activities such as the Tilt-a-Whirl.
I had fun on a few slightly more adventurous rides, such as a modest (category 3) roller coaster, and the Falcon Flier, which took us whirling up in the air. We enjoyed shooting at targets in the Reese’s Xtreme Cup Challenge (our car won both times!) and we hung out in the wave pool for about half an hour, and went around the lazy river three times. My kid did not seem to understand the relaxing connotations of the lazy river, and he was paddling and running away, obliging me to kick at a lap-swimming pace to keep up with him. He got Dippin’ Dots and frozen yogurt and a slushie, so all was good in the world.
I must admit I still have trouble relaxing about the carnival games, which always strike me as the equivalent of burning money, or at least converting money inefficiently into cheap stuffed animals that then get buried in the clutter of more stuffed animals in some closet at home. But my son’s fun was real. So was his joy when he did win some little things. I know I have wasted far more money on stuff that has produced far less happiness. In the course of the day, I became more sanguine about it and I think my son also became slightly more jaded about the things you can purchase with tickets won in arcade games. This convergence was a happy result of Mommy Day #2, as were some delightful moments, like when my little boy would, unprompted, reach out and take my hand.
In other news: We got back at 10 P.M. last night, and I was in bed by about 10:45, which would be great except that the baby was up by 5:30 A.M. It was a long morning, though he has reached a stage where he will watch an 11-minute Thomas episode before wandering off. This allowed me to read in 10-minute spurts. It is not as relaxing as reading when he is asleep, or being cared for by someone else. However, it is a lot more tolerable than when I had to watch him every second. Hurrah for semi-leisure.
Photo: Yep, I’m using the same photo to illustrate this Hershey post as I did the last time.