Our semi-vacation week continues. We spent Monday and Tuesday at Hershey, the amusement park. Frequent readers will recall that this is where I took my 4-year-old and 6-year-old for their official “Mommy days” at the start of the summer. I enjoyed myself quite a bit on those two days. Taking all four (plus my husband) was a different experience.
To be sure, we still had plenty of good times. I got some good scores on the Reese’s Extreme Cup Challenge. I love riding Trailblazer. (I am slowly working my way up to more adventurous roller coasters.) Both of my coaster-phobic older children went on it with me and had quite a bit of fun. I enjoyed seeing them stretch a little beyond their comfort zones. The upside of having my 9-year-old along is that he is actually old enough to take the littler kids on some of the rides. He took the 4-year-old on the Cocoa Cruiser kiddie roller coaster multiple times, so I could sit with the baby in the shade. He drove our little car on the PA Turnpike ride, and he was so into ZooAmerica it was almost funny. I always enjoy a good Lazy River, and oh, funnel cake. We tacked on a visit to Hershey Gardens on Tuesday morning and all four kids loved seeing the butterflies (that’s the photo illustrating this post).
However, managing group logistics introduces more stress. I was thinking about this a lot, compared with my solo days. On the solo days, I was 100% in charge, so what I said went (my husband tends to want to push on in situations when I am ready to admit defeat — which is why we went out to dinner at 8 p.m. with all four kids, including the baby. On the other hand, he’s more willing to spring for things, which is why we wound up in the preferred parking lot both days — much, much closer!). With only one child on the Mommy Days, I was not worried about the kid running off. I mean, he or she could run off, but I could run right after (and I’m faster!) With one kid, there was no arguing about rides and what we would do next, and who got to play 3 games when I only got to play 2 and it’s not fair you always do what she wants and la la la. Also, the sheer existence of a toddler changes the dynamic considerably. He did not get his nap on Tuesday when he wanted his nap. We all know what this leads to, and it’s not good. He was too little to go on most of the rides, so someone always had to stay with him. As you can imagine, sitting in your stroller while your brothers and sisters are running off to do something is not all that fun.
Then there was fitting all 6 of us in a hotel room. I am not that deep a sleeper. There was a point in the middle of the night when I was trying to sleep on the bathroom floor on the cushions we’d taken off the sofa in order to turn it into a sofa bed.
But we survived! And just like Chuck E. Cheese’s, the kids want desperately to go back, even if their siblings will be involved. I think “family fun” is about managing parental energy, and making sure we get our fun separately. I have a lot of work travel coming up this fall, so I will have plenty of nights in hotels that won’t involve sleeping on the bathroom floor and waking up with a baby at 1:30 a.m. I guess it all averages out over time.