Not many days in life are perfect, but I lived one last month when Ryan and I took Noah on a date to Disneyland. It has got to be in my top-five parenting days of all time. Truly.
When I realized that we were already going to be in southern California for our family reunion, and that my little sister would be an eager and free babysitter for Sally (more on that later), I jumped at the chance for us to take Noah to Disney. We’ve never been as a family, and Laura might move away from San Diego next year, so it was now or never.
We went up to Anaheim the night before so we could head into the park as early as possible. When we got to the hotel, Noah was literally bouncing off the walls because he was so excited. He started sprinting up and down the hallway saying he needed some “exercise.” I wasn’t about to argue with that! Burn off some of that energy, kid!
We had purposely gotten a room with only one king-sized bed because we thought it would be fun to snuggle—and it was. We are a family of cuddlers. After the boys fell asleep, I stayed up late looking at the map and texting my sister for tips on making the most of our Disney Day.
After this little planning session, I gave myself a mental pep talk, reminding myself that the goal for the day was simply to bond with Noah. It didn’t matter if we didn’t hit all of the “best” rides, or if we ended up in a few long lines, or if Noah got whiny at times or melted down when he was overstimulated, exhausted, or overheated—COME WHAT MAY, I WOULD NOT GET FRUSTRATED WITH HIM. Period. The end.
I’m so glad that I went into it with this attitude because it was truly so fun to allow Noah to be the “boss for the day” (yes, I called him that, and he certainly loved the title). And he exceeded all of my expectations and hardly whined or melted down at all—even though we entered the park when the doors opened at 8 a.m. and left around 11 p.m.! I was amazed by how well he did. And I was amazed by how much fun we had.
A few moments from the day that I will never forget:
-Watching his facial expression on Big Thundermountain Railroad, his first rollarcoaster. He was terrified and made the craziest faces. I’m so glad that I got a video! He was crying by the end, but when I asked him if he liked it, he said, “I think…I think…I think I kind of did.” Hahaha! He asked to go on it again, so we braved the line a few hours later, and the second time around there were no tears. I’m glad he conquered his fears!
-Snuggling between my two boys on all of the rides. I was expecting to be split-up all day, but most rides will allow three passengers in a row if one of them is a small child. I loved smashing Noah between us and witnessing his eyes light up with each new adventure.
-Eating melting chocolate covered pretzels together in the lines. I had a backpack stashed with snacks, and we made the most of those long waits. Mmmmm.
-Experiencing Cars Land with Noah. Admittedly he would have enjoyed this even more a year or two ago when he was crazy obsessed with Lightening McQueen, but he still loved it. The Radiator Racers ride was awesome, and walking into Cars Land was just like walking into the movie, with all of the perfect details of the buildings and scenery. My favorite part was strolling under the “neon” lights at night. That was actually our last stop of the day because Noah wanted to ride Mater’s tractors just one more time, and he was doing so well that we decided, “What the heck?” even though it was 10 p.m.
-Watching the World of Color fountain show. It’s just amazing and makes me feel so touched and nostalgic for some reason (awesome childhood memories of watching Disney movies with my sisters?). If I had it to do over, though, I would definitely get a Fast Pass for the show so we could be a little closer. As it was, I had Noah on my shoulders for most of it, and he insisted on telling me everything that was going on. Despite my urging for him to whisper so others around us could enjoy the ambience of the show, he shouted out the title of each movie when the clip showed up on the water. Fortunately, everyone around us seemed amused instead of annoyed. Somehow that boy makes friends and fans wherever he goes.
|He did not want to take a photo right then|
-The highlight highlight of the day for me was eating a Ghiradelli brownie sundae while watching the fireworks at the end of the night. The weather was perfect, the sundae was delicious, Noah was jabbering excitedly about the day, and I just sat there thinking, “How was this day so perfect? How do I have such a beautiful life??”
It was a magical day from start to finish. And I am so grateful to my sister Laura for keeping Sally so we could have that bonding time with Noah. (And as a sidenote, Laura got the stomach flu while we were gone, and Sally wasn't feeling so good herself and refused to be put down, so Laura snuggled her in between bouts of nausea and vomiting. And did I mention that Laura has her own 20-month-old? Yeah, good sister, right there.)
Thanks, Aunt Laura, and thanks, Walt Disney, for an absolutely perfect day with my two favorite boys in all the world!