Adventures With Squish

Unlike the other two kids, Squish has been pretty much a homebody. I don’t know if it’s just his busy little personality or the fact that we parents are now outnumbered, but it has felt much easier to stay close to home. We haven’t even gone to see relatives very often because Squish has taken then need for child-proofing to whole new levels. Rather than constantly remove diamond jewelry from his jaws and spray cleanser from his paws, we’ve opted out. We email pictures when we can so that family remembers what he looks like, but we’ve gone light on personal appearances.

Now that he is over three I was struck by a moment of insanity inspiration. The Padawan turned 10, and we were thinking of ways to celebrate his birthday. For the last few years, he hasn’t even been interested in a birthday party. Whew! I mean, er, awww fudge! He’s a Lego fanatic, so I came up with the brilliant idea of taking him out of state to an actual Lego Discovery Center. There was but one catch. Squish had to come, too.

My husband’s main concern was whether he would sleep in the hotel room. I reminded him that we’d have our two boys plus a pal of the Padawan’s. Would any of us sleep? Good point, he conceded. And we took the reins, bit the bullet, and every other pioneer metaphor you can think of, and we hit the dusty trail (look! There’s another one!).

The drive down was the longest of my life not too bad. One enforced rest stop and four hours later, Squish’s assessment is “This is really not fun for me.” Agreed. But he fluffed back up when we got to Legoland.

I had no idea what to expect at Legoland, but what I did not expect was a couple hundred screaming children and lines longer than Dollywood. But Squish maintained. He didn’t even ask us to buy him anything in the gift shop. He did great at the fast food restaurant with only one tiny incident when he announced to his fellow diners “I’m about to poop my pants!” I, of course, grabbed him up by the middle and hauled tail to the bathroom. He threw out his little chicken wings and screamed “I’m flying!” But whatever. I’m never going to see those people again. What do I care what they think?

The real fun began in the hotel room. I had no idea that hotel room beds were so very bouncy until I turned around to catch Squish on the vertical. I managed to intervene before he cracked his coconut on the ceiling. Squish is a born physicist, but it seems that no matter how often he experiences Newton’s laws, he doesn’t quite get it through his head without bloodshed. Usually his own. One day he’ll just know this stuff, right?

Though it was pouring rain outside and he had a touch of the runs, thus eliminating (sorry) the pool as an evening activity, he discovered the wonders of hotel room cable. And three different PBS stations. Feels like home.

The hotel has been the best part of the trip so far! Don’t talk to me! Dinosaur Train is on.

And then came bedtime. Do I really need to say that he didn’t want to go to sleep? We tried turning out the lights and just watching the Olympics (yay! More volleyball!). We tried turning off the sound and just watching USA win by the skin of their teeth. No dice. In desperation, I told the big kids that we were going to have to turn everything off until Squish went to sleep. Guess how long that took? Under three minutes. He went from jumping on his dad’s head to thumb sucking coma in about 200 seconds. Things got interesting.

I remembered why I don’t co-sleep. In the dead of night, Squish sprouted several extra arms and legs. All the better to pummel me with, my dear. And boy did he. I don’t think I slept for more that two hours total. If he wasn’t kicking me in the stomach, he was sprawling over my head or sticking his feet in my face. I finally put him between myself and my husband to keep him from propelling himself out of bed. I think I took the brunt of the battering, but none of us looked any good the next day.

It was the longest night of my life. I’m surprised the hotel didn’t charge us more for all the additional hours that were packed into the night.

Anything Can Be Educational

Take our recent trip to Dollywood. Shut up. We had free tickets. Despite the blaring and terrible country music, we had a great time, and we even learned a thing or two.

What I learned: visit a theme park on an overcast Wednesday where there’s a 60% chance of rain. You’ll walk right on even the biggest attractions.

What husband learned: it is more fun to take wife places that aren’t crowded because it’s easier for her to hide the crazy. Win!

What girl-child learned: sometimes you gotta take one for the team. Dollywood wasn’t her idea.

What Padawan learned: Dollywood is the greatest place on earth to spend a 10th birthday.

What Squish learned: the ride does not stop just because you want it to.

It started with a little ride called “Piggy Parade.” And I do mean little. The only requirement was that riders have upper body control. I swear, that’s what the sign says. And it looked like fun, even to Squish. But then the operator started the ride rather roughly, with a bone-rattling jerk. And that was all Squish needed to question the wisdom of his decision.

This attraction is not providing the riding pleasure I had hoped.

Which led to this:

I would prefer to depart now. Could you please stop?

And finally this:

You will be hearing from my attorney

***I am not a totally horrible parent. He’s not actually crying. This is drama-face.  If he had really been crying, I would not have posted the pictures. I would have deleted them and pretended the whole thing never happened. He has some weird little fears, but he’ll grow out of them. I doubt he’ll ever strap himself into a giant pig again, though.

Learn From My Mistakes

I’m really excited. Squish is finally old enough. Today is his very first day of camp at the zoo. This is a milestone in our household. For the next 11 years, he can be a zoo camper. He has had a sample of it already. When I get the opportunity to teach the toddler classes at the zoo during the school year, he comes with me. But this is the first time that we’re jumping in for five glorious days.

And here’s the mistake. Last night, I told him that our first day of camp is today. Can you guess who else is excited? And has absolutely no sense of time?

“Is it time to go to ZooCamp, Mommy? I’m ready.” “Not for three hours. Put some pants on, Pumpkin.”


What’s just as exciting is that next week, I will be teaching my own ZooCamp, this one for kids with special needs.  For the next couple of weeks, I won’t be around here much. I’ve got posts lined up and ready to go, but it may take me awhile to catch up on comments and on reading the amazing blogs I subscribe to. I can’t wait to see you all again and share all of my adventures! See you on the other side!