Summing up four days at Disneyland with my crazy and hilarious Pacific Islander family has been like trying to describe what chocolate tastes like or why Ugg boots were ever popular. So first, here are some bits and pieces, along with some of the 1600+ photos I took:
Nathan was scared of dark rides, rides that move and rides that require being buckled in–pretty much describing every single ride he was on. Finding Nemo was dark (but awesome!), so he cried. The Haunted Mansion was especially dark (duh) and he cried so hard that EVERYONE around us looked at him and was like, “DUDE!” A sweet woman who walked next to us offered him a cookie and he cried louder, as if to say, “I DON’T WANT ANY OF YOUR DEMON MAGIC PASTRIES!” We had to exit before the ride even began and once we were out in the glorious heat and light, he was fine.
We brought a carseat and our huge stroller, both of which were lifesavers on the plane and at Disneyland. We did attempt for a few seconds to wrangle him in a toddler harness, but (suprise!) it did not work. He would not stop crying until I had pulled the contraption off his body so he could sing Freddie Mercury’s anthem, “I WANT TO BREAK FREE!”
There’s a word in Chamorro called magotdai (mah-goat-die), which refers to the sensation one feels when seeing a chubby, cute, or squeezable child. If you do not squeeze or pinch said child, the child will become sick. So when my family saw Nathan and his chubby legs, they really kept him healthy.
Nathan especially loved his cousins, like my sister Bobbie’s youngest daughter Brissa. In the morning, I would go to her when she was just waking up and say, “Brissa, where’s my bottle?” and she would retort, “NO! MY BOTTLE!” Also, I had to borrow (well, use and never return) a diaper to change Nathan and she saw me using one of her diapers, to which, she quizzically hollered, “MY PAMPERS!?!”
Brissa is such a delightful little girl who can perform moves from Kung Fu Panda and jump on command.
This is what the teacups ride is supposed to look like: kids having fun spinning themselves around in a pastel wonderland.
This is what our teacup ride was like: Nathan panicking because we were not so much spinning as being sucked into some hellish vortex where people are doomed to listen to Hannah Montana ditties and repeat tired 90s phrases like, “YOU GO GIRL!” or worse, “GO RICKI! GO RICKI! GO RICKI!”
This was Nathan’s favorite ride: the fountain between California Screamin’ and the Carousel. It was hot, he was tired and Mike had the idea to dip his feet in the water, which lead to Nathan leaping from my arms and into the water. He’s always happiest in the water, even if it’s water not meant for frolicking or especially if it’s water not meant for frolicking. And who even says frolicking? Sorry. No security or “cast member” came by to tell us to please pull our child out of the fountain. As Nathan stomped around in the chlorinated water, people walked by and cheered at this laughing child, mentioning to us, “He has the right idea!”
Nathan was also taken with the White Rabbit. He touched the soft outerlayers and then leaned in to smell it. He was so giddy that for a moment I contemplated finding a full size rabbit costume to wear to replicate this joy, but then I remembered all the crap I’ve purchased because of my son’s initial happiness and subsequent “You bought me new crayons? Meh…” flippant attitude.
We have not had a family photo like this in over 10 years. Yowza.
My mom and all of her grandchildren, except for my niece Val, whom I have to photoshop into this picture later. Actually, I got a lot of requests to photoshop boob enlargements and tummy tucks. I had to bite my tongue from saying, “Girrrl, I’m not a magician!”
One of the best parts of the trip was being able to see my sister Bobbie again. I love all my siblings (even my brother George, whom I’ve since forgiven for making me lick 9-volt batteries [I'll never forget!]), but I have a deep connection with Bobbie. When I was in elementary school, she was in college and she would come home during break with fancy things like Caboodles. I talk to her every single day and this relationship I have is the only reason that would make me re-think having a second child so that Nathan could have a sibling relationship as close as the one I have with my sister.
I did not cry until we reached the airport and my sister, her husband and children, and my mom and aunt were in the shuttle waving goodbye. Luckily, I had my huge sunglasses with me so I could pretend that I wasn’t crying, I was having an allergy attack, a big weepy allergic reaction to leaving people I love very much.