My Mommyology

Learning from Motherhood.

May 26, 2015
by mymommyology
2 Comments

My Mommyology Likes: Little Passports

I’m not a fan of those Facebook Ads that pop up in my feed, but I will say it led me to a discovery that my girls have come to love.

Little Passports.  It’s a monthly subscription for kids ages 3-12 which, as their tagline says, “Inspires kids to learn about the world.”

On the first month of your subscription, your child gets the starter kit — a suitcase, a passport, some stickers and activities, a world map, and a letter from world-travelers Sam and Sofia.  There’s also a boarding pass which contains codes so that you can access a Little Passports account online and allows you to learn trivia about the different countries or play games.

Every month thereafter, depending on the subscription you chose, you get the modern-day children’s version of a postcard from whatever country or state they feature for the month.

Little Passports has three kinds of subscriptions; the Early Travelers which is for ages 3-5, the World Edition for ages 6-10, and the US Edition for ages 7-12.

The Subscription Packages on the Little Passport's site.

The Subscription Packages on the Little Passport’s site.

I had recently purchased a book about the different US states for Sam, so I thought the World Edition was best for us.  Besides, Sam is very interested in learning about the world (literally) and the different cultures in each country, so I thought it perfect for her.

In the first month, Sam first learned about which country belonged to what continent.  I had taken that fact for granted, but after doing it with her I realized how important that exercise was.  And it taught her as well how to study a world map and where each country or continent is in respect of another, using North, South, East or West.

Looking at which countries border which.

Looking at which countries border which.

She’s also been playing with the boarding zone app on the computer.  It’s given her trivia like where the first underground subway was built (London!) or the longest river in the world (the Amazon!), among others.

Use the Boarding Zone Tag for the codes.

Use the Boarding Zone Tag for the codes.

Sam was excited about receiving her first country – Brazil.  And I have to say because of my husband’s MBA stint in Chapel Hill and all our Brazilian friends, I enjoyed going through the exercise with her.  Once upon a time, my husband, his brother, my sister-in-law and I visited Brasilia too, and spent a week touring the sights.

Also, it talked a little bit about my brother’s passion:  Capoiera, something he tried to teach Sam early last year.  Somehow, everything she knew all came together.

The package contained the usual letter, stickers and boarding pass, but it also shed insight on an animal only found in Brazil, as well as a stone found in the Brazilian rainforest.  I love it, because even I learn something new.

A Red Uakari Monkey!  How neat is that!

A Red Uakari Monkey! How neat is that!

In the activities packet, there’s a crossword puzzle to find Brazilian terms.  A few of them I recognized and was able to teach Sam how our friends taught us how to say it.

Part of the activity is making a typical Brazilian dessert called Brigadeiro — this was introduced to us by our friends from Brazil, and I remember it being super yummy and super sweet!  I also remember binging on it while I was pregnant with both girls.  We haven’t done it yet, but it’s on our list of things to do for the summer.

Yummmmm....

Yummmmm….

Little Passports also has a blog and a newsletter (which, if you sign up before you purchase a subscription, you get $15 off!), and occasionally we get new information about different parts of the world.  I’ve printed them for Sam to read and keep in her Little Passports suitcase as well.

We’re on our third month so far and we just received the Japan packet in the mail.  I’ve never visited Japan (A not-so-subtle hint for the Husband!), but maybe my family and my husband can go through it with her to make the experience a little bit more complete since they’ve been there.

The Little Passports advertisement is right — children get excited when the mail comes in, wondering if there’s something in it for them.  Sam keeps asking me when the next one will arrive.  And she teaches her friends and her sister about it too.  I once caught them playing a travel game where she read the Brazilian letter to her out loud and they went on a trip down the Amazon river to act it all out.  More and more I agree that it is a great experiential learning tool for kids!

I’ve always loved traveling and seeing the world.  That’s a trait Sam gets that from me.  She’s constantly asking to go somewhere and learn something new.  At least somehow with Little Passports, every month a little bit of the world comes to us. 😉

***

Little Passports can be found on Facebook:  Little Passports, and Instagram @littlepassports.

May 18, 2015
by mymommyology
9 Comments

#TrailingSpouseStories: Growing A Garden (Or So We Hope)

Welcome to this month’s run of the #TrailingSpouseStories.  This month in the Philippines is “Flores de Mayo”, or “Flowers of May” a month-long festival in honor of Our Lady.  Inspired by this, May’s #TrailingSpouseStories prompt is:  BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED.  How do you think you’ve bloomed in your past and / or current location?

Click on the links below this post to read the other participants’ stories.

***

In the beginning of time when God was handing out green thumbs, I probably wasn’t even in the back of the line waiting.  In fact, I may have missed the memo altogether.  I have absolutely no desire and no talent whatsoever in gardening, in any shape or form.

I distinctly remember it being a part of our grade school curriculum, where once a week we had to get into the dirt in our school and try and plant something.  I actually spent a better part of that quarter pulling out weeds and silently cursing my teacher.  And to top it all off, nothing sprouted.

As you can imagine, plants and gardens are not a requirement in my home.  Flowers once in a while sure, and on special occasions like mother’s day, valentine’s and anniversaries (my, I keep dropping my husband all these hints! ;)), but not one that I would grow from scratch.

It is indeed funny how God works because as it turns out, my girls LOVE gardening.  I don’t know why, and I don’t know how (whose genes did they inherit anyway?!), but they do.  Jamie learned about it in school and prides herself in watering all those plants every once in a while.

Jamie proudly showing me her watering skills.

Jamie proudly showing me her watering skills.

And Sam — well, Sam has always been a nature-person.  Sam wants a garden of her own to grow.

This was in fact fueled by some Girl Scout activity, where to earn a Flower Garden Journey Award , Sam needs to be responsible for a garden she grows.  In effect, she needs to plant the seed, water it and watch it grow.  Whether it was the prospect of yet another badge, or the whole activity altogether, Sam was fairly excited about it.  Yeeesh.

That week she was recovering from pneumonia, Sam stayed home with me and I constantly had to find something for her to do.  She kept reminding me of this particular Watering Can award though, and so one lunch time, we finally made the trip up to our local nursery.

Happy to be out of the house and in the Nursery.

Happy to be out of the house and in the Nursery.

I had asked the woman at the counter which ones were the easiest to grow and I also asked her for tips as to how we would possibly get started.  She pointed us towards the seedling packs, and I asked Sam to choose from the Sweet Pea range (upon the lady’s advice).

Idiots guide to gardening right here.

Idiot’s guide to gardening right here.

We got everything we needed and I was ready to head out, but Sam was still all smiles wanted to look around and explore.

She studied the names of the flowers and went all around looking for possible plants we could put in our future home.  Yes, she was already planning her future garden.

Future GARDEN?!  Good God.

We waited for Jamie to get home from school that day before we finally got down and dirty outside.  The girls filled 12 little pots with seed soil (supposedly better than fertilizer for start up seeds), and then we put one seed in each.  They covered it with a bit more soil and then went to water them and set them on our balcony.  I figured that after this whole exercise the girls would forget about it.

The girls hard at work.

The girls hard at work.

To my surprise, everyday, Sam and Jamie would remember they needed to water their pots twice a day.  On the days that they couldn’t due to their busy schedule, Sam would remind me just as she was getting out of the car for school, “Mom, please water the plants this morning ok?”  And really, I’d have no choice but to water them because it was always the first question she’d ask when I picked her up.

My husband (the optimist), chuckled under his breath when he’d heard of our project.  “Good Luck” was all he said to me when the kids were out of ear shot.  And I admit, I wasn’t optimistic either.  I thought about the weeds and the worms of my grade school days, and I thought to prepare my speech for the girls to explain why it may not have worked.  There’s always a lesson in failure after all.

But one morning, Sam awoke ahead of us all and I was still in bed when she came bounding back into the room.  “Mom!  Mom!  MOM!” 

I thought something bad had happened and so I leaped up concerned.  “Come see!” she said excitedly, and ran back out for me to follow.

And lo and behold…

*gasp*!  It's a Miracle!

*gasp*! It’s a Miracle!  **dance of joy**

We did it mom!  We did it!”  She exclaimed, and ran back in to wake Jamie.

I was pretty speechless too, and in disbelief that there was something in that one little pot.  It was my first “sprout” in 30 years — and really, it wasn’t even all mine.  But nonetheless I was happy for us all.  A one in twelve success rate didn’t matter — there was SOMETHING.  For the first time in my life, I realized I didn’t feel such disdain for gardening after all.

If it wasn’t for the girls’ patience and perseverance (I think Sam would talk to the plants too when she’d go out to water them), I don’t think we’d see any kind of result.  And if she didn’t pester me about planting the seeds and growing a garden, we probably never would have even tried.

It’s funny how the world works, and what insight a tiny little sprout has brought into my life.

In all the years I’ve been a #trailingspouse, I’ve also been a mother.  And motherhood has changed me in ways I wouldn’t have imagined, hopefully for the better.  Growing a garden for instance is something I probably wouldn’t do out of my own volition.  But because it interests my daughters, I’ve opened myself up to it.  I’ve actually gotten excited about it because they’re so excited about it too.  Maybe it’s not that hard after all.

The little green sprout is a reminder of this whole #trailingspouse experience.   While there are many challenging unknown factors (including pre-set mental conditions) that can hinder you from “blooming”, going with it can lead to good things.  Something always comes out of it.  And if you’re open to the change and work through it, the garden will most likely follow.

***

Clara of Expat Partner Survival talks about what it was like living somewhere so humid that growth was everywhere. An ongoing battle with mould, ants and sweat. She also talks about how life in “paradise” isn’t what it seems in Blooming Hell – Life on a Hothouse Island.

For, Didi of D for Delicious, it is not rocket science that plants need roots to grow, but for trailing spouses it is not the case in #TrailingSpouseStories: How To Grow Without Roots.

Liz Smith of Secrets of A Trailing Spouse talks about how becoming a trailing spouse is one of the best things she has ever done in Bloomin’ Marvellous.

Tala Ocampo put her HR hat on and explored the key competencies needed to “bloom where you’re planted” in What Does It Take To Bloom Where You’re Planted?.; and

Yuliya Khilko of TinyExpats says that whichever way you bloom, you’re not likely to remain a greenhouse plant in Not a Greenhouse Plant.

May 7, 2015
by mymommyology
0 comments

Working Through Pneumonia and Self-Doubt

Two weeks ago, I went on another emotional roller coaster ride.  Sam contracted pneumonia.

It was baffling.  She would feel bad and go to bed with a low-grade fever; but come morning, she was her perky fever-less self again.  There was a cough, but like the pediatricians tell you — it’s best treated with natural remedies like honey, a humidifier and a warm steam bath, all of which I was already doing.

And if Sam’s condition wasn’t already worrying me enough, my paranoid husband (who claims he is the most logical person in the family — #yeahright) kept nagging me about administering a cough or fever medicine.  Everyday he’d say “she’s not getting better, why don’t you give her medicine.”  And everyday I’d reply, “children without a fever of 102 F don’t need the medication It’s better to let their bodies fight off the infection.”  I understand he was worried too, but I’ve to admit the constant questioning didn’t help my fragile state of self-doubt.

Following the usual protocol of waiting three days, I finally called the nurse hotline Monday night.  Her fever broke twice the night before and I thought she was ok, except she went to bed with a fever again that Monday, and I couldn’t shake the feeling something else was up.

Resting at home.

Resting at home.

As it so happened, I was on the phone with the nurse-on-call when things took a turn for a worse.  Sam threw up (it was the worst kind of throw up I’ve ever seen), spiked a fever of 103.8 F, and the top of her lips discolored.  The nurse told me to get Sam to lie flat on her back and I lifted her shirt to watch her breathe.  I said could see an outline of her ribcage as she did that, and after that he instructed me to take her to the E.R. straight away.  Apparently, that means the child is working too hard to breathe and something is wrong.

It was the most horrible seven hours in the E.R. I’ve ever had, but I will save the drama for the complaint center.  To make a long story short, Sam needed an x-ray and that confirmed her pneumonia.  We got the antibiotics and instructions to visit her pediatrician in two days’ time.

Of course I had to document her very first x-ray procedure.

Of course I had to document her very first x-ray procedure.  Sam actually said it was “so cool.”

On the outside, I think I held it together well (uhm, I did stress-text and email a couple of friends in the wee hours of the morning — oops).  But on the inside I was an emotional mess.  Apart from the lack of sleep and many unanswered questions (because ER doctors really don’t have the time to hold your hand and chit-chat), I was trying to come to terms with my own emotional state.  My self-doubt was through the roof.  For someone who’s constantly with Sam day and night, I couldn’t believe I missed such a severe condition.  What symptoms did I read wrong?

The feeling this picture emits -- is everything I felt.

The feeling this picture emits — is everything I felt and more.

When Jamie contracted pneumonia, I may not have known it was that but I knew from the sound of her breathing, high fever and limp body that something was wrong.  Apart from the high fever, Sam never exhibited any of the other symptoms.

While Sam showed signs of continuously getting better, I was in a silent emotional turmoil for days.  I couldn’t sleep at night because I worried she’d relapse.  I worried about Jamie as well — she was the one most exposed to Sam, and the E.R. doctor said to “bring her in” even if she just started to cough or develop a fever.

Finally Thursday came and so did the pedia visit, which turned out to be more for me than for Sam.  When our doctor walked in Sam and Jamie were gamely laughing and dancing in the room, so it was clear she was fine.  I however, needed my hand-holding.

I replayed the series of events from the first cough Thursday night to our E.R. trip Tuesday early morning.  We went over the x-ray and she pointed to one small spot which was cloudy, which was quite a different “diagnosis” from the E.R. doctor’s who said it was in both her lungs.  But nevertheless, she assured me no matter how acute or severe it was, the treatment program would’ve been the same.  Bacterial pneumonia reacts with antibiotics, and since Sam was responding to the medication and her swab results for viruses came out negative, they knew it was the correct course of action.

But the bigger question I had was what could’ve  been done differently to avoid it.  It was bugging me that I was totally blindsided by what happened.  I felt I could’ve done something better.  And it terrified me that all my life I grew up believing and understanding that pneumonia was a deadly disease, and now my daughter had it.

The pediatrician — bless her soul — re-assured me and said, “Everything happened they way it was supposed to happen.  You couldn’t have known any sooner than you did.”

If we had come in Monday morning with no fever, she (or another doctor) may have sent us home with the same treatment plan I was already doing (Honey, humidifier etc.).  We may have still ended up in the E.R. that night, because it took that long for the bacteria to “present” itself the way it did.  The E.R. experience was unfortunate, and while it wasn’t ideal to make us wait five hours for Motrin (which I could have brought myself), it was also a sign that Sam wasn’t too critical (as it is the nature of an E.R. to handle urgent life-threatening cases first).  And, the pneumonia wasn’t so bad that Sam wasn’t confined.

The pedia also said that usually kids don’t die from pneumonia.  It’s because the pneumonia makes them act differently from how they usually would (extra tired, trouble breathing, etc), and, “a responsible parent like yourself would do something about it right away.”  I won’t lie; it helped she called me a responsible parent.

I wanted to cry.  And hug her.

Whether or not there’s a medical explanation to counter or affirm what she told me, I don’t know.  It did it’s job in the self-doubt department though, and after weeks of constant worry, I found myself breathing normally again.

Except of course, Jamie started coughing and had a low-grade fever the other night.

Thank you, emoticon for capturing my thoughts exactly.

Thank you, emoticon for capturing my thoughts exactly.

So without even batting an eyelash, we were back at the doctor the next day.  Jamie had no fever, she wasn’t coughing and she was totally fine.  I actually felt silly being there, so I told the pedia about our two-week pneumonia episode.  She smiled (probably also thinking I was silly) and said it sounded like Jamie just caught a new bug, but she definitely didn’t contract pneumonia.  While that was a relief to hear, I still wasn’t pacified.  “How will I know this doesn’t progress into pneumonia?”

Well, we can’t guarantee it won’t; but you’ll be able to tell if it does,” she said.

Sick children don’t make the daunting task of parenting any easier.  I always wonder if I do enough or if I do too much, and I never have the answer.  The outpatient events of the  last three weeks have served as a reminder, that sitting still and listening to my gut are still the best course of action.  We must believe, as “responsible” mothers, our instincts will send just the right amount of alarm bells needed to know what to do and when to do it.

April 20, 2015
by mymommyology
11 Comments

#TrailingSpouseStories: The Irony of It All

Welcome to the April run of the #TrailingSpouseStories.  This month’s topic revolves around the classic April Fool’s.  What  got us “fooled” into being a trailing spouse?  What myths did we start out with and what did we discover in the process?  Scroll to the bottom of the post and click on the links to read the other entries.

***

My husband was filling out some paperwork yesterday and essentially asked how many years I’ve been a trailing spouse.  Six years and eight months was the official count when I finally said it out loud.

After six years of trailing, you’d think I’d be used to it by now.  I’ve gotten such sweet compliments about making it look easy, and adjusting so smoothly.  Thank you for such kind words!  I think it’s basically the fact that I enjoy my independent, autonomous family life outside of Manila that gives it that feeling.  However, what you see is only the tip of the iceberg (don’t they say that Facebook depicts everyone’s perfect life?).  Beneath the surface is the usual coping with the challenges… and then some.

You see, I’m a create of habit.

Found this on Lifehack.com.  How can you be a creature of habit if your environment and stimuli is constantly changing?

Found this on Lifehack.com. How can you be a creature of habit if your environment and stimuli is constantly changing?

I like the predictability, the routine, and the forward planning.  I like to think “ahead of schedule”, so much so that I can tell you what my schedule is for the whole month.   If decisions have to be made, I like doing them quickly and pinning down details immediately.

All that said and done — I’m not very good with change.  Whether it’s of the good kind or the bad, somehow the unknown and the “what’s next” always puts knots in my stomach and bags under my eyes.  It’s a true test of patience and a lesson in suppressing panic, because I can’t visualize exactly what’s going to happen (Ironically enough, I married a man full of  “we’ll see…” repliesMakes our lives more interesting, you’d think! ;)).  Now you understand the onset of the three-week Spring Break that had come to pass. 

I like knowing and preparing as much as I can beforehand.  You know those roller coaster rides, or the ones with the surprise drop at the end?  I can do them, but it’s the anticipation that gives me cold sweaty palms and a tummy ache.  I’ve learned the art of the brave face on the outside; but truthfully, I’m a ball of stress on the inside.

'Nuf Said.

‘Nuf Said.

That’s the irony in this entire situation.  Because a trailing spouse’s life is riddled with constant change and so much uncertainty, for someone like me, it’s always a roller coaster ride.  You never know what loops and drops it’ll take you through.

Ever since I became a trailing spouse, so much has changed.  And the change hasn’t stopped!  The pause button is broken.

My family is currently looking for a more “permanent” home (as we’re currently renting).  Still within California, yes — but just the whole process of looking at houses and talking to the realtor is making my head spin and my brain shut down.  There are implications to everything that we’ve set up here with respect to the kids, from schools to extra curricular activities and more.  It’s funny — I knew this from the very beginning, and yet I still can’t seem to wrap my head around it.  It’s yet another change in such a short span of time.

Given the number of times we’ve moved, you’d think by now it would be easier and I’d know what to do.  But there are still so many unanswered questions that can really only unveil with time.  Who’s the fool for believing it would be any different this time around?

But wait.  There’s more.  Two weeks ago, Jamie finally started her full day schedule at school, five days a week.  In the beginning, I couldn’t imagine what I’d do with her when I picked her up at 12 noon everyday.  I couldn’t wait for her to turn 4 and be considered for the whole day program.

Of course, now that she’s in it, I miss having her around.  It seems as if she was ready when I wasn’t.  There have been no complaints thus far.  She likes eating lunch with her friends everyday, and she doesn’t look back after I drop her off.

*sniff*

*sniff*

I’ve longed for this “freedom” for quite some time, however now that it’s here, I’m faced with the paralyzing question of:  what do I do with myself now?

I used to think I’d be one of those parents who would have a list of all the things I could do while the kids were in school all day… and I do have it.  But without them to care for and worry about all day, that list somehow seems so much shorter and easy to finish.  Another good wake up call, which made me realize how much I’ve neglected the “me” bubble since we moved.

My husband expects the house will be cleaner (maybe I shouldn’t have told him about the full day switch! ;)), but then what?  I realized:  It’s been six years since I had whole days to myself!  Even in Manila when the girls were going to school, one of them was always home by lunch.  Maybe it’ll be awesome, but I haven’t gotten the hang of it yet.  Another bit of uncertainty, which can only be resolved in time.

Time.  It should be our friend… but then again, you never know where the trailing spouse life will lead.  And by the time you’ve resolved and gotten used to what it is you want to do, then change creeps up again and turns your world in a different direction.  Then we’re back at square one.

I definitely need to get that pause button fixed.  Or is it foolish of me to think that’s even possible?

***

 Clara of Expat Partner Survival thought she knew what it would be like – she didn’t – she wrote a book to help others not to get fooled too.  Read more in Trailing Fools?

Didi of D for Delicious says that the trailing spouse life is attractively shiny, yet it is better to know that behind the glitter is a lot of grit.  Read more in #TrailingSpouseStories: Falling for Fool’s Gold?  

Elizabeth Smith of Secrets of A Trailing Spouse says that the reality of life as a trailing spouse does not live up to its image, but is so much better.  Read more in You Could’ve Fooled Me: Common Myths About Trailing Spouses.

Shakira Sison chats with Didi of D for Delicious We chat with Palanca winning essayist and Rappler columnist Shakira Sison to share stories of her foolhardy decision to leave for NYC.  Read more in A Conversation on the LGBT Trailing Spouse Life in NYC with Shakira Sison.

Tala wonders if being a Trailing Spouse was her escapist dream come true, or not?  Read the verdict in Ambition: Expat’s Wife.

Yuliya Khilko of TinyExpats says that quite often it’s not about being ‘fooled’, but about ‘fooling’ yourself.  Read more in Assumptions and speculations – beginning of the trailing spouse journey.  

April 15, 2015
by mymommyology
0 comments

A Trip to Universal Studios

Changing it up from the Disneyland fieldtrip, over Spring Break  we surprised the girls and took them to Universal Studios.  It’s quite the trek there, but Costco had (still has, until April 24 I hear!) this deal where you buy a day, and you get the rest of 2015 free.  It’s not a bad deal, even if we just go once every quarter.

I’ve never been to Universal Studios.  The closest I got was when we surprised my friend Polly for her baby shower five years ago.

Throwback photo when Polly and I (and the buns in the oven) were in the same city.

In honor of #tbt, a throwback photo when Polly and I (and the buns in the oven) were in the same city.

I was pregnant with Jamie then, and she was pregnant with my godson Riley.  She and The Fatherland took us down the City Walk for the afternoon.  It’s not a bad place to hang out if you just want a “taste” of Universal.  And the food choices aren’t bad at all.

Sam and Jamie were quite thrilled that it would be the first time for the three of us, and there was nonstop banter in the car.  And because it was a drive, there was non-stop “are we there yet?” and “how many more minutes?!”  I may have lost half my mind.

Because Universal is the home of entertainment and movies, a lot of their attractions featured 3D, 4D and many many special effects and shows.  It was like going to a behind-the-scenes theme park, and learning about how they make movies come to life.  While most of the park may have been too young for Jamie to fully appreciate, she was able to retain some good information about the production world, and understand that some of the things she thinks look scary are really just an illusion.  Sam was able to grasp a little bit more of it, and now asks me if what she sees on TV is real, or it requires some special effects, and what kind (yikes).

It being our first time, we followed the suggested guide and first took the girls to the highly rated WaterWorld show.  The stunts were amazing, and Sam was pretty starstruck.

Photos with the cast, stuntment and actors from shows like Law and Order and Marvels Agents of Shield.

Photos with the cast, stunt men and actors from shows like Marvel’s Agents of Shield and Law and Order.

Then we saw an Animal Actors show, which turned out to be Jamie’s favorite (I foresee an animal-related occupation in her future), because of all the animals that were running and flying around.

Of course, we HAD to meet the cast of Despicable Me 1 and 2, who made their rounds and came out every 15 minutes or so.

The Minions and My Minions.

The Minions and My Minions.

Daddy promised them they’d win a Unicorn at the Super Silly Fun Land…

The game that Gru "blew up" in the movie

Jamie truly reminds me of Agnes.  “I want my Unicorn!” #nopressureDad

… and they did!

"It's so FLUFFY!!!"

“It’s so FLUFFY!!!”

It was the highlight of Jamie’s day.  She was just about ready to go home at that point.  I will say that the Unicorn in the game is stiff, and not as “fluffy” as the plush ones they sell in the stores.  The one they sell is just about triple the price though!

Sam rode Minion Mayhem, the new attraction in 4D.  It’s a really quality kind of ride, so my husband got a switch pass for me to go on.  We learned about the switch pass trick in Disneyland when we went with a friend.  Jamie, not being tall enough to get on most rides yet, had to be left with an adult.  Theme parks offer switch passes for groups in these situations.  Basically, the people who get left behind with the kids can ride immediately without the hassle of getting back in line, when their accompanying adults come back from their turn.   The switch pass can usually get the rider and three or four other people in, so when I went, Sam went with me again.  It works out well, because even at Disney, Sam gets to ride some of the longer lined rides and roller coasters twice.

We didn’t take them to the water park because we didn’t bring a change of clothes.  Most likely it will be part of our next trip over when the weather gets warmer.

After that, we went on the classic studio tour, which featured part of the KingKong movie in 4D.   I tried to prep Jamie for what to expect, but even I wasn’t sure since it was my first time.  She held on to me tight and wouldn’t leave my lap in anticipation.  I kept telling her how brave she was for even trying, praying it would help.  My husband says that the King Kong portion was a new part of the tour, so he couldn’t tell me what to prep her with either.  We were in the dark on this one… literally.

Jamie doesn't look that thrilled.

Jamie doesn’t look that thrilled.

It was like being in a scene from the movie, where the tram was put in a dark cave-like room which turned out to be screens from top to bottom.  It was made so that you’d imagine what it was like in the land of King Kong, fighting of all the dinosaurs.  We got sprinkled on with some water (which was supposed to be dinosaur saliva), but I think the dark, the loud noise and scary music — it was too much for Jamie.  I tried to calm her down by saying King Kong is there to save us, and she listened for a while and stopped wailing.

The rest of what followed after King Kong — the fake flood, and simulated earthquake stressed and scared her even more.  The surprise attack from Jaws was what finally did her in.

She refused to go on anything else after that, so we didn’t get to see the Shrek 4D attraction with Sam and Dad.  We just took a picture for posterity after.

I need to show the girls this movie.

I need to show the girls this movie so they can appreciate our next trip better.

And so while they were inside the ride Jamie and I did a typical de-stressing activity — we went shopping.

It's actually a pretty cute book.

It’s actually a pretty cute book.

The girls didn’t know much about the Simpsons, The Mummy, Transformers, Jurassic Park and Fast and the Furious, but Dad wanted to go down and see what we could do there.  They opted to do Jurassic Park first, and Sam liked it.  My husband however also scared himself silly in anticipation of when things go wrong and the surprise drop at the end, and so insisted that I use the switchpass to take Sam on again (because she wanted to go again).

I'm glad I remembered to bring a change of clothes!  Sam was wet - twice by spraying dinosaurs!

Sam LOVED this ride!

Then to Daddy’s delight, the girls were introduced to the Transformers.

I gotta admit, the way they played this meet and greet out was pretty awesome.

I gotta admit, the way they played this meet and greet out was pretty awesome.

They’re pretty funny for a bunch of robots.  And the voice of Optimus Prime is very much like the actual actor in the movie.

It was nice because the trip added a new repertoire of movie characters that they could eventually learn about.  We didn’t introduce them to the Simpson’s, but the girls did get a taste of Homer’s favorite donuts.

Tip:  Buy this at the beginning, because it is a snack that can last you and the family the WHOLE day!  It's pretty good quality too.

Tip: Buy this at the beginning, because it is a snack that can last you and the family the WHOLE day! It’s pretty good quality too.

The girls collapsed on the way home; Sam from all the new ride excitement, and Jamie probably from all the stress.  And despite Jamie’s freak outs which resulted in ultimate clingy-ness, I quite enjoyed myself too.  I appreciated the new perspectives I gained on the entertainment industry.

Hopefully when we go back, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will already be open, and it would be another fun adventure for us all!

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