Tuesday, February 10, 2009

do you suppose Great Wolf Lodge will pay me for this endorsement?

I remember Dad telling me once that kids like repetition.  After being at a water park with Jake for two days, I've decided that is an understatement equal only to, I'm okay with eating chocolate and we sort of have to breathe to stay alive.  I sort of got a clue the first day when the older kids were rarely in the same part of the park for longer than five minutes, most of the adults varied their activity off and on, and I sat watching Jake go up the stairs and down the red slide so many times that I ceased to discern the difference between the slide and the water.  The next day Michael mentioned that he was feeling kind of ashamed that most parents were 

in the pool with their kids while we sat idly by as Jake made a playmate out of his hand.  I am not even kidding.  He talks to his hand sometimes.  He calls it Jakey, asks if Jakey would like to do this or that, answers, yes okay, and then does it.  He also got really tired by the second leg of the second day and wanted to keep playing but could barely hold his head up.  So, I decided to join him.

He held out his hand.  We walked together up the stairs.  He let go, plopped on the blue slide (the second day's riveting variation) and slid down while I descended the stairs on the other side.  Then he held out his hand again, I grabbed it, and we did the whole thing again until I was literally dizzy.  Somehow walking around and around that little routine felt more engaging than just watching him do it.  And I needed some variety by that point.  Plus, he didn't talk to his hand anymore as long as I was holding it.

We were at an indoor water park in Kansas City celebrating my sister-in-law Mary's birthday.  Which is interesting, because I didn't see that girl go down a single slide.  She even told me she's squeamish - the heights, the plummeting from them - all of it.  She has kids the ages of my older two, and one could assume that she chose the location for the uninterrupted rest and reading time that comes with the children being so happily occupied.  Trust me, though, there are much quieter places to read and relax.  Places where hundreds of children don't run around you screaming, shaking water on you with their oblivion and dumping it on you on purpose if you chase your toddler through the jungle gym area underneath the log in which they have been storing it up.  Places where the smell of chlorine hasn't reached toxic levels.  This, I believe, is the power of motherhood.  To find a place thrilling simply because it is that thrilling to your children.  We're going to sleep right upstairs from three giant water slides and the pools and log-climby things and tree house with the giant bucket on top that dumps 1000 gallons of water every 5 minutes?  AND I CAN GO THERE?!  These are not the words of a twenty-five or so (you're welcome, Mary) year-old woman.  They are the words of her children, and therefore music to her ears.  It is so stinking fun to thrill them.


Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this Seren, felt like I was there! (wish I had been) I could have talked to 'Jakey'

Kelly H-Y said...

That is so funny ... and true! Great picture of Jake too ... very cute ... he's having the time of his life! I had no idea that Great Wolf Lodge was a chain ... they just built one up north of us in the Washington area, and it was the first I'd ever heard of it! Learn something new every day.

Matt Bowman said...

I am definitely that parent sitting and reading...and feeling occasionally guilty. :-)

Jake and his handy friend make me think of Aria. She used to get so bored in her car seat when she was little that she would start pretending her fingers and toes were dolls or something. They would sing songs and talk to each other. I figure it's just a sign of a really good imagination!

Sarah said...

Great Wolf is our favorite vacationing spot with the kids. I still haven't adjusted to letting my kids roam free in a room full of strangers and water. Especially since my boys don't really swim. We always bring along an older friend for Audrey, so I don't usually worry about her. Danny and I can then concentrate on the boys.

Last time we were there, I let Ty go off by himself inside the large wooden climbing structure. I told him to check in with me every 5-10 minutes (like he would know we that was.) I hadn't seen him for awhile and began to look around for him. I became a little frantic when I couldn't find him. A few seconds later, he came running toward me, "Mom, I just went down the big yellow slide, all by myself." I was a little miffed that he disobeyed my instruction, yet thrilled that he was brave enough to step out without fear or reservation. It was definitely one of those infuriatingly proud-as-could-be mom moments.

Valerie said...

I have been wanting to take the kids to this place...I think it looks like a blast!

revonna said...

I laughed so hard at, "Jakey"! Luke doesn't talk to his hand but he does talk to, "Lukey". The other day I had laid him down for a nap, quite some time had passed and I could still hear him in there messing around. I peaked my head in the door and found that he had stripped the sheet off his bed, and was sitting under it like a tent. Then he said, "You wanna play cars Lukey?" and answered himself, "Ya that would be great!" "Ok". LOL I laughed so hard inside, of course not out loud because I couldn't disrupt playtime:)

serenity said...

Sarah - I totally get that combination of infuriated and proud. And I had a couple panic moments myself this time - most of them my fault for not paying better attention. But mostly, I just let them have the run of the place - and like with Audrey, our older two had Mitch and Abby to help keep tabs on them. And Revonna and Matt sure put me at ease with Jake's imagination. I knew that's what it was, but after writing it in black and white, I thought it seemed even more eccentric. I'm glad to know it's par for the course with other perfectly normal children. :)

Andrea said...

I had all kinds of "pretend friends" when I was little, just ask my 3 older sisters, I used to stand and hold the door open for them. We lived in the country, so I made up a bunch of playmates.........and look how well-adjusted I am :)

serenity said...

Very true, Andrea! I also just watched Mrs. Potter, and she is living proof that imaginary playmates can work out VERY WELL for a person.

Anonymous said...

Okay when you are thirty...something [nobody would believe the twenty-fivish statement but thank you anyway Serenity!:)] and most of your time is reading medical and nursing journals and textbooks along with being chained to your computer typing for hours-anything else sounds like fun!! Sometimes it is just fun to be somewhere else and the bonus of letting the kids go have a blast in the water park sounds like a great B-Day to me! Give Jake a few more years and he will take "Jakey" off and play with the big kids and you can come read in the corner with me- great fun! Thanks for spending my B-Day with me!! Mary B.