Today my four year old and I conquered Legoland. I had never gone before and had no idea what to expect. We do these day adventures every so often, and I so love planning out new places Caleb (and this time I) have never been. I try to plan trips like today in the middle of the week so there are less crowds. I find that with us, crowds are usually the enemy. We both dislike them terribly and it can have a drastic change in the experience for Caleb if park is packed more of bodies than moving space.
I had no real expectations of Legoland going in, besides to see some awesome structures made entirely out of Legos (which is pretty rad in itself). However, today's trip blew me out of the water. The weather was great being in the early 70's, it was not too crowded at all, and better yet, the park is totally made for little ones. Caleb could get on almost every ride there and enjoy it. He has never been a child to like rides. He is like his father in this regard. To this day, his dad will not go on rides of any kind. Until today, neither would Caleb. Today, he was eager to go on almost every ride he could. I am delighted to be able to say that. It shows growth, and I love it.
The park wasn't overwhelming or too much to handle by any means. I never found myself stressed out besides the fact that my child walks SO INCREDIBLY SLOW OMG (which is not stressful, actually). I would be walking at a normal pace, constantly having to go back to him meandering slowly behind me, just taking in life. I am sure there is a life lesson for me tucked in there somewhere...;). What I found with today, is that we really could just walk around, not feel exhausted, and just simply just enjoy being there. What a concept! You go to Disneyland and leave with a damn hernia and shin splints for three days. We haven't gone to Knott's Berry Farm together yet, but a lot of the park is for an older crowd. Legoland is perfect for children. Kids as young as mine can go and conquer that park like nobodies business. And mine did.
Before we went today, my impression of Legoland was that it was a bit out of control with its multiple conjoined parks and neighboring hotel. I mean really, can a franchise calm down? We DID go to the Sea Life Aquarium because it came with our tickets. I'll be honest, I was skeptical by the whole Aquarium thing. I still think it's weird this is joined into Legoland. Putting aside my inner grumblings, I will say that this Aquarium was a better experience than any other we have been to together. It seemed again, geared for a younger age. It wasn't huge or overwhelming. Two stations were present and easily accessible to be able to see tide pools up close. Tangent, but I actually found myself enraptured with all of the jelly fish there, moving and floating along as the bobbed back and forth with their tentacles. I was taken by such a painful, fragile, tissue like creature that was alive and active. Sometimes certain creatures cause me to pause and behold the utter beauty and delicacy of creation and life. These jellyfish took my breath away, and I was amazed by their lives. Caleb had no such moment, and plowed along, jumping and climbing on things he shouldn't have.
The one part of today Caleb DID NOT like was the water play area where the Pirate Cove is (I don't know if it is actually called that. I may have made that up). He was eager to play in the water. I had him all dressed and sun-screened, ready to go, until an enormous bucket of water on the top of the water play structure dumped it's huge load of water all over the place, dousing any child in its path. Caleb was not having it. I pulled out pep talk after pep talk to try to get him out there and play and at least go on a water slide once. He refused no matter what. I make an effort to get him to try things once, because often when he does, he likes it. I know he would have loved the water slides if he just pushed past the fear of that bucket water of death, but to no avail. At one point, he ran to another water play area that was behind me. When I turned to see him, his white bare butt was hanging out of his pulled down swim trunks as he was peeing into a fountain of water. I turned around and stifled a laugh of "oh crap". The deed was done. We left soon after that.
It was a good day. A very good, successful day indeed. I think what's better though, is at the end of the day when we return home, there is still this joyous boy. When we are at a place like Legoland, or any amusement park for that matter, you don't see the same kind of joy you do in every day moments. At least for us, even while Caleb is doing great and loving those environments, it is still a lot to take in. You process it differently and enjoy it differently. You play hard, try new things, meet new people, wait in those lines as a seemingly eternal exercise of patience, eat expensive foods, and are pushed to try things you may not want to-only to find that you do like them after all. All of this happened today in abundance, and it was great. But once we got home and rested a little (ahem, impromptu showing of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2), playing simple games that he makes up causes raucous laughter. Caleb ran naked, hiding in other rooms from me while pretending to play a rock and roll air guitar. Then during bedtime prayer, he was disruptive. I gave him a little whack today to try to hush him up, only for him to burst out in a river of loud and joyous laughter. I guess I just reveled in this contrast of two goods.He was home, he was relaxed, he wasn't taking in a new world anymore. He was back in his own world again, and so he lived it and laughed. His joys changed to reflect this and added to my own.
I am a mother because this boy made me one. My body reflects that. My mind, my life, my very spirit, reflects that. People tell me that I am a good mom. I can't pretend to really understand why that is. But I can say this, becoming a mother changes your identity from a you, to a they. From an I, to a we. Yes I am still an "I", still a woman, still an individual who still can and does have a life outside a child. But that child never leaves you. No matter where I am in the world, if my child needs me, I will come. Life never looks the same again because you think of the little people first. You think of what you want to teach them, or how you want to pursue your life in a manner worthy of modeling how it should be done. Fortunately for me, I have my Jesus, who is the perfect model of how I want our lives to look. I suck and make stupid mistakes all the time. I am ashamed at myself sometimes. I regret things sometimes. But that is the human way, and part of what it means to teach life to kids. Anyway, it is a unique and fun experience to be able to do things like today with my son.
Legoland for the win, like really.
And photos of today, because of course.