The Weekly Peanut, Issue 94
"How old is she?" "Two." "Ahhhhh, those Terrible Twos!" "Well, you know, she's pretty much been in them since she can walk. We're just rolling with the punches at this point."
Oh, Emily. Have you learned nothing about the way the universe works when it comes to you and this kid? Yeah, It's going to be a Nicolas Caige gif kind of TWP issue.
The week started innocently enough. We picked D up from school for her four-day-weekend, and she was at her charming best. She was sweet and snuggly, trying to climb into Ian's lap while he wrapped up work. Ian came up with a brilliant solution...
I somehow got my hands on a FastPass for Anna & Elsa... for Thanksgiving day. Notoriously one of the most crowded days at the parks. Oy. We decided to have an early lunch Turkey Day then roll the dice at the parks. I took a stab at doing a healthy meal compliments recipe ideas from the glorious Skinnytaste blog (with a few signature flavor tweaks, of course). I was pretty stoked with my slow-cooker turkey breast, cider gravy, stuffing, and garlic mashed cauliflower. What surprised me was that Daphne was also quite taken with the mashed cauliflower. Yup, only thing on the plate my kid wanted.... was the vegetable.
We got to the ticketing center for MK around 2. I was expecting bedlam, parking on grass, hideous waits for monorails, etc. Imagine my astonishment when we were escorted to the villains lot (for the first time!), a mere 5 minute stroller walk to the monorails. Hot. Diggity Damn. It's probably the best spot we've ever had at the Ticketing center!
We arrived on Main Street just as the Festival of Fantasy parade was ending. YIKES! At least it meant a large chunk of the crowd was leaving, but it meant trying to navigate up Main Street feeling like a salmon trying to spawn. The park was crowded, even post FoF, but I still don't think it was the worst I'd seen. Thank goodness for FastPass, because it meant even with crazy crowds we could still accomplish a few things before throwing in the towel. Like riding Peter Pan, or taking a family selfie in front of Rapunzel's tower.
Yup, that's my hand in the corner of the picture, because somebody bumped into my elbow at the last minute. It was that crowded. At the bathrooms.
At last it was time for Anna and Elsa (we hadn't seen them in months!).
There's been a lot of griping among the Disney crowd regarding Anna & Elsa being separated, that you can no longer get the photo op with them at the same time. I get it. This last trip finally showed me the benefits: it gives each sister a chance to spread their personality wings and have a totally unique experience with the visitors. Right before we got up to Elsa, I asked D if she had anything she was going to ask Elsa. ".... Presents." "...You're going to ask Elsa for presents??" Nod. "Do you think she's Santa Claus??" More nodding. "Hmmm... well maybe she'll bring you some snow cones."
I've said it before, I'll said it again: I love that we never feel rushed during our princess time. Or, ahem, Queen time. D and those royal ladies probably could have hung out all day if I hadn't finally nudged her along. D and Elsa talked snow cones, capes, hair crystals, twirling, all of it. So involved were they that Anna apparently started getting lonely. I didn't notice, but Ian tells me she started hamming it up for the other people in line, mugging behind the photographer for D. As we were wrapping up, she went and hid behind a column for D to come find her.
Best. Anna meet. Ever. Ian and I were totally bowled over. She was so funny, so engaging, so manic she could keep up with my kid. Perfection.
At that point the trip had been 100% worth it, anything else would be gravy. D had been showing a lot of interest in the "racecars!" in Tomorrowland the last few visits, so I'd snagged a FastPass for Daddy and Peanut to give it a try. I got to watch from one of the bridges. Ian says it was a GREAT idea, that this now needs to be a regular thing, because D was toooootally into it. I did not get pictures, but Ian got a little video...
I checked my Disney App for wait times/meetings, hoping we might squeeze in one last opportunity for ProjectTY before hitting the road. Tiana and Naveen were due out in just a few minutes.... maybe we'd do a drive by and see how bad the line was? Bad. Very bad. And they weren't due out for another 10 minutes. Suddenly D realized where we were, and that longer memory is a huge new development that D's been flexing lately, "TYAHNAAH! TYAHNAAH!" Uh oh. "D, I don't think we can meet them, look how long that line is! You don't want to wait in this line, do you?" "YES!" Ooops. Nope. We scooted on past the gazebo to go to Main Street, "Oh! Tyahnah no there!" Oh, thank goodness. "That's right, Peanut. Tiana's not there right now. We'll have to catch her next time!" PHEW.
Tinker Bell was our last stop. D went straight for the crayons. She thinks they're hers now.
We had a short wait for the monorail, but it was totally worth it when we had a special moment. The family in front of us had an Elsa. She marched right up to D in the stroller. "HI, SISTER! Want to play?" Oh, it was on. They played hide and seek around the trash can and tickled each other. Too cute.
Friday and Saturday continued the good moods... and the nap strikes. We finally got to hang out with D's BFF Audrey and play Frozen dress-up while watching Yo Gabba Gabba and Tangled. D willingly ate sandwiches, craisins, and walnuts. Without a fight. So it's just us she gives this grief to. *sigh*
I probably should have taken it as a sign of things to come when I got this receipt while out holiday shopping on Saturday...
Or maybe this sassy attitude we were getting...
Sunday marked the return of Demon Baby/Toddler, and at levels I don't know if we've ever seen. Good. God. Get a. Grip. Girl. The last few times we've worn princess dresses to the parks, D's been really uncomfortable with the bulky skirt and the car seat straps. So we figured we'd wear normal clothes for the car trip and change into the dress when we got there. Cue EPIC BATTLE OF WILLS #1. D wants to put her Snow White dress on, she "can't" wear a shirt. Nope. It took multiple time outs, several calm explaining conversations followed by more meltdowns, before I finally talked her into the shirt. All in it probably only took about 10 minutes, but it was full steam kicking and screaming tantrums. I was so proud of Ian and I for not blowing up at her and for staying patient and, more than anything, for NOT caving on the dress. PHEW.
We got to Epcot without further incident. D put her dress on and started enthusiastically requesting a trip on "Spaceship Erff!" Although, she also sometimes calls it "moon" or "epcot." Mostly she calls it spacheship. D grinned at us as the ride started and stayed that way. Her favorite part is still the top of the dome when we watch earth from a distance. She still calls THAT the moon. We'll work on it.
D started asking for "snacks" as we got off the ride. This is one of our biggest ongoing battles right now: D only wants snacks. She doesn't want "food," "breakfast," "lunch," or "dinner." She wants applesauce and craisins all day. The end. Obviously, this isn't going to fly. I offered D some applesauce, then said we could eat some more after we went on Living with the Land. While I hit the restrooms, Ian took D to Seasons to grab a snack. That, apparently, is where we went wrong again. D wanted a cookie. Ian wouldn't get her a cookie. Ian got a multigrain croissant. Here we go. I told D if she took ONE bite of the croissant, she could have craisins. She wanted craisins. One bite of croissant = handful of craisins. Cue meltdown. First she had this tantrum downstairs near the cafe. It continued as we took her upstairs and found a quiet corner for time out discipline. Move it along, folks, nothing to see here. D continued to stomp and scream, we continued to calmly insist on the bite. She started hitting. We told her princesses don't behave that way, so she wouldn't get to wear her princess dress if she was behaving like a demon. Cue more violence. Exit with screaming toddler. Set up discipline shop near stroller parking. Extract D from dress. Take turns sitting calmly with her while she continues to meltdown. FINALLY she caves and eats the bite of croissant, followed by a handful of craisins while Ian and I high-five each other. Again, neither of us lost our cool, neither of us caved, and it took all of ten minutes. Still, we'd never seen anything on this scale from her. Yikes. We decided to take a snack and coffee break (D picked out an apple, whole, which she gnawed on like a rawhide for several minutes).
After about 20 minutes of her best behavior, I allowed her to put her dress back on and we went into the character spot where I KNEW we could hand out some gifts to characters. I crouched down with D to hand her the photos, when suddenly D wasn't having it. "NOOO! NO MICKEY! NO MINNIE! NOOO! CAN'T!" Then she started urgently pointing at Innovations across the way. Ahhh. D's favorite place, the little fire house, is in there. It's been weeks, but she remembers. So I had a serious talk with her, "D, let's go give our gifts to Mickey and Minnie and Goofy, which will make them happy. Then, I promise, we can go over to the fire house." She took a second, then nodded and the meltdown stopped completely. Alright then. I can handle this. Bargaining, within reason, I'm fine with so long as it doesn't compromise whatever we're trying to take a stand on. I did have a really nice ego moment while I was crouched over talking to her: the parents behind us saw the photos I was holding and asked, "Wow, where did you get those?" Oh, I took them. "Those are amazing photos." Wow. Thank you. Blushing. I needed that, dealing with demon kid.
Sure enough, as soon as Mickey was in sight, it was like the debate never happened. D was thrilled, as always, and so were Mickey. Goofy and Minnie. Goofy got to dance with D again. She won't dance with us, no, only Goofy.
We upheld our deal and let D run around in circles in the fire house (I don't know what else to call it). I still have no idea what is so fascinating about it. Maybe it's like a giant dollhouse? Or that it's a Peanut sized house?
Onward to World Showcase! The timing worked out for Donald perfectly. There was no fight on the Donald front, oh no. D. Loves. Donald. He also had on his adorably festive Holiday in Mexico outfit. D showered Donald with hugs and kisses. When we told Donald he got more kisses than Mickey he was TOTALLY stoked, did a little victory dance. Good to know that rivalry still exists.
Lunch time. We love Restaurant Marrakesh. Especially since it's not usually super crowded for lunch. In the eternal battle that is getting my child to eat, I was so happy when she not only downed her lunch, she started guarding it like a dog with food aggression issues when Ian and I started stealing her french fries.
We got out of lunch just in time to FINALLY have our first Provincial Belle meeting. Her line is always cut off when we try to go!
At LAST! Belle taught D a new princess move: giggling behind your hand.
We took a quick detour to England to try and connect with Winnie and Tigger for gift time. I can't say this enough: Don't try to meet these two at MK. The lines are ABSURD. The character meeting at Epcot is almost hidden (nobody seems to know it's there) and we've never waited behind more than 2 or 3 families to see them, most of the time you can walk right up.
We tried to have our first meeting with Aurora in France. We got in line about 10 minutes before she was due to appear. D was wired, so she first demanded that I perform Lion King songs for her (then the rest of the kids in line started firing off requests, my Hakuna Matata has never had such an avid audience). Ian got to practice his Princess Juggling skills.
Right when Aurora was due to come out, an attendant came out to let us know Aurora had fallen asleep again and they were waiting on Prince Phillip to come wake her up. 20 more minutes. Nope. Let's make a run for Snow White, D's dressed appropriately after all. Our only other time with Snow had gotten rained out, too. There was a little bit of a line, but D managed to distract herself by wandering through the bushes and stepping in puddles (ugh). Finally, our turn.
Snow White was EVERYTHING. Perfect. She even took note of D's magic bandit "Oh look, you have my stepmother here on your bracelet!" I quickly stepped in, saying it was my fault for buying the three pack. But rather than villain shaming like some of the other princesses, she just smiled and said "I was just going to say how lovely she looks. She really is beautiful, isn't she?" Yes, Miss Congeniality.
Snow and D made a wish in the wishing well and giggled behind their hands. At the end Snow leaned over and asked to tell D a secret, then she planted a huge kiss on her cheek.
We were going to say hi to Mulan, but the line was longer than we'd ever seen. At 2 pm we figured we'd done enough for one day. Then we got to Mexico and D was very insistent about going on the Caballeros ride. Fine. Heading out I made a pit stop in the Spaceship Earth restrooms to change D back out of the dress. Uh oh. NOOO! NO SHIRT NO SHIRT NOO! Thus began the biggest meltdown of the day. D locked her arms behind her back and tried to swing at me and bite me while SCREAMING at the top of her lungs. I had to use a wrestling hold to keep myself from getting chomped on while getting the shirt on her. She kept screaming and pulling at the shirt, so I put her into the stroller and strapped her in for once, telling her she was in time out for biting, punching, hitting and general unpleasantness. Screaming continues. I walk the stroller out of the bathroom and am greeted by lots of bewildered stares, including my husband's. Those screams really carry in the bathroom, apparently. Over the continuing screams of my child I did a grand curtsy for my audience and proclaimed "Thank you, Thank you! We'll be here all week!" That got a good round of laughs. Yay, Disney: where parents always empathize with shitty child behavior.
D continued the kicking and screaming tantrum over her chant of "NO SEATBELT NO SEATBELT!" all the way to the car. I crouched down next to her and told her that once she stopped screaming we could talk. Then I explained why this had all happened, and if she could calm down now, we'd take her out of the stroller and get in the car. Tearful apologies later, we got on with our trip home, but YEESH. 3 epic meltdowns in one day. Ian and I kept our cool through all of them, but I could see reaching a point where we wouldn't, and I DON'T want to get to that point.
We got home and D continued to refuse to nap. Thus she has continued to be a bit fragile and cranky since. Ian thinks she's sick, but I think she's probably got our allergies, symptomatically it mimics mine, but she just doesn't know how to deal with it yet. D has been very fond of all the presents under the tree. Every day she declares "I build Rella Castle!" She's branched out into multiple wings and towers now.