The Weekly Peanut, Issue 83
This past weekend was a testament to what life with a toddler is: the worst and best days that we've had in months contained in a 48-hour package.
The Hits/Misses format is pretty inadequate to describe the roller coaster weekend we had. Saturday, in particular, was beyond a miss. Instead, we're just going to write up the whole day as an EPIC. FAIL.
We started out the day trying out our potty training skills with UNDIES, a new potty step stool, sticker rewards, the whole she-bang. Not only did D not seem to grasp the idea of peepee in the potty being our goal, every time I asked her if she needed to go, she would SCREAM at me. When I'd take her to the bathroom every 20-30 minutes regardless? More screaming. Jeez kid, we shouldn't be adversaries here, we're on the same team, no?
About 3 hours in and I was DONE DONE DONE DONE. Screw it, wear the diapers, I fight too many battles with this kid as it is, I'm not starting a new one if she's not ready. If only that was enough to turn around D's attitude. Ian spent the afternoon out at an event, and D and I continued to be at each other's throats the rest of the day. It was one of those days when D would tell me she wanted something, I'd get it, then she'd scream at me. Time outs abound, locking myself in a dark room and engaging in meditative breathing. By the time Ian got home, I was two minutes from putting D to bed at 5pm. Instead we went out to dinner and I self medicated with a margarita as big as my head. D smeared pizza all over her face and hair.
We'd been planning a Magic Kingdom day for Sunday, but after the Saturday debacle we came really close to canceling. I'm so glad we didn't. We had our Best Day Yet and Magic Kingdom with D. Firstly, the park was gloriously empty. Secondly, though it was definitely hot, it wasn't the 9th circle of hell that the parks have been for the past month (it was ALMOST pleasant). Thirdly (not that this is atypical for Disney), we had multiple instances of truly exceptional service from cast members throughout the day.
D sang Let It Go ALLL THE WAY to Magic Kingdom. Tricky thing, she only knows about 3 of the lines by heart... she she started improving in between. I think I heard something about a "Not nice boyyy and he's soooo meeeeeean." Hans?
D chose to wear her Belle dress again (I'd given her choices, and though she almost never picks that dress to wear it around the house, she looooooves to wear it to the parks). It really is fun going to the parks with a dressed up little girl; the employees always make a big show of it for the "princess." We got to the park right after open, D took a few minutes while Daddy got coffee to dance with her shadow.
We rode Pooh on our way to our first FastPass, Rapunzel & Cinderella. It's funny, D never acts excited about Rapunzel going in, but once she's there they are always thick as thieves, whispering to each other in the corner. D also has a bizarre habit any time she's in a room with two characters doing meetings: she spends all her time watching the character she ISN'T with. Rapunzel time? Side-eye cinderella the whole time. Cinderella time? Side-eye Rapunzel.
We managed to distract D from the carousel so we could run over to Under the Sea. 15 minute wait posted? We walked on. Story of the day, regardless of whatever wait time is posted, we walked on to almost everything. GLORIOUS. I'd finally bit the bullet and gotten a FastPass to meet Ariel later in the day, but we noticed she had a really short wait, so we decided to knock it out. I was ready to go in there, guns a-blazing, all set to lecture Ariel about her questionable life choices. I was utterly disarmed.
I kinda fell in love with her.
It's like she KNEW I was coming, so she played up the sweet and ditzy thing to the point that I found myself hopelessly grinning at her the whole time. She was just so stinkin' CUTE, vibrant, and animated. When D was on deck, we got our first little taste of exceptional Disney care. One of Ariel's handler's came over and crouched down to D to introduce himself. (On a side note, for the first time when D was asked her name, she actually said "Dafnee" a couple of times over the course of the day). He showed D the stuffed seagull in his arms, "This is my friend, Scuttle. He really wants to take a picture with Ariel, but he's shy. Would you mind taking care of him and taking him up for a picture?" D's eyes got huge and she nodded very solemnly as she took Scuttle in her arms for a big hug. DYING.
Sure enough, D carried Scuttle up to Ariel's bench (which she climbed up onto by herself, no help thank you very much). D and Ariel had a lovely time, chatting about life under the sea and, of course, Scuttle. Ariel won even more brownie points with me when, despite being pretty immobilized by her lack of legs, she managed to get an iron grip on D's arm so she wouldn't fall off the bench backward before I could get to her (D tried to crack her head open, Ariel to the rescue). D said her Thank You's, then reluctantly returned Scuttle to his "friend." "I wanted to thank you for taking such good care of Scuttle, princess. Here's a special sticker!" He found a Belle & Beast sticker for D, which she seemed to deem an acceptable exchange for the sea gull. My grinch heart grew three sizes.
We had to pass the carousel to get to Peter Pan (our next FastPass), and we knew there'd be no deterring D.
We decided to go back to Liberty Tree Tavern for our lunch (we'd been moving non-stop, sitting down sounded like a great idea). Whoops, they weren't even serving yet! We tried to get D to sit and color, but she started whining. Uh-oh... perhaps we were reaching the end of our grace period for the day? We were sat rather quickly, and our waiter took to D right away. Exceptional round of service #2: our waiter went above and beyond to smooth our our lunch experience. He brought D a special reusable bendy straw for the cups (they usually only give those out with the souvenir mugs and such), gave us extra oyster crackers with our chowder for D to snack on, and brought out D's macaroni as soon as it was ready. It doesn't sound like much, but in the span of less than 20 minutes our on-the-brink-of-meltdown toddler was totally turned around with ZERO effort on our part thanks to the work of that waiter. The portions at that place are HUGE, so Ian and I shared our soup and entree (which our waiter pre-split for us with separate plates and settings). Compared to the ordeal that, say, Pecos Bill can sometimes be to eat at, this was possibly the easiest meal we've ever had at the MK.
Since D's mood was good, we figured we'd go see what the crowds were like in Adventureland. We were about to go through the pass by the castle when D started pointing "Tiana! Tiana!" It should be known that Tiana's gazebo was not even remotely in sight, D somehow remembered where it was. MY HUSBAND DOES NOT HAVE THE LAYOUT OF THE PARK THIS WELL MEMORIZED! "Well, peanut, Tiana's not there right now I think she's eating lunch with Prince Naveen. How about we go on a couple of rides, and if you're still in a good mood, we can come back and see Tiana?" Oh man, the grin on her face. I'm glad we remembered to put the condition that she had to be good in order to make that happen.
Jungle Cruise: walk on. Never happens. Jungle Cruise can be made or broken depending on your tour guide. Our guide, who looked to be all of 16, was SO. INTO. HIS PUNS. I just couldn't help myself. I cackled through the whole thing. I always feel bad for the guides if the people on the cruise are just blatantly ignoring them, so I try to be encouraging even if they aren't funny. The kid embraced the cheese, and I loved him for it. So did D. D LOOOOOVES some elephants.
Pirates of the Caribbean was about a 5 minute line. D likes some pirates. Walking away she started chanting "Yo ho yo ho!" which evolved into "Yo ho Let it go!!!" Hmmmmm...
We hustled over to Tiana's glen. I was concerned, since she was in the middle of a meet window (typically, her line is at capacity as soon as she gets started). We rounded the corner and, SURPRISE only a few people in line and no cut off! She has been HANDS DOWN my favorite character meeting we've ever done (duck watching, anyone?) She really takes her time to make the kids' experience special and personal. Sunday was no exception. D charged her and she immediately kneeled down and scooped D up into her arms. I heard her say to the photographer, "The little ones are the best, so excited!" D and Tiana had their little conversation, then she noticed that D was eyeballing her flower pot. "Oh, would you like to pick a flower with me?" I think my face was even more shocked than D. Deface Disney's precious landscaping?? CAN SHE EVEN DO THAT?!
You'd have thought D got the keys to the kingdom. After a final Thank You and hug for Tiana, she walked away cradling her precious flower to her cheek.
It was almost 2, normally exit time. D was still into it, though, so we went to visit Tinker Bell. Almost no wait.
Our last few visits to see Mickey at Town Square hall were somewhat disappointing; since our first visit, we have NEVER again had Talking Mickey. I asked every line attendant if Talking Mickey was there today, and they all said he "should be." We were the first family ushered into the room, Mickey was over at the mirror "warming up his voice." YESSSS TALKING MICKEY! D was beside herself. There's really something magical about that whole experience. They should have a talking set up for all the non-face characters, seriously.
Here we are, almost 3 pm, and D's still in a good mood. The park is empty, there's a giant chunk of curb... could we FINALLY GET TO SEE THE FESTIVAL OF FANTASY PARADE? Oh yes. Yes we could.
Of course, the temperature peaked as we waited for the parade, ROASTING on the curb. It was worth it. D shouted and waved at all her favorite people, and I (despite having seen all the pictures) still felt my chin hit my chest when the Maleficent dragon rounded the corner.
Asked D if she was ready to go home. "Noooo." Alright then. Since we were all a hot sweaty mess, why not introduce D to Dumbo's splash pad? At first, she wanted nothing to do with it. Ian came up with the solution: chase her through the water. Genius. She had a ball.
After (another) outfit change, D wanted to go see Goofy and Donald. No line. Bitchin'. D loves those two.
D was starting to show signs of delirium, so we thought we'd head out. Oh no, D would not be deterred: DAISY! MINNIE! DAISY DAISY! Peanut, Daisy and Minnie have a longer line, you don't want to wait in the line do you? She nodded solemnly. Oh well, let's try.
D ALWAYS LOSES HER DAMN MIND IN THE LINE FOR MINNIE AND DAISY. NOT IN A GOOD WAY. She started demanding Ian toss her around the whole time, we had to repeatedly threaten to leave the line to calm her down. The meeting with Daisy went perfectly. We had to wait for a couple of couples to finish before Minnie. D was not patient. We got to Minnie. Hugs exchanged. Then she pulled away from Minnie... and bopped her right on the nose. DAPHNE! WE DO NOT HIT! NO NO NO! I was mortified. It wasn't as serious hit, just a little tap, but I was still horrified. Definitely time TO GO HOME. On the way out to the car, Ian and I took stock. Aside from the Minnie bopping incident, D was an absolute champ. We couldn't believe it. Zero meltdowns (a couple of whiny incidents, but nothing out of control). It was 5:30 pm and we'd had an excellent day. Wowza. No way this is the same kid we'd been dealing with Saturday. NO. WAY.
Monday morning D started up with the "no schoooool" nonsense again. I was so tired when I dropped her off I just shrugged at her teacher and wished her luck. I proceeded to have a freakin' awful day at work (unrelated). Then Tuesday? Zero issues with going to school, happy and smiling, hugs and kisses when I dropped her off for the first time in weeks.
I don't know if I can keep up with these swings, good lord.