The Weekly Peanut, Issue 104
I'm ready for this coming week to be totally awful, because this week? It was pretty. darn. awesome.
The ongoing potty saga continues, but with noticeable progress for the first time now that we've introduced the chocolate chip reward system. It hasn't been perfect, and she almost never goes of her own volition, but she rarely screams when I suggest she give it a try and when she does try she's usually fruitful. We've had some successful diaper-free stretches at home (especially in the evenings when she gets home from school). I even got her to go a few times when we were out at the parks this weekend (yes, I brought a bag of chocolate chips with me, my kid does NOTHING without incentive).
Music is becoming a big thing with D; not only does she continue to demonstrate that she knows MORE songs, she's even recognizing instrumental tracks. I was listening to a Disney compilation disc with her in the car and one of the tracks from the Nutcracker Suite from Fantasia came on. D, from the backseat, "FLOWERS! FLOWERRRRS!" Yup, it was the bit with the spinning flowers. Whoa O_O.
D continues to churn out Vegas-worthy Disney performance numbers.
Hubby had to work a festival Saturday afternoon, so D and I took the opportunity to make a rare afternoon appearance at Disney, attempting our second ever Characterpalooza. As much as our experiences at Hollywood Studios have been hit or miss, I feel like it might be the easiest park to fly solo with the kid (mostly shows, not too many characters or lines to deal with). I'd forgotten we had an Izzy (Jake and the Neverland Pirates) costume I'd gotten on clearance from Amazon. Despite its lack of frills, D was stoked to wear it (especially when I told her we'd be going to visit her boyfriend, Jake). I was flabbergasted that she let me keep that bandana on her head.
Jake was our first stop before going to the Disney Junior show. It exceeded all my expectations. They were so cute together, then Jake started urgently gesturing to the Blueberry. She translated, "Jake says she should stay here and sign autographs and take pictures with him for the rest of the day." Oh, cool. For sure. Keep her, I'll go get some cocktails...
I managed to get D to use the potty after the show, unfortunately she got water all over her pants. Outfit change time. Looking at the clock, we had about 30 minutes before Characterpalooza. Enough time to grab some food and chill by the gate. D had other ideas. FIAAAA! D... aren't you hungry? FOOOOD! Ok, well why don't we go get some food and come back to see Sofia later? NOOOO FIA! Well... I guess... the line's not too bad.
I KNOW BETTER. I should have just dragged her to get the food, because D was all over the place for the Sofia meeting. She wasn't a turd or anything, but she was mostly running around. Then she poked Sofia in the "eye" and I dragged her off to put food in her like I should have done in the first place. Note the lack of pictures: the photopass guy kept hopping into my shot, and D wasn't cooperating anyway. C'est la toddler vie.
So after that dud we were on a real time crunch to eat and make it to the palooza. We stopped at Fairfax Fare to grab some chow. I ordered and D stood in her stroller watching the proceedings. Frank was taking my order, "Oh, hi princess!" D smiled shyly. This still marks a lot of progress for her, especially with male strangers. Frank disappeared to the side and came back out, "How would you like a cupcake?" D went from shy smiles to giant grins. "Thankoo! Oooo cuhcake!" I let her hold the cupcake, but told her we couldn't eat it until after we'd had our other food. Meanwhile, still waiting for said food, all the cast members inside Fairfax were taking turns coming over to our window, Oooohing and Awwing at D and her charm. O_O Frank came back, reached over into the cooler again and said, "You know what? A princess like you should have a princess cupcake!" He presented D with one of the special limited edition Cinderella cupcakes. The ones that cost... uhm, a lot. D needed no prompting to start ooohing and ahhhing and thanking profusely. "Oh gosh, you are too sweet!" I tried to hand back the other cupcake, "Oh no, now you both can have one!" That's right, my kid just charmed this guy out of TWO cupcakes. Outrageous. I have no idea how I managed to keep her from diving into them, must have been because she was so in awe of her windfall.
Time running short, D (blissfully) didn't fight me and managed to not only scarf most of her macaroni but a bunch of her carrot sticks (I know, I still can't believe it) as well before we had to haul tush over to the gates for Characterpalooza. I still think my favorite part of this little event is NOT knowing what's in store (I listen to my IPod on full shuffle, I LIKE SURPRISES). Despite it being a Saturday, the group gathered around the gates was considerably smaller than our last visit. Within moments of our arrival, the gates were pushed open and we were one of the first inside. I immediately rushed D to a character who almost very rarely makes meeting appearances.
I didn't know what D's reaction would be, since she's had almost no exposure to Pinocchio, but she launched herself for that hug hard enough to almost knock over the little wooden boy.
I glanced down the row. Sure enough, D's (and, yup, my) favorites, Tiana and Mulan, were next in the line up. That's not even a question. D charged forward making the "respect" pose with her hands that she first tried to learn on our last visit to Epcot.
In the interest of trying to meet as many characters as we could (we only got to about half last time) and letting the people behind us have their turn I sort of rushed D down the line.
Tiana greeted us with "Daphne! I'm so excited to see you again!" It's definitely a perk of being a regular, having the princesses know your kid's name. Daphne eagerly demonstrated her twirls and I took off down the line eager to meet the princess we were denied the last time we'd been at Animal Kingdom.
D was hilarious. After her hug, she started poking around in the bushes behind Pocahontas. "Oh, do you like to run the hidden pine trails of the forest?" Touché, Pocahontas. D came back over, looked down and started gently stroking Pocahontas' leg. Pocahontas raised an eyebrow and looked at me. "Well, ya know, there aren't a lot of Disney Princesses that show that much leg, you can't blame her for being surprised by the novelty..." I couldn't blame D, either. Pocahontas is GORGEOUS.
Jasmine was next and D proved to me that it is, indeed, just a guy thing when she has trouble with character meetings. We had to wait behind one person before D's turn, and that was when D saw the character meeting next to us. D whispered, "Mommy, who dat?" I looked. "That's the Evil Queen." D's eyes got huge. "Ohhh... [head shake] I can't meet her!" Ok, D you don't have to. Can I meet her? "Nooooo." Okay okay, fine.
While meeting Jasmine, D kept sneaking looks over at the queen, like she was expecting the queen to sneak over and dive on her. I took D's hand and went to lead her away, but we had to sort of walk vaguely in the direction of the Queen to do so. D dragged back on my hand, "NOOO! NO NO NOOOOOO!" The Queen had no one in her line (like I said, very few people at the palooza) and she immediately put up her hands, "It's alright, Dear, I don't have any apples today!" but D wasn't having it, she burst into wailing tears. The nearby Blueberries all starting "aww"ing and I tried to gently steer D away, mildly mortified. I was not prepared for what happened next.
The queen crouched down, still entirely in character, looked right at D and said "Oh I see you're wearing purple. It's a lovely color, all I ever wear..." Like Gaston, it looks like the key to my kid's heart is flattery. D stopped crying and gave the queen a bit of a squint. "Honestly, dear, there's no need to be scared, you've nothing at all to fear from me." I piped up, "Kid, you've got at least ten or twelve years until you hit puberty and she considers you competition..." I heard some chuckles from the blueberries. The queen reached out a hand, "Would you like to come over and talk to me, dear?" Uhm, guys...
Could have knocked me over with a feather. NEVER saw that coming. It was all of twenty seconds between my kid screaming in terror and giving the queen a big hug. I was endlessly impressed with the queen's ability to somehow not only be totally in character yet completely disarm and charm my kid. After a little chat, she asked D if she'd like to pose for some portraits. D nodded. "Now dear, don't smile. Smiling gives you wrinkles." D took this commandment very seriously.
"Can you cross your arms like this? Makes for a very queenly pose."
How. About. That. The crowd was practically gone so I figured it must be almost over and I started leading D toward the exit. Mulan waved. Nobody is rushing us out. Nobody is in line. So D started running back and forth between Mulan and Tiana. She tried to show off her jumping skills. Of course, she wiped out. Mulan and Tiana helped her stand back up as she whimpered. Mulan says "Well how about we kiss your booboos, will that help?" Dying. seriously. What an incredible treat to have both of these ladies together. Pinch me.
D started pointing over at Chip and Dale. The ladies discussed different techniques for differentiating between the two. Mulan walked D over to see D's new favorite chipmunks.
Chip definitely gets more kisses than Dale. After that it felt like we were the only people left, but nobody was trying to make us leave. If anything, everybody was just watching D and smiling as she scampered around. Alright, kid, time to let everybody have a break. Rafiki was waiting by the gate. Ahhh what the heck.
Rafiki played peek-a-boo with D and from the way she laughed you would have thought it was the best joke ever told. We walked away with D waving over her shoulder. All of that? Less than 30 minutes. Every character met, some more than once. Characterpalooza is THE BEST.
We had a FastPass for Toy Story Mania so I hauled butt over there (D loves it and pretends to point the shooter at the screen, giggling like a loon, scoring nothing), but when we got out she only had eyes for CUPCAKES. Alright kid, you've waited long enough. At that moment we ran into some friends who also have an adorable little girl who frequents the parks. We got to share our cupcakes with them. Honestly I had to scrape off most of that beautiful blue frosting just so D wouldn't turn into a sugar demon once it was gone.
Front row seats for the Frozen Singalong. Like a boss. D started singing along with me once we got to Love Is An Open Door, and she even did the jinx fingers with me followed by a little synchronized robot. Too dark for video, I apologize.
Also I might seriously like the singalong show better than the actual movie. These two Arendelle Historians were so funny (and punny). It was dark by the time we got out, and we headed home.
Sunday was our day to spend together as a family. Ian was pretty tired from working the day before, but we decided to have a brief outing and finally take advantage of Sea World's annual pass deal (they are, literally, cheaper than a 1 day pass right now. Redonk). We had passes when D was still a baby, but we'd gone all of 2014 without going so it was like a whole new place for her. We also got to try out the new Antarctica exhibit for the first time. D LOVED the penguins. LOOOOOOOVED.
Daphne also thinks all penguins are babies.
D's also really into the sharks.
Going back to Shamu's Happy Harbor gave me such flashbacks of D's early months. Heck, the whole park was making me think, "Yup, nursed D there. Nursed her over there, too. And... yup, there, too..." Seeing the splash pad... ok, to heck with it, here's a little flashback.
We hadn't counted on it being so hot that day, so we had no swimwear. We did, however, have a much larger kid who was interested in trying out some of the rides. They had a carousel, a mini version of the teacups, and a bunch of other options. One, the Ocean Commotion, resembled a smaller version of the boat ride you see at carnivals, except it also SPINS. OMG, Daphne has a new favorite thing.
D was on her way to dramaville by then so we called it a day with eager plans to come back and revisit other parts of the park (ahem, sesame street shows, sting ray petting).
Like I said, a pretty spectacular week. We have a few fun things planned for Valentine's Day weekend, so fingers crossed!