Friday, August 29, 2008

So, About That Disneyland ...

Wow. It's been twenty million years, hasn't it? I don't even have a coherent excuse to offer, either. Disneyland was tiring, we are gearing up for a new school year, both for me as a teacher and for Max as (stifled sob) a new student. Plus, and I say this with love, Max has had some 'tude lately. A full time job's worth. With unpaid overtime. It recently occurred to him that he will only be two for a couple more weeks, and he has an entire year's worth of Terrible Twos to pack into those weeks. But anyway. Disneyland! The epic Tillman Adventure!

Our friend Mike, who loves Disneyland, looked at our pictures from our trip eagerly, and then, much less eagerly, said, "But there are no pictures of Disneyland. These are just a bunch of pictures of you guys standing around." It's not entirely true -- we got some pictures of the kids going on rides, or in front of Disney-ish scenery, and my in-laws have since sent me some of their pictures, filling in some of the gaps. But it is true that I didn't get as many pictures as I hoped, and that a lot of the ones that I did get don't really show the Disneyland setting off to full advantage. But when you are travelling with four children under the age of three, and you are in a really crowded and stimulating environment, it turns out that you are very, very maniacally busy, and you have both hands full a lot of the time. And both feet. And the moments when you have the camera and the ability to use it are the moments when you are sitting and eating lunch, or sleeping in the hotel room, or doing other things that are taking place in Disneyland but look like they could be taking place anywhere. Therefore, to set the scene, I am starting with this picture of Maggie showing off some Disney merchandise.

Maggie's love of her cousin Sophia was not diminished by three days of togetherness. There were drooly kisses, baby-babble conversations, and much mutual gazing.

Max and Joey were extremely excited to see each other (sorry about the blurriness, but as usual, the boys they do not stay still for God or anyone). They got along beautifully for about 86% of the trip, even with the irritants of no sleep, crazy over stimulation, and hot temperatures. By the last day, they were getting slightly snarky, and we learned at some personal cost for everyone that it was no longer advisable to put them in the double stroller together by the afternoon of Day 3. Still, though, Disneyland is a lot of excitement and stress for a young person, and I think that their cousinly bond held up remarkably well for a remarkably long time.

I think that this was the sort of picture that caused Mike to complain, and truly, there is not much to demonstrate that we are not just standing in a crowded train station somewhere. We were watching the pixar parade. I look cheerful, but I was actually in terrible pain. Max is heavy, and he was off-center because he was more interested in getting a good view than in sparing my neck, and he was pulling on my hair. I suffer for love, people.

I have a picture of my sister and I on the Dumbo ride from when we were little, and I was really hoping to get a shot of Max and I on the same ride. Sadly, we took Max on a traumatizingly scary ride on our first evening, and after that it was very difficult to persuade him to trust us and go on any rides at all. (Pirates of the Caribbean, and I know, you're thinking well, duh! Why would you even consider taking a three year old on that ride late at night? but I haven't been to Disneyland since I was seven, and I think I got the Pirates ride sort of mixed up with the Fairytale Town ride, and so I thought it was a much more jolly and lighthearted romp, and then about three seconds into the ride I saw the skeletons and the cannons and the fricking Davy Jones ghost and I realized that I was laying the foundation for my poor son to have life-long night-terrors, but by then it was too late, and all I could do was chant, "it's not real, they're just pretend, see, it's like a movie, don't worry, ha ha, it's just a funny pretend movie, see?" while Max clung to Ian and I and his eyes got saucer-like.) So Joey went on Dumbo while Max observed him with detached interest. This is the stationary Dumbo, which is climbable but not part of the ride, and which Max did condescend to pose in.

Yep, Stationary Dumbo. We live right on the edge, folks. Right on the edge.

Ian persuaded Max to help him try to take Excalibur out of the stone. Neither of them could remove the sword, so our whole 'king of all Britain' plan is basically shot. Nuts.

See how we all have matching shirts? I hope you do see, because I think this is the only picture of all of us in our shirts. Mighty cute as we are, the shirts were of this heavy, not-very breathable cotton, and it was super hot in Disneyland, so we all wore them for 1/3 of one morning. There were matching hats, too, seen as modelled by Maggie in shot #1, but the heat and the fact that I have big hair that was poorly and unattractively corralled by the hat forced the hat to cancel its appearance in this picture. It also occurs to me that this is another one of those pictures that Mike complained about. You have only my word for it that we are in Disneyland at all, and not in any crowded shopping mall courtyard. But who roams around in matching Disney shirts like a band of weirdoes anywhere but Disneyland? Lots of people, probably. Sigh.

Ian's parents bravely offered to watch all four grandchildren so that Ian, Jean, Josh and I could go on the California Adventure ride. The ride was really neat -- you fly over scenic parts of California, which sounds stupid when I write it out like that, but it's cool -- you really feel like you're flying over the ocean and the mountains and the vineyards, and they blow pine scents or ocean scents or citrus scents at you while you fly, to match the scenery. Max started crying when I left, which I mercifully didn't know until later. My sister-in-law took this picture, and what amuses me is how everyone is smiling and/or indifferently eating puffs except Max, who is red with rage. Apparently he recovered a few minutes later, and watched the Electric Light Parade with Phil and Elaine, but when I returned from the ride, he said very reproachfully, "I was CRYING, Mama. You were lost, and I was crying 'Mama! Mama!' like that but you were lost." Guilt-tripper.

Joey met Mickey Mouse, and got his picture taken hugging Mickey. Max decided that, when dealing with freaks with giant mouse heads, discretion is the better part of valour, and opted to stare incredulously at Mickey from the sidelines, instead.

Although he was reluctant to go on any ride with Ian or I after the Pirates debacle, Max did agree to go on the Autopia ride. Twice. I think that technically, people his size are not supposed to man the wheel of the ride, but Max was smuggled into the driver's seat once the proper authorities were out of sight.

Max and Grandpa take on the teacups.

This is one of three or four shots I have of Max sleeping, in various locations in or around Disneyland. It has taken us this long and counting to get back to any kind of normal routine. I am not kidding. When we got home from the airport on Saturday night, we changed Max's diaper, wiped his face, put on his pajamas, brushed his teeth, and put him in bed, and not only did he not wake up, but he didn't even twitch.

Maggie liked the people-watching at Disneyland, and the fried chicken, and she loved the three days of uninterrupted Sophia time. She got frustrated by how seldom she was allowed to walk around, though, and she was overwhelmed by the crowds and the lights and the fireworks and the heat, so she clung to me like a very heavy barnacle for much of the trip. She has been coping with the vacation hangover by going on a food strike, and deciding that the time in her life when she nursed constantly all day and all night was a good period and should be revisited. We are finally getting back into a solid food eating, sleeping at night life, for which I am profoundly grateful.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was Disneyland '08. Next up will be Max's first day at school (without me there), and also his birthday party, which is going to have a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom theme and which is going to be the event of the season. Anticipate the pictures amongst yourselves.


Jabbertrack said...


You totally had some Disneyland pictures that you didn't show me. I see how it is.. save the best for the blog!

Chelsa said...

Actually, most of the good ones were taken by Ian's mom or sister, and I didn't get them until later. No one deliberately kept you in the Disney Dark.

Ian said...

Well, maybe a little...