If I were Super Mother, you would be reading a post on how to help your children have an entertaining and pleasant summer vacation. I am not Super Mother and, therefore, can offer you no such tips. I can, however, offer you tips on another subject entirely: torturing your offspring. Please, share in my wisdom.
1. Encourage your school-aged children to participate in a reading program which offers free tickets to Six Flags amusement parks as a reward.
2. Find a babysitter to care for your younger children, so you can enjoy a special "big kid" day out without the little ones.
3. Have your husband take a day off of work so he can join you on this little two-on-two adventure.
4. Once you arrive at the amusement park, do the unthinkable: suggest and even encourage your children to actually get on the rides.
What? You don't think that will torture your children? Well, it sure worked on mine!
My oldest children are not thrill-seekers (I'm stating the obvious here, aren't I?) I foolishly thought that since they are getting a little older, they might be getting better at taking risks. I wasn't thinking that they were going to ride a loopy, foot dangling roller coaster or anything, but I was kind of hoping that they'd try something new and discover that it wasn't that bad or that it was....dare I say it...fun. Sadly, this is not how things went on our adventure.
Seriously, the park wasn't even open yet and Mason was in tears over the swings. The swings, people! All my talk about trying one roller coaster was forgotten. Oh, I still tried to get them to ride one, but they refused. The more time they had to think about the rides, the more insistent they were that they weren't getting on them. After bailing out of line for the kiddie coaster (and waving to the 2 and 3 year-old children who were riding it) we tried to go to the most calm rides at the park. We found the little toddler area and talked to Maia and Mason for another few minutes, finally convincing them to get on the baby ride only to be told that our Goliaths were too big to be allowed on any of those rides.
By the end of the morning, we had ridden the tea cups (boy, those things did my tummy in!), the bumper cars and the water rapid ride. Thankfully, the $50 park ticket also included a water park. That really saved the day.
Maia was overwrought from the stress of the morning and only went down one of the big water slides. The rest of the afternoon she amused herself on the kiddie slides, wave pool and lazy river. I think if we had gone to the water park first, she would have done more. There wasn't anything there that was "worse" than what she did last fall at the Great Wolf Lodge in VA. She had just lost her confidence.
Mason was also a little tense from the morning; frankly, we all were! Anyway, he really turned a corner when he and I went down a slide together. Once he got on, he wanted to change his mind and get back off, but I launched us down the slide before he could get off (the life guard might have made a comment about me being a mean mom--whatever). In a matter of seconds, Mason was giggling and went on to go down all the slides--even the steep drops and the Tony Hawk's Half Pipe.
You might think that I am a mean mom, too, but let me just defend myself a little. I don't care if my kids don't like roller coasters. I really don't. But, I do care if they say they don't like something when they haven't even tried it. And for the love, they wouldn't even ride the swings!
The morning was quite rough, with bad behavior from all four of us, and not at all the fun big kid date I had been planning. Thankfully, the water park saved the day; it was there that we all relaxed and really enjoyed ourselves.
Maia and Mason were both happy at the end of the day, as were my Michael and I, so the day wasn't a complete bust. It wasn't exactly how I envisioned it would be, but we did have fun with just our big kids and that's what I was hoping for.