Our weeklong trek to Disney was a lot of fun considering it was my first real foray into parenthood. I had Little Sister, who is six, for a solid week with no parental interference. All me. If she ate, bathed, or got punished, it was me. No pressure. I think I did pretty well. LS had been properly threatened and was on her best behavior most the trip. I also had the other Playfriends for back up, including my roomie, PC. PC is a great wife and we worked well together. Darling Geek is very lucky, as I'd snap her up for myself if we could both date other men.
To amuse myself as the days went on, I started keeping track of the best phrases of the week spoken by the grown ups. Some were the most used, some were just too amusing to forget as I managed to run into some odd conversations with the kids. Many of them were said repeatedly because no one would listen to us. I swear, Disney makes kids hard of hearing. Here we go...
10. "Go to the mouse."
This was one of the first phrases as we went to dinner at Chef Mickey's the first night, complete with character interactions. The characters move quickly. They want to sign those autograph books, take the pictures, and move onto the other 150 tables they haven't been to yet. For some reason, the kids required coaxing to get up from their seats and go to get their photos done, hence the command "go to the mouse!" (Variations include bear, dog, duck, princess, etc.)
9. "That is not one of your grown-ups."
The general rule was that the kids always had to be within sight or grasp of one of their grown-ups. It could be any of us, but you had to be near at least one. Very often, the kids would zone out and start to walk away with, stand too close to, or start tugging on someone not in our group. At this point we would have to yell "That is not one of your grown-ups" or one of the variations "Stay with your grown-ups," "Grab one of your grown-ups hands, please," or "That is a lovely woman, I'm sure, but she is not one of your grown-ups."
8. "Get your ______ out of your mouth."
Apparently this is an epidemic. One kid starts out putting their fingers or other items in their mouth and the next thing you know, you're constantly saying it to all of them. LS took to putting her lanyard in her mouth. I have no idea why. Aside from simply being unhygenic in a place where millions touch every single surface, we were battling off the threat of swine flu and constantly on the hand gel and wipes. I think this was one of the most used phrases of the week. I probably say it in my sleep now.
7. "Do we need to go back to the hotel?"
A much used threat followed closely by the variation "maybe we should just stay at the hotel today" if we hadn't managed to leave before the threatening began. Whatever crying or whining or pain or suffering they were going through, it was never bad enough to go back to the hotel. They'd usually straighten up then. Or start crying harder, then straighten up.
6. "You don't need that."
Apply this phrase to every multicolored, plastic, fuzzy and character themed item in every park. The Disney folks know just how to place the most tempting things at kiddie eye level. The kids each had their own money to spend, but I admit I steered LS away from silly things I would have to carry and more toward nicer (and smaller) keepsakes that wouldn't be such a burden. As it was, she got a bracelet, picture frame, sunglasses, mouse ears, a Tinkerbell t-shirt, candy for her friends and classmates, tattoos and her face painted. I think that's adequate without adding a gigantic stuffed Minnie Mouse.
5. "We are at Disney World. Disney World! Stop asking me about the _____."
Fill in the blank mostly with swimming pool or bathtub - at least in our room. Our resort had large spa tubs and a big pool with a waterslide, which is very cool, but we can swim and bathe in Alabama. We cannot meet the Fairy Godmother and ride Splash Mountain in Alabama. It took quite a bit to drill that into the kid's heads.
4. "You are dressed like a lady, please act like one."
All the girls had fluffy princess makeovers with costumes on Tuesday. There were extensive discussions about how one acts in a ball gown. Twirling with a full skirt is acceptable. Princess waves and nods are encouraged when addressed by your subjects. (All cast members referred to the girls as "Princess" and Little Man as "Prince" as we went through the parks.) Fence climbing and lizard catching are frowned upon. Sweet Pea argued with me that she was in pants because she was dressed as Jasmine and Jasmine was, in fact, the kind of princess that would catch lizards. I had a hard time arguing that one.
3. "Please just stop touching one another."
Followed closely by "Do I need to separate you two?" Put kids together in a car for 12 hours and they will pester each other. Put them in the car for 12 hours after spending the most part of the last week together and its war. They cheat at Go Fish. They don't follow the rules. They bicker about who gets to be what character in whatever pretend game they're playing. They look at each other wrong. They just need time apart. And so do the adults. :) All and all they did well, it could've been much worse.
2. "Do you want chicken nuggets or a cheeseburger?"
Sadly, this is mostly a reflection of the kids dining plan at WDW than anything. Some places would offer the occasional spaghetti or mac and cheese, but 9 times out of 10, the kids would get to choose between a chicken nugget meal, a cheeseburger meal, or maybe a cheese pizza paired with fries, grapes and a chocolate chip cookie. Most the kids didn't mind except Amazing Child and her expansive palate, but even I got tired of it and I wasn't the one eating it. LS was happy as a clam.
1. "This is the happiest place on Earth - act like it!"
This one got thrown around a lot. Its amazing how in a place with so many things to make kids happy, it is so easy for them to get cranky. Start with humid 90 degree heat and long days on our feet. Add scratchy costumes, standing in lines and minor tragedies like lost items and you've got a recipe for child meltdown. The 7 Dwarfs should really be renamed to Whiny, Grouchy, Picky, Hungry, Weepy, Sassy and Nauseas.
What are some of your favorite phrases for traveling with kids?