In 2004, I took two days off work in June and got a hotel reservation near a water park called Schlitterbahn about an hour south of us. We arrived right when the park opened and I told the Bug she would plan 100% of the day. Around 1:00 it began to rain. Lightning closed down the park and we seized the opportunity to check into our hotel room where we ate our lunch & took a little nap. When we awoke, the rain had stopped, the sky was clear and we went back to the water park. It was open...but empty. We rode everything that day and had virtually no wait in lines at all! To this day it is one of my most favorite memories with the Bug.
We stayed until the park closed, went back to our hotel room and washed the chlorine out of our hair and the sunscreen off our skin. Then we walked next door to a Pizza Hut and had dinner. We played games in the hotel room until the Bug zonked out.
I have not been able to book a vacation this summer for the Bug. I feel bad about it but at the same time, we have a few fun trips on the schedule. Yesterday I took the day off from work and we made another trek out to Schlitterbahn.... only this time, we brought along the boy-friend.
This trip has been in the planning stages for weeks. I told Bug the story about my trip to Cedar Point in Ohio. There was some Corvette show taking place and my dad wanted to go. The only problem was I wanted desperately to bring a friend to go around the park with. At the same time, I knew my dad would be there all day, following us around, and doing anything he could to embarrass us. I also told the Bug about how my friend and I jumped on a ride right away and as soon as we exited, we pretended not to see my dad and tried to get lost in the crowd. He became so irate, he was yelling at us as he all but ran to catch up to us. It was probably more embarrassing than if we would have just let him follow us around all day. (My dad's irate rants sounded much like the Mel Gibson tapes...imagine walking away in a crowd from someone who is yelling like that...)
I explained to the Bug that she would have her boy-friend to hang out with all day and I would be there by myself. I am a water baby too and I am going to want to go on a lot of the same slides as them and she needed to realize that I would be hanging around them a lot. I also told her that I will respect the fact that she and the boy-friend will want some time together as long as she respects the fact that I will want some shared time too.
Yesterday could not have gone any better! The moment we arrived, we got a locker, set down our cooler and planned what we would do first. The first slide I had the kids go on together and I waited. Then we got in line for the biggest slide there. It was a 3 seater, so after a 45 minute wait in line, we all took part in the ride together. The wave pool/lazy river was me and the Bug's favorite attraction last time.
This time we all got tubes and floated along. Every once in awhile the kids would float away from me and I let them go. I knew they would eventually come back around. The Bug was good about making eye contact occasionally. I previously designated a spot where we would wait for one another if we got separated but wanted to leave the ride to find another slide. It worked out perfectly.
We agreed to go back to the locker, reapply sun screen, eat a snack, drink some water and tackle a few more slides. We spent the most time at a lazy river on the east end of the park. I lost the kids for quite some time there. But I just kicked back in my tube and eventually they found me. I watched them tackle an obstacle course and cheered them on as they attempted to cross. Only the boy-friend was successful. The Bug swung like a monkey, barely made it past the first obstacle and splashed into the water at the second obstacle. We all tubed down some waterfalls and tackled a killer two-seater slide. I went by myself, Bug and boy-friend came down after me. The day couldn't have worked out any better.
Everyone was exhausted when we decided it was time to go. We still had an hour long drive ahead of us. We stopped at a Cracker Barrel for dinner and finally pulled in the garage at 9:00 PM.
It was an absolutely perfect day. I think it just goes to show that if you give a kid a little respect, you are going to get a lot back.