If you live in Florida, you can never utter a bad word about Disney. Because Mickey Mouse is a god here. He’s like a mob boss but more chipper. And the people who live in this state take Disney very very seriously.
These Disney lovers know how to book the tickets, where to eat, which rides to go on first, where to see the most popular characters, which rides to fast pass, which rides you don’t, where to park, the exact time to get to the Magic Kingdom, the exact time to leave, the time your child should sleep in the stroller so they don’t miss anything good, where to stand for the electrical parade, how to get the best deals on everything, where to use the bathroom and how to get Mickey Mouse to pay your mortgage bill and spoon you all night long.
I don’t know any of those things.
Neither does my mother apparently because she texted me the other day, “Is Magic Kingdom for kids?” She was not joking.
Of course, I really shouldn’t be criticizing anyone because I pronounced Epcot as “Ep-ee-cot” way past my childhood. Okay, until last year.
Disney experts will take pity on you and attempt to school you in the ways of Disney. But they will get frustrated and let out a deep sigh when they are sketching a detailed map of all the best spots to meet Elsa and Anna and you interrupt by asking, “Which park serves alcohol again? That’s the one I want to go to.”
If you want to further infuriate them, ask, “Is Space Mountain a ride for toddlers?”
These experts will realize you will never learn the ways of Disney and are destined to miss all the good stuff and wait in the longest lines possible.
And it’s true. I am the one who tries to make reservations for the character breakfast three months after it’s already booked. And then I’m disappointed. Which makes no sense because my kids don’t even care about the character breakfast.
It really doesn’t matter what we do at Disney because my children LOVE everything about the place. You can instantly make a child happy by saying, “We’re going to Disney!” And instantly make them sad by saying, “That’s it kids. We’ve been at this park for 18 hours. Your dad fell asleep in the stroller two hours ago. It’s time to wrap it up.”
We are going to Disney this weekend for a mini family reunion to celebrate my aunt’s birthday. I’m sure we will fast pass the wrong rides and park in the wrong place and wait in terrible lines.
But it will be awesome and my children will love it. Because Mickey Mouse is king.
My husband has been in Cuba covering the Pope’s visit for 40 days. Okay, it might be 5 or 6 days. The point is – I hope the Pope appreciates that I’m flying solo here. I can only assume it came up (even if briefly) during the Pope’s chat with Fidel Castro.
By the way, how ballsy is Castro that he wears his traditional tracksuit with Pope Francis…
I mean, I might have gone Nike. But Adidas is cool too.
As I’ve attempted to take care of my five children on my own (without the added comfort of a tracksuit), I’ve kept my expectations very low.
Which is good because at one point, I walked into the kitchen and my 2 year old son was guzzling maple syrup from the bottle. I mean, it was organic.
On Monday morning, I did manage to get them all out the door by 7:20 AM with no yelling. Yay for me but can you imagine if “no yelling” was a measure of success before you had children?!
I didn’t yell at my Economics professor all semester!
I took the subway home and never once yelled at all the people who were sitting down even though I had to stand!
I binge watched an entire season of The Good Wife and never yelled at the TV even thought one character got really out of line!
Of course, you wouldn’t say those things but no one goes around doing much yelling until a child says to you many times, “I know I ate my dessert but I didn’t like it so I need another one. Can I have another dessert? Can I have another dessert? Can I have another dessert? Why not? Why not? Why not?”
Also this week, I had no one to turn to and say, “Did you hear that Scott Walker dropped out of the Presidential race? Wait – who the heck is Scott Walker?”
I think he was on Happy Days. Or that might have been Scott Baio.
Now that I think about it (AKA googling) – maybe he’s the Governor of Wisconsin.
That means only 54 Republican candidates left in the race!
I did mention the big Scott Walker news to the woman who rang me up at the CVS pharmacy but I didn’t get the feeling she wanted to get into a big political discussion.
In conclusion…. tracksuits rule, I’m trying not to yell, and I now can name the Governor of Wisconsin.
Thousands of years from now, archeologists will be digging up remnants of our civilization and I can already hear them saying, “These are selfie sticks. For reasons still unknown, people carried them around constantly.”
Photo by Zandy Mangold, Courtesy of The New York Post.
In New York City, some museums have banned selfie sticks because they are distracting and irritating to other museum goers.
Plus, it ain’t cool to damage artwork with a big narcissistic stick.
Some sports and music stadiums have followed suit. But you can still find selfie sticks everywhere. Especially in big tourist destinations.
On a recent trip to New York City, they were all over the place.
(By the way, in case you think you need a really long arm to snap a photo with a selfie stick – you either use the camera timer or fancier ones come with Bluetooth remotes or handle buttons.)
The selfie stick is really just another way to not talk to people. Because remember when we all asked strangers to take our photo? It was usually a nice, awkward moment – strangers helping strangers get the best vacation photos.
And if their photography skills sucked? Not a problem in the digital age. Let them walk away, delete the photo and ask someone new.
In fact, while I was hanging out on The High Line in NYC, some guys from London (who did not own a selfie stick) went retro and asked me to take their photo.
So I did.
Wouldn’t it have been sad if these guys just took a photo on their own?
You know, that boy in the middle looks a little small. These guys may have been photobombed by some kid with a backpack and blue chips.
In full disclosure, our family does own a selfie stick (it was a gift – I swear) and my kids have a lot of fun with it. But I just can’t imagine taking it on vacation with me.
Perhaps I’m just not seeing the genius in it yet. I mean at one time I did think cell phones were some kind of silly, passing fad. Because seriously, who needs to have a cell phone in their back pocket at all times?!
Umm… I do.
For the first time in many years, I was unusually silent on 9-11. Normally, I have plenty to say.
Part of the reason was because I was flying that day and the idea of flying on September 11th – even 14 years after the World Trade Center attacks – made me a little nervous. Although judging from the presence of security everywhere I turned, it did seem like an incredibly safe day to travel.
I actually went to NYC for the weekend. I was missing the city and the people in it. And given that it was 9-11, it seemed like the right place to be.
As my fellow reporter Rob Stewart (who I was working with on that terrible day) put on Facebook, “My prayer is that we live our lives in a way of actively honoring those we lost with good deeds.”
It’s a beautiful sentiment. One I think about a lot.
As I said last year about the lives lost on September 11th… “In their memory, do something kind for someone else. Someone you know. Or someone you don’t. It doesn’t really matter. And if possible, involve your children in this act of kindness. So they watch and they learn.
Because if we all embrace the good, hate really doesn’t stand a chance.”
Hate does seem to surround us. While terrorist attacks are in the back of our minds, gun violence is in the front.
My friend just went camping. “Were you scared of bears?” I asked. “Because they sell bear mace.” (That’s the kind of super helpful things you learn when you spend a year as a general assignment reporter in Montana.)
Nope, she wasn’t. Not scared of bears or sleeping on the ground or not getting a hot shower. She was nervous about the fact that anyone at the camp ground could have taken a gun and started shooting. And she would have been completely unprotected.
That is life in 2015.
Want a kinder, gentler world? Be kinder. Be more gentle. Fight for what you believe in and treat people with love and understanding. It’s not always easy. But we need to wake up each morning and try again.
It’s just one small way we can honor the people who died that day. And the ones who lost their lives inhaling toxic fumes at ground zero. And the ones who died fighting overseas. Just one small way.
(This is a sponsored post. But hey, don’t go anywhere. I poured my funny soul into this post. And there is some info here that will be more valuable than therapy if your kid gets lice.)
You know how some experiences stick with you? Like your first love. Your first car. Your first experience with lice. Yup. That lice thing really stays with you.
I remember when I first got the call. It was my daughter’s school. And I’m like… Wow, they must want to put her in the gifted Kindergarten math program or something.
Then the nurse says, “Your daughter has lice. Come pick her up immediately.”
LICE?! Maybe that’s an acronym for a gifted math program?
That’s when I got a quick tutorial in combing through hair, picking out nits, vacuuming every inch of my house, bagging up stuffed animals and feeling super itchy all the time.
This was one of my daughter’s getting treated…
That was five years ago and I still have lice paranoia. And now I as write this, my head itches.
I have never and will never consider putting any kind of pesticide products on my children (or myself) – even to treat something as super icky as lice. Because the natural, pesticide free products are just as effective without exposing my family to unhealthy chemicals.
And I just learned about a new one called Vamousse. I know – it sounds french and fancy, right? But it’s actually quite simple.
Vamousse Lice Treatment is a pesticide-free mousse that gets rid of lice and eggs with a single 15-minute application. It kills the lice by dehydration, which is good since many strains of lice have developed resistance to the pesticides anyway.
They also have a pesticide-free daily shampoo (Vamousse Lice Defense) that also kills lice. This defends against an infestation after risk of exposure. You know, when your kid comes home from school and says to you, “I’m so jealous. Ava got to leave school early today because she had lice. She’s so lucky!”
So while you start to hyperventilate, you can be pushing your kid into the shower at the same time!
If you see the first dreaded Signs of Lice (and OMG I hope you don’t), try out Vamousse and tell me what you think.
And in the meantime, remember to keep shouting hysterically to your children as they leave for school… “Don’t try on anyone’s headband! Stop putting on hats you find in the Lost & Found bin! Don’t rub you head on that hairy Chewbacca backpack!!”
Because you know that parental hysteria is a real problem solver. By the way, anyone feel itchy right now?
This post is sponsored by Vamousse. All ideas are my own.