The Rockwood Files: Report on Spring Break, line by line

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

They call it Spring Break, but maybe it should be named “Spring Rush.” Because that’s what we did. We rushed to get packed, rushed three kids into the minivan and rushed away to our break. With a week off from school and a few days off from work, we were determined to pack in as much fun as possible.

First item on the agenda? Theme park! We’d never attempted such a feat with a 7, 4 and 2-year old in tow, but the kids were so excited that the days and hours before our trip nearly stood still. Conversation between me and the boys sounded like this:

Two days prior:

“Mom, how many days until we ride the roller coaster?”

“Two days.”

“Aw, man! Two days is SO long.”

“Yes, I know.”

The day before:

“Mom, how many days until we ride the roller coaster?”

“One more day.”

“Aw, man! I really wish it could be today.”

“Me, too. Really, really.”

Day of the trip:

“Mom, how many more minutes until we get there?”

“When the clock says 10, we’ll be there.”

“How many more minutes until the clock says 10?”

“That’s about 40 more minutes, son.”

“Is 40 more minutes a long time?”

“I have a feeling that, today, 40 minutes will be a LONG time.”

“Aw, man! This is so hard.”

“Yep. It’s so tough that Mom will probably need an Advil.”

Finally, we arrived at kid nirvana and pushed our way through the turnstiles. Oh, happy day! We were only steps away from the kiddie roller coaster and the boys were joyous when they laid eyes on it. Then I had to hit them with a theme park reality that’s tough for little kids to take.

“Want to ride it?”

“Yes! Yes! Yes!”

“Okay, let’s get in the line.”

“The line? What line?”

I pointed to the long line of kids and parents streaming out from the roller coaster area and explained that all those kids wanted to ride it, too, so we’d have to wait our turn in line. So we waited. And waited. And waited. Then we waited a little more – a slow, pre-ride torture that’s hard to witness. Now and then we’d look across the way and wave to Dad, who was pushing 2-year-old Kate in the stroller since she was not “this tall” and therefore could not ride.

Finally, it was our turn. We buckled up, raised our hands above our heads and screamed like maniacs for about two minutes before the ride stopped to let us out.

“Did you like it?”

“That was AWESOME.”

“Want to ride another one.”

“Yes! Yes! Yes!”

“Okay, let’s get in line.”

About halfway through the line for the flying elephant ride, 7-year-old Adam gave up. He decided to go sit with Dad and Kate, so Jack and I stuck it out alone. Then I took over stroller duty while Tom took Jack on another ride. Jack wanted to give up about halfway through the line because it was taking so long, but Dad went into theme-park soldier mode and wouldn’t let him quit. “We’ve come this far, son. We’re not quitting now. We can make it.”

After that third ride, the boys spotted some carnival games with short lines and opted for those instead. After shelling out far more dollars than the prizes were worth, we came away with two brand new basketballs and a blue, stuffed monkey. By that time, Kate was sick of stroller rides and insisted on being set free. Everyone was starving. So, with a toddler on one hip and two basketballs and a monkey strapped into the stroller, we set out in search of food.

We found a food hut that sold chicken strips and French fries, and guess what? There was a line. Twenty minutes and thirty-eight dollars later, I put a tray full of chicken strips, fries and juice boxes down on the table. After defying every food pyramid guideline, we rushed off for more fun.

The second half of our day at the theme park was great. We found an area with a fun house, tons of foam balls to play with and pressurized water guns to shoot at bull’s-eye targets, strangers and family members. The boys thought it was the best place on Earth, and they quickly found out that their little sister is a pretty darn good shot. After a couple of hours, we were all drenched, tired and happy.

Storm clouds began to rumble as we made our way out of the park carrying our stroller, basketballs, monkey and kids. Then our oldest said something that confirmed how much fun they’d had during Spring Break: “Mom, how many days until we come back here?”

Want to read previous installments of The Rockwood Files? Click HERE!


1 Comment

  1. Ah yes, lines. We just went to a very popular museum today and stood in line to get in, to use the restroom, to go into exhibits, and on the way home…traffic!
    But, you’ve got to initiate them sometime, right? With how fast everything moves these days, our kids will probably need lessons in patience and waiting even more than we needed them!

Comments are closed.