One more tale from Storyland and then I'm done with that part of the trip. Honest.
The last ride the kids went on was the Whale Tail. We'd been there for something like four hours, we'd walked all over and stood in lines and ate food and won prizes. The kids were still enthusiastic, but no longer OVER THE TOP with excitement, and Bill and I were cuted out.
Between the Polar Coaster ride I wrote about on Thursday and this Whale Tail, there were plenty of other rides, both Julia-friendly and not so much. But to be honest, I don't have anything new, ride-wise, to write about. If they spun around in circles, Julia didn't like them. Alex loved them all. That about sums it up.
But we headed up to the Whale Tail because it looked like a ride Julia would enjoy, and it was at the far end of the whole park, and looked like a good place to end our journey.
I noticed, as we climbed the slight hill to get to the ride, that there were plenty of other kids who had reached or surpassed the saturation point. Or they'd simply had way too much cotton candy and were rapidly sugar-crashing. By comparison, our kids were doing pretty well. (And trust me, I'm not saying this with any sort of "we're superior" kind of tone – it's more like relief that we made it that far for that long without anything terrible happening.)
And here's what I mean about "anything terrible."
As we rounded a little turn past a fence to get into the Whale Tail area, we passed a family (I'm assuming they were family) of 5. Mom, Dad, and 3 little kids. All the kids had on green shirts. (That's not at all significant – it's just an observation.) Mom was holding onto the double stroller. Kid #1 was sitting in one seat, just hanging out patiently. Kid #2 was sprawling way down in the seat and looked ready for a nap. And then, as I walked by, I saw Kid #3. And OH MY was this kid in need of being SOMEWHERE ELSE DESPITE HIS PERSONAL THOUGHTS ON THE MATTER.
This kid – a little boy I'm guessing around 6 years old – he was standing there sort of…rapidly shifting weight from one leg to the other…knees slightly bent…and his face was contorted, eyes wide, mouth open in an almost scream…his face was definitely RED underneath his summer tan…and his right hand…his right hand was held up, palm facing outward, and four out of five digits were curled, clawlike, down toward the palm. The other finger, yes, THAT one, was extended, and he was angrily shaking this hand back and forth at his mother.
He was a good half mile beyond meltdown.
I watched all this in about a two second time span, and then I was past them. I actually saw them moments later as they were headed away from the ride we'd arrived at. Mother was pushing the stroller. Father had Kid #3 slung across his shoulders – head to the left, feet to the right, kind of like a small deer he was bringing home to skin and portion out. The boy was immobile, all the tension gone, and I hope, for everyone's sake, that he fell asleep as soon as they strapped him in his car seat. I think they all needed some time out.
And I admit that yes, for a moment or two, I was kind of amused in a "thank goodness that's not my kid" sort of way when I saw the kid gesturing at his mother. He was at the end of his rope, maybe he wanted to go on ONE MORE RIDE, JUST ONE MORE and his parents, at the ends of their ropes, said NO. And this was the only way he could manage to convey just how upset he was about their decision. But I also felt a surge of sympathy for the parents. Because some day that could (definitely) be Julia pitching a fit, and me and Bill doing our best to just calmly and peacefully deal with the situation. Anyone with a little kid will have to go through something like this, in some form. It's a rite of passage, I think. The meltdown with the huge audience.
Anyway, Bill and the kids waited in line for this last ride, and I hung out and took pictures…
Yep. Just about done for the day.
Finally it was their turn. They climbed aboard (I think Bill let Julia choose the whale)
and a good time was had by all.
After that, it was just about time for some shaved ice for the kids (strawberry)…
(Alex wouldn't share with Bill. He's a smart boy, that one.)
(They all look just about done, don't they?)
Oh – and of course, it began to rain.
Just a drizzle at first, but enough to make us step lively back through the park and out to the parking lot.
And as we reached the parking lot, the rain started to come down harder.
And by the time we had raced to the truck, shoved the kids into their seats and climbed damply into our own, it was a complete and total downpour.
And we had a good 20-25 minute ride to get back to our camp site and attempt to get our firewood under cover.
If it would even matter at that point.
But maybe the trees would keep a lot of the rain off our firewood.
How long would the torrent last?
Would we make it home in time for dry wood and a dinner cooked over an open fire?
Or would we – gasp! – have to eat at a local restaurant!!?? Tune in tomorrow (I think) for the final (I think) installment.
(And yeah, I admit it, part of me was hoping for the restaurant. It's just so NICE when someone else does the cleaning up afterward!)