Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sea World Meltdown

When The Rock Star's preschool went to the aquarium last month, he fell in love with the rays or, as he likes to call them, the flappy things. My brother, who's worked for Sea World for years, got us free tickets to the park while we were in San Diego. I promised Garrett that he'd get to see the flappy things. From the freeway he spotted Journey to Atlantis and declared that he was going to ride it. I tried to prepare him for the inevitable letdown that would come when he stood under the measurement stick. Watching his face, so full of joy, fall instantly when we declared him too short was heartbreaking. To say that he entered into a contract between him and a very foul mood would be an understatement.

First, we headed to the Tide Pools.

The Rock Star tolerated them for a few minutes before begging to go see the Flappy Things.
Garrett was in heaven. He did not want to leave. I told him I would come back for him. Usually this kind of reverse psychology still works on him but I underestimated the pull of the flappy things. He waved goodbye to me, told me he'd catch up with me later, and hoisted himself back up onto the wall. My parents, brother and Little Buddy went to the seals and sea lions. I let him stay for a couple more minutes and then informed him that we needed to go find everyone else. When he wouldn't budge, I picked him up.

Seriously. To say that all hell broke lose would be an understatement. He went crazy. He started kicking me, hitting me, clawing at my hands, flailing about with his arms flapping as if independent from his body. As I walked through the park he screamed, "Let me go! Put me down! You're hurting me." It must have seemed like I was kidnapping him. Everyone--and I do mean everyone--stopped and stared. Some people pointed. I had half a mind to ask the pointers if they honestly thought they were helping my situation. I refrained. Finally, he screamed, "Mommy you are really hurting me! Put me down!"

I did.

That was a mistake. He took off running the other direction at full speed. I ducked behind a wall thinking that he would stop when he couldn't see me. He didn't. He just kept running. I took off after him at a full sprint. He ran past the crowd of gawkers and pointers. I ran after the crowd of gawkers and pointers. I caught up to him and picked him up. "Put me down!" I walked back past the gawkers, pointers and, now, laughers. I reached an unpopulated area of the park and I plopped him down on a little grassy hill. I pointed at him and told him to follow me and, under no circumstances, to run. My blood pressure had to have been at record high. I couldn't even open the rest of my hand. My thumb, middle, ring and pinky fingers were in a fist and as we walked, my pointer finger stayed straight. He walked beside me and, eventually, he started smacking my pointed finger with his hand. "Stop pointing at me, Naughty Lady." I focused only on breathing steadily. "Can you hear me, Naughty Lady?"

I strongly considered taking him to the car where the two of us would spend the rest of the day. Luckily, I found my parents and gave him to them. I took a few minutes to lower my blood pressure and my dad exchanged words with his grandson.

And he was an angel for the rest of the day. Grandpa has some kind of crazy persuasive power over him.

He watched the Sea Lion and Otter show and the Shamu show. He declared that he is going to ride Shamu some day.
We saw the manatees, the sharks, the penguins, the polar bears, the belugas, the dolphins, the fish and, at the end of the day, the flappy things again--complete with no tantrum when it was time to leave.

We played in the kiddie zone. He rode the rides that he was tall enough for. He did not have a meltdown when he discovered that the pirate boat was closed. He handled it like a man.

At the end of the day my dad bought a funnel cake and we all shared it. The Rock Star fell asleep in the car at about 5:00. I tried desperately to get him to wake up when we got home. I couldn't. Finally, I put him to bed. He woke up at 5:45 the next morning. Thirteen hours of sleep. Crazy. As for Little Buddy, well, he slept at Sea World...


  1. OMG you are a champ! I don't know that I would have handled that so gracefuly. I think that I need to have a talk with your dad and find out what magic words he used...Easton is a head banger now, pounds his head on the brick floor at home when he's mad. Maybe the magic words would work on him!

    Glad you had a good trip!

  2. Very reminiscent of the Chuckie Cheese fiasco when I had you under one arm and your brother under the other. Both of you were screaming, "Put me down." I was so sure that everyone would think that I was trying to kidnap you both. Unfortunately, I didn't have a grandpa with me to calm you guys down. I'm not really sure what dad said to The Rock Star at Sea World. Maybe it involved 'the vein?' Seriously, happy we could help. He sure is cute. Even when he's naughty.

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  5. OK so what were grandpa words that worked so well. Do you think they would work on teenagers? And boy do I wish my parents (mom) would have helped me out like that when those time came around! Glad he calmed down and you were able to enjoy the rest of the day.

  6. Laurie, I have been reading your blog for a while now and enjoy the stories. It makes me think back to the time that my boys were little (Chris turned 21 today). One time in Kmart Chris was throwing a fit and as everyone was looking at me I could feel my face turn red and my blood pressure went up. What I finally said to him loud enough for the other people to hear is that "I hope your mother picks you up soon" I sure there was more to it but thankfully you mostly remember the good times. It felt good then that the people didn't think this was MY son and I didn't feel embarresed any more. Chris just gave me a funny look and stopped his fit. Good luck with everything. P.S. I just found out that you could leave comments. Kathy(Jason's sister)

  7. lori,
    love reading your blog, you can write, so do hope you can persue that when the boys get older. the rock star is a hoot!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    will continue to pray for april!

  8. Man when I laugh out loud I know I am enjoying your writing style. How can we be so aware of how others are looking at us when we are so laser-ed in on what these little boys are doing? For me it is my strong-willed four year old daughter, and my parents work magic on her too. Thank God someone can!