moty + the time I swallowed my foot.

We had a blast at Walt Disney World. One of my good friends recently said that you can’t say you’ve conquered the parks until you’ve been outnumbered by your children, and have navigated at least two strollers. Despite my incessant need to deliberately run a few people over each time they cut us off, I have to say it was well worth all the resulting exhaustion.

Each little offspring was really a blast in their own way: Emerson loved the Princesses, Malone loved The Monorail, and Aiden was super interesting. He was at that delicate age of assuming that It’s a Small World was a bit beneath him, while exclaiming how fun it was once we rode. He was interested in the roller coasters, but equally as passionate in expressing his intense distain for them once he recovered from such horrible, death defying experiences. He had a bit of an insatiable appetite, and therefore a catch 22 for such mad adrenaline rushes. Splash Mountain was really his all time fave…It served as the delicate balance for a touch-of-fun theme, and one gigantic drop that he seemed to love. {As long as he didn’t get wet, that is.}

Setting: Animal Kingdom. Enter stage left: Aiden, a bit curious about this so-called super crazy scary roller coaster. Cue me: the all too eager mom ready to ride something fun with her 6 year old.

Curiosity most definitely killed the cat.

We tried talking him out of it. But Jamin and I knew that if one of us didn’t get into line with him, we would never hear the end of it. So, into the line-o-death we walked. It was at best, only a ten-minute wait. When I worked there circa 2000, Everest didn’t exist, and I had no clue just how bad it would be. I just knew he’d conquered Space Mountain the night before {and then freaked with a gargantuan, dramatic tirade regarding his absolute hate for such an experience} So I was all, why not?

While we were in line, the anxiety set in. “I don’t know if I’m ready to do this,” he said, with wide, doubtful eyes.

“Okay,” and I knew turning around was totally doable for me. I’m too old to ride this stuff anymore. But I also knew that if we did turn around, we’d get right back in line and try again. “Do you want to turn around?” I asked, gently, as we were prodded slowly forward.

“I don’t know.” He replied, falling into silence. And so I found myself in that delicate moment of parenthood, where I didn’t necessarily care to scar my child for life and provide nightmares for years to come. I also didn’t necessarily care to go through this line fifteen times before the day was up with an I-almost-rode kinda moment and last minute chicken outs repeated over and over again, that he would never stop asking about for the next nine months.

It was kind of now, or never.

I did what any other rational parent would do…I slowly began to search for other kids his age, in line with us. I pointed out a few here and there, that looked close, but all of them were larger. The kid directly behind us, who was barely a head taller than Aiden was a real cutie. He had been listening to our conversation, and grinning from ear to ear.

And here’s where I had an epic social fail kind of moment. To the point of no return, where you practically swallow your ankle because your foot has now retreated so far to the back of your throat, you realize you absolutely suck at life.

“See Aiden? He’s riding. I bet he’s not that much older than you!” I said, enthusiastically motioning to the brave child standing behind us. “How old are you?” I asked him, eager to prove my point.

“I’m twelve,” the boy sweetly answered, and I found myself completely failing for words to dig myself out of this horrible hole I had now suddenly fallen in. I wanted to climb behind the nearest prop they had, and disappear.

“He’s small, like his Daddy,” the equally kind man accompanying him behind us interjected, while he pointed at himself.

I froze. What do I say? My father is of smaller stature, and he’s awesome, so it’s cool? I was always in the tenth percentile? I’m from a small family…Which isn’t going to make him feel any better, because I’m a girl? There’s nothing wrong with being short, and in turn, make him think there IS something wrong? Likewise with, I’m sorry for being a moron? If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis? {Anyone?}

Probably. Words failed me.

“Awesome!” I responded, and gave the boy a quick thumbs up, while I quickly diverted the subject to where-were-they-from-had-they-ridden-this-before-please-forget-I-ever-said-that-land. He was adorable. I felt horrible. Aiden, taking mental note that this child behind him riding was twice his age, stood back, listening intently. By now, we were shuffled to the front, waiting to ride.

“Do you want to turn around? Because we can do that, now.” I offered him one last chance to back away, as we were herded into the loading gates like cattle.

“No?” his answer was more like a question, and I saw a flash forward of him sitting with his psychotherapist years later: Well, you see, my childhood was quite nice until my mom pulled me on the roller coaster that day. And then I vomited all over everyone while I simultaneously screamed like a flipping banshee and then totally passed out, so I’ve never really gotten past my fear of trying new things.

I tried one more time, a bit half heartedly, as we sat down in the seats. “Do you want to turn around? We don’t have to ride.”

“I think I want to…” he began in a frail voice, but at that moment the lap bars came down. I turned around to motion to the operator guy and I raised my hand…but it was too late. I raised it the same moment that his hand came down to push that dreaded launch button. It was one of those slow motion moments from a movie where people scream and shake their faces, and we all watch the skin move back and forth in super slow motion like they’re sky diving, while spit flies and their eyes take three whole seconds to blink while they all go on a royal freak fest.

And it’s all because someone. is going. to die.

We were hurtled into space, and I found myself feeling like the worst mom in the whole entire world. It’s not like I enjoyed it. I was too busy talking aiden through it as he clung to the lap bar like he was suspended fifty stories above with nothing holding him in. “We’re almost done. We’re almost there.” At points there was complete darkness, so I could just add that to the trauma-mother-of-the-year-fantabulous-accomplishments-to-be-envied-by-others-points-scale. I guess a good mom would have checked that out before she drug her unsure six year old onto a ride. But no, not me. My kid will never be able to hold a steady job for fear of trying new things. I’ve officially scarred him. For life.

I had to pull him off the ride. People stared. They wouldn’t get out of my way. “Mother of the year, coming through!” I squeaked as I carried his lanky body back into the sunlight. A little sprite, and a few seconds later of him telling Jamin how horrible it all was, and he was back to his normal self. And officially cured of his insatiable curiosity of roller coasters.

For now.

I’d never felt worse.

“Meh.” Jamin said as we trudged on to our next destination. “If anything, it’s a great object lesson. He learned that something he was afraid of, didn’t kill him.”

So, lesson learned. When in doubt of your stellar parenting skills and innate ability to humiliate yourself, your offspring, and rando strangers in public by pointing out physical differences, you can always apply an abstract metaphor to make yourself feel much, much better. It worked for me.

When was your last mother of the year moment? Ever stuck your foot in your mouth? Ever killed two birds with one stone and simultaneously destroyed someone’s self esteem while making your children feel awful, like I did that day? You’re not alone. That’s how I roll.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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13 Responses to moty + the time I swallowed my foot.

  1. Amanda says:

    I had mine MOY moment just this past Wednesday. I was watching my 4 year old’s dance lessons through the window in her classroom and talking with the other Moms. We must have been laughing at something because when we got into the car she started crying hysterically and saying that I’d laughed at her. I assure you I would NEVER laugh at her. And I tried to convince her of the same. But I had this moment of feeling like I had failed her completely and not being able to convince her otherwise. Anyway, long story long, she doesn’t want to go back to dance.

  2. So I just turned and asked my 8 y.o. (who was 6-almost-7 when we went to Disney World), “Remember that ride, Everest?” to which he answered completely disdainfully, “Yes. It was creepy. I HATE that ride.” Um, yeah. We scarred him and his 8-almost-9 y.o. brother on that one as well. I think they’ve forgiven us, but the bummer was that it was early in our vacation and they refused to go on anything scarier than Pirates of the Caribbean after that! So my hubby and I had to leave them with the grandparents one evening and escape alone to The Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n Roller Coaster to have our fun. ;)

  3. Helen says:

    Ack! My husband and I don’t yet have children….this is what terrifies me about the prospect! Hahaha

  4. I pretty much have a MOY award everyday. I am awesome! I loved your husbands pint of view on the situation.

  5. Adrienne says:

    So I’ve recently become a blog follower of yours – while on maternity leave with my newborn Jameson. (I also have a 2 year old named Emmalyn – and in addition to having similar sounding names with your daughter, seems to share some of the same spirit as well!) So I’m not entirely sure if it’s the hormones flowing or what, but this story had me laughing and on the verge of tears at the same time. Parenting is the biggest roller coaster of all (to throw in a totally cheesy over-use metaphor, but it’s true!)…and it sounds like you were riding your own personal Everest at the same time as Aiden :) I personally can’t wait for the day I get to take my little ones to DLand for the first time and maybe now I know to stay clear of Everest – till they’re 18 or something! Thank you for your inspiring designs and parenting stories, they put a smile on my face every day!

  6. Lisa Eng says:

    I’ve got a 5 week old and a 2 year old…so these past couple of weeks, I think I get that award almost everyday. Still trying to find that balance with 2 kids. I know it gets easier, or at least that’s what I’m told. How in the world do the people that have like 5+ kids do it?! They must be super-parents or something.

  7. Pingback: Mother of the Year award « This Loverly Family

  8. Paula Chaffin says:

    It my 18 yr olds senior year. She informed me it is supposed to be perfect. I guess I’m supposed to readjust her tiara every day! I am not getting mother of the year. My boys, now 27 and 24, claim that I would have gotten it every day. Oh what a selective memory when judging their sister don’t you think?!! Gotta Love Her, I know we do!!

  9. Jennifer says:

    OMG! You crack me up!!! I am right there with you as the runner up to “momma of the year” because I took my two boys ages 6 and 5 (hey, he was big for his age) on Mount Everest a few years ago and promptly scared them both for life……not really but close for the 6 year old because he still won’t go on roller coasters :-)

    I can only imagine those future therapist visits! (just kidding…..I hope)

  10. We totally ruined our kids at Disney. I had never been there (my husband had been there over 15 years ago) and we took both kids on the Dinosaur Ride at Animal Kingdom without really checking it out first because I saw kids the same age in line. Yeah. Our kids are 5&7. I hate roller coasters and speed. Oh and dark.

    So I clung to my son as he dug into me, the only reason I wasn’t screaming was because I was trying to keep him calm. Our daughter only came out of my husband’s back at the end to yell “WE WON!!!” (which we translated to “WE SURVIVED!!”

    After that she didn’t like anything dark. Not even the Little Mermaid and we worried that it was our decision that ruined her experience at Disney. But then she found It’s a Small World and rode that in the dark, well 3 times.

    So we may not have helped but we may not have broken her either. :)

  11. Catherine says:

    I told my son 2 weeks ago, after his first ever football game, not to worry- that he would get to play next time. We had been told by his coaches that the rookies might not play, and it was my ‘volunteer duty’ to sell 50/ 50 tickets, so those are my excuses for the horrifying moment when he replied, with this…look of hurt on his little face, “Mom! I played 4 times!”

    His next game I didn’t take my eyes off the field for the entire 3 hours.

    Oh. My. Gosh.

  12. Karen says:

    This summer while visiting family we went to an amusement park. My nine year old loved all the small rollercoasters but while in line for the big one his cousin kept telling him how BIG the drop was and how SHAKEY the ride was till my son was so freaked he started crying. So we didn’t make him go on it but the rest of the day he was too scared to go on any big rides. So I had that parenting decision of wanting to make him go one something so he could get over the fear and have fond memories of the day, or not pushing him but knowing the day would be forever ruined for him. So I spent the day gently encouraging him to go on the ride, he kept saying no. Finally my sister blurted out “Tyler I will pay you 10 dollars to ride the roller coaster”. He was so scared but he decided to do it. He was silent and shaky in the ride and fighting back tears as the safety bar came down. As soon as the ride was over he turned to me with huge eyes and said “That was AWESOME, lets do it again”. So I will forever be grateful to my sister and her 10 dollars.