Tag Archives: Walt Disney World

Where’s Madame Leota When We Need Her?

The future is one of many undiscovered countries.

It’s one of those places we always wish we could see before we get there, but know we can only ever guess. The best guesses are based on taking what happened in the past and then projecting those activities forward in a logical manner. And, even then, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

The worst guesses about the future involve pulling something out of your somewhere the sun don’t shine area.

I bring this up because we, as parents, are tormented by the future. We understand that whatever decision we make today, right now, is going to have possibly significant repercussions in the future.

That is, if we force our young dude to take piano lessons, will that make him hate music for the rest of his life? If we make our young dudette take an art class, will that cause her to doubt her own creativity for the rest of her life?

Admittedly, those are some rather lightweight consequences, but I’m trying to keep it light here and not get into depth about cutting off, say, an adult son who is content to do nothing, go nowhere and regards college and work as things that happen to other people.

Spooky crystal ball is spooky, but not very forthcoming regarding the future and our effects on it.Just, you know, for instance.

Young dudes and dudettes act without thought for the consequences all the time. It’s one of the more obvious definitions of being a teenager: the thought that you’re both invincible and invulnerable.

A lot of times non-parents can simply do something because they want to do it and have no thought of the future. They can do this because, to them, the future is somewhere out there. It’s not a real thing. The future is, to them, something that might happen, but . . . eh, no biggie.

To healthy, financially stable young adults, the future isn’t really real.

As parents, we know the future is as real as the diaper we just changed or the screaming fit we just endured because we took away the television and forced a young dude to go outside and play.

We see the future every night when he or she goes to bed, think about the future and worry if it’s okay while asleep, and smile at it when it wakes up in the morning all grouchy and grumpy but still the cutest thing in the world.

Parents know that the future is not stable, that it can change. This is evidenced by the way our little dudes and dudettes continually grow and become almost completely different people over the years.

The future is as real as the look on your little dude’s face.

So we parents know the future is real, but here’s the thing, the reason why I’d love to have Madame Leota (the floating head in the Haunted Mansion’s crystal ball in Walt Disney World) on retainer: We’re terrified that we’re going to screw the pooch regarding our kids’ future.

Mostly because we — all of us parents — have absolutely no idea what we’re doing.

continued tomorrow

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Keg-Stand Birthday Party

We threw a keg party for our oldest little dude’s first birthday.

I mention this not to subject myself to abuse, although I have a feeling that’s just what I’ve done.

No, the reason I mentioned it was as a way to continue the discussion about memory and youth. On Monday, I  talked about how I should have saved a lot of money by not taking the young dudes to Walt Disney World until they were old enough to actually remember going.

Here’s the thing: I can’t tell you the number of first-birthday parties to which I’ve gone that were complete wastes of time, energy and cake.

There is no way that a one-year-old little dude or dudette is going to be participating much in the festivities, unless there’s a drool off at some point, much less remember it with fondness later.

A lot of parents seem to forget that their adorable little spawn-of-their-loins doesn’t have an actual brain at one year, nor much control over their muscles (not to mention bowels).

Unless you’re desperately short on cute onesies, then, what’s the point of throwing a huge, big-time party for a one-year-old little dude?

The answer to that question is staring you right in the face. Well, it is provided you’re standing in front of a mirror and looking at it.

*sigh*

It’s you, dudes. You parents are the reason for the party.

No kid will ever remember nor appreciate the party you throw for them. Considering we didn’t remember this when it was time to force Walt Disney World on ourselves, it’s a miracle we remembered this little tidbit.

My wife, known to many as She Who Must Be In Charge Of Every Kegs of beer are one of the most important ingredients when you're throwing a keg party. You could even go so far as to not purchase any cups, but you've got to have the keg and the tap. Can't forget the tap.Little Party Detail Or Else, and I quickly realized that every first-birthday-party was, in fact, for the parents. So we decided, if that was the case (and it is), then let’s really make it for the parents.

Which brings us to the keg party.

Before the actual party began, we had a little celebration with the proto-Sarcasmo involving cake he could barely eat, candles he couldn’t blow out and presents he didn’t understand. But mostly it was about pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.

Then we cleaned up the mess and got to the fun. We held the keg party to celebrate the fact that we’d managed to procreate and had kept the resulting mass of replicating protoplasm alive, functional and cute as all get out for one complete revolution around the sun.

We invited friends, family and, for one rather fuzzy moment, the mail carrier on his appointed rounds.

A good time was had by all.

Although, now that I think about it, I’m not sure we really achieved anything different by holding an adult party instead of hosting a party for a young dude who wouldn’t remember the party.

Considering the number of kegs we upended that day, it’s a cause for another celebration that anyone remembers any of the party at all.

Although I’m sure it was fun. At least, so I’m told.

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Do You Remember This?

Memory is a fickle thing.

You might remember the phone number of your girlfriend from high school, but not be able to remember the phone number you just looked up on the computer and have forgotten it by the time you get your cellphone out of your pocket.

You might remember that horrifying time you accidentally ordered sheep’s brains in a French restaurant three decades ago, but not remember what you had for breakfast this morning.

Students, of course, have the most contact with the fickle side of memory. I’m sure every single kid has studied their butts off the night before a test and gone to sleep confident they know everything there is to know about the subject. However, when they sit down in class to actually take the test, the answers remain frustratingly out of reach.

I wish I’d remembered to take that sort of thing into account when my young dudes were, in fact, young. I would have saved a lot of money I spent at Walt Disney World, I’ll tell you that.

Latest research talks about childhood amnesia or infantile amnesia, which means we remember nothing before we’re about 2 years old. The more sporadic holdover takes us up until about age 10 and, from those years, we retain fewer memories than we should, based merely on the passage of time.

And, yet, still we took the young dudes to Walt Disney World because we wanted them to have great memories of the place from when they were younger. We knew about childhood amnesia, but thought we’d be different.

Which explains why I was in Walt Disney World last December, accompanied by Hyper Lad and his mom, my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Hankering For More Mickey. See, we talked with Hyper Lad and he said he had never been to Disney World before. We begged to differ. He stood firm and we realized he just didn’t remember it.

Which led to me asking his older brothers and I found they didn’t really remember any of their trips with a great deal of clarity, only bits and bursts. Hyper Lad, though? Nothing.

At least, that’s what we thought until we got there.

We were walking through one of Disney’s resorts on our way to a dinner when Hyper Lad had a flash of memory. He stopped still and pointed to the window sill on a room we were walking by.

“That,” he said. “I remember that. We stayed here.”

No, actually, we hadn’t. We had, however, stayed at a hotel where our room was right next to the pool and there had been a windowsill like that outside of our room. He remembered something, but it required some visual and tactile reminders to trigger it.

You might want to keep that in mind the next time you’re considering an expensive vacation with a young dude or dudette. Or even a massively expensive birthday party for one of your spawn.

Which reminds me. . .  Let’s talk more about this on Wednesday, yeah?

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