Mommy Chronicles

A funny look at motherhood and the mayhem it causes.

September 08, 2005

The two Disneylands

There are two Disneylands: the one seen through the eyes of a child, and the one seen through the eyes of a grownup.

The kid at Disneyland sees one thing more than anything else: pants.

What else do you have to look at when you’re not quite four feet tall, and you spend the better part of your day in lines and following your parents?

The grownups, meanwhile, probably don't notice pants, unless to comment on the fact that Donald doesn’t seem to be wearing any.

The adults at Disneyland do notice the landscaping, though. They wonder, how does Mickey keep the wisteria from overtaking Mr. Toad’s Wild Patio or Alice in Wonderland’s neighboring cottage?

The adults think, at our house, we can’t keep our wisteria from growing over the toilet our neighbor has in his yard, leaning against a bathtub that happens to contain a sink in which a fern has sprouted.

The Haunted Mansion has no outdoor bathroom fixtures. And the trim on the doors inside is magnificent. It has old-world charm, which doesn’t come cheap. The adults know this. It makes them sigh.

So does the Haunted Mansion’s unobstructed view of Tom Sawyer’s Island. Real estate is location, location, location, and something with a water view – even if it’s kind of close to the train tracks and infested with ghosts – is going to be worth a mint.

This makes us sigh again.

But even more than the incredible landscaping, the fairy dust they use to clean up barf and the enviable real estate, the adult experience at the Magic Kingdom has more to do with logistics, timing and adequate sunscreen than anything resembling relaxation.

I know this, because I am an adult who has just returned from there. If parenthood has an Olympic-level challenge, Disneyland during the height of the tourist season during its 50th anniversary celebration is it.

Adam and I were ready for it, though. We had the sunscreen. We had a stroller and floppy hat for Alice, and we had a plan for keeping Lucy close. It was a good plan, based in fear.

“Mama got lost at Disneyland, Lucy,” he said, pausing dramatically. “Lost. She had to go to the Lost and Found.”

And it’s true. After I lost sight of my mom’s pants when I was about Lucy’s age, I waited at the Lost and Founds for what seemed like hours. My parents only noticed I was missing when they’d bought five ice cream cones, but only had four children to give them to.

Lucy listened with giant eyes. She had just one question.

“Yes?” Adam asked her.

“Can I swim in the Lostin Fountains?”

So much for scaring her straight.

Even so, so we made it through Disneyland. We held hands and hit all the highlights, and after two and a-half days, we were happy, sticky, blistered and totally exhausted. Even Lucy, who can run for miles, needed to be carried. Adam and I traded off all the way back to the hotel.

Feeling like we could go to sleep for a hundred years while roses grew up all around us, Adam and I split up – he and Lucy went to the pool, and Alice and I wandered Downtown Disneyland in search of ice cream.

We found it. But of course, there was a line. So I did my best to explain to Alice that she was going to have to wait, along with everyone else, in the 90-degree heat. Alice, who is a toddler of few words, had this to say in what can only be described as her Alice in Angryland Voice.


That ice cream cone could not come fast enough. On that, Alice and I could agree. I felt as though I was holding a ticking time bomb. Would she blow before we got out of the shop with her cone?

Yes. Of course. And loudly.

After what seemed like an eternity of screams, we had her cone of mint chocolate chip. I strapped her in her stroller, handed her the cone, and wheeled her to the cool lobby of our hotel, where I melted into a soft chair while she ate and ate.

“Ice cream cone,” Alice said every once in awhile, in a soft and happy voice. “Ice cream cone.”

I looked down at her tiny hands and tiny face, which were dwarfed by the gigantic scoop of mint chocolate chip. She ate it slowly, stopping every so often to let me know what she had.

“Ice cream cone,” she said. “Ice cream cone.”

And as she said those three words, the chaos and noise of Disneyland melted away. I felt so relaxed in that chair, looking at my beautiful, messy, happy child.

And in that brief moment, I knew that the thing Alice and I saw was the same.

Ice cream. Just ice cream. A sweet miracle that, no matter what, can never last. Like summer, like a trip to Disneyland, like the time our kids are small enough to carry when they’re too tired to walk.

“Ice cream,” I said to Alice.

And I knew that she knew just what I meant.

* * *

To read Adam's blog about our trip to Disneyland, go here:


Blogger Jen said...

I hope my kids never want to go to Disney World. I don't think I could handle it!

1:19 PM  
Blogger Ministry of Silly Walks said...

I have to take them! and I am waiting the moment they can use the space mountain!

3:13 PM  
Blogger mamajean said...

I'm a single mom whose kids are grown. When they were little I scrimped and saved to take them to Disneyworld. I felt bad later about how tired I was all the time and wondered if I was patient enough with them and did they have a good time. Years later, when my daughter graduated from college, guess what she requested as a graduation present!! You got it; another trip to Disneyworld!
By the way, we had a blast the second time too, although we were just as tired!

4:17 PM  
Blogger ginger said...

I've never been. Maybe one day.

I checked out Adam's account of the trip and looked at the pics. Adorable girls! Lucy's CURLS! Saw you rockin' the SPOGG shirt too! :)

7:00 PM  
Blogger Jessica A Bruno said...


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Love it so far and can't wait for more, hope start update more often as you use to do.

Hope my new email address is on the update entry list.

Please check out my blog when you have a chance again.

Thank you.


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Blogger bravencrazy said...

I just finished reading It Could Happen to You this weekend.. My boyfriend says the last time he heard me laugh that hard, I was reading Erma Bombeck. Now that's no small feat!

So, SO happy to have a new place to follow the hilarity of your growing family as we plot the beginnings of our own. Congratulations on living the dream.. and still being able to laugh about it. (Wait.. dream? Who am I kidding? You don't sleep anymore. LOL)

8:34 AM  
Blogger Me said...

May Peace
Hope and Love
be with you
and Always

Merry Christmas!

5:51 PM  
Blogger Angel said...

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9:06 AM  
Blogger DAVID LAWRENCE said...

Dear Martha,
I read with interest and amusement your column on Friday the 13th. I must correct - at least according to the Orthodox Jewish view - a few items. The idea of starting off with the right foot is based on a verse in Exodus which describes the splitting of the Red Sea. G-d is described as having a mighty (paraphrase) right hand. The Talmud explains that the right is associated with strength. Second, the tradition of saying gesundheit goes back further than Tiberius; it goes back to the Patriarch Jacob. The Talmud comments that prior to Jacob, people just died when their time came and did not suffer illness; Jacob was the first to fall sick, in order that he would see that his time was up and would deliver the blessings enumerated in Genesis to his children. Halfway through the blessings he sneezed and said, "For your salvation I hope, O L-rd." This is the origin of wishing a sneezer well. Third, Adam and Eve did not eat an apple; the Midrash says it was probably a fig: poor apple, bum rap. The number 13 in our tradition can be connected with the 13 attributes of mercy enumerated in Exodus, said to be used by the Almighty when he judges us. The Torah says that Moses enumerated them when G-d was considering the proper punishment of the Jewish people for the sin of the golden calf. As it turns out G-d did not punish all at once with a big whack, because of Moses' prayer; he rather doled out the punishment in little doses over the millenia along with punishments for other things, so as to diminish its force and diffuse it, thus in effect preserving the Jewish people. Finally, Jewish law proscribes the groom and bride from seeing each other for seven days prior to the wedding for fear that the excitement and anticipation of seeing the spouse to be ( remember we proscribe pre-marital sex)might cause the women to have an unscheduled episode of menstrual bleeding, which would then preclude the couple from consummating the marriage that evening. This unscheduled bleeding does happen, ask any Orthodox rabbi who deals with these matters. After a long wait with hormones ragigng that is not a healthy thing. Sorry for running on so long, but I thought you would like to have another perspective on all this.
David Lawrence
Passaic, NJ

10:58 AM  

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