Last Saturday, my husband and I took our little boy to see The Good Dinosaur, the newest Disney-Pixar movie which is about the adventures of an Apatosaurus named Arlo and his little “pet-human” named Spot.
I have to say I was delighted to see again a movie with a simple, heartwarming story that teaches children how perseverance and hard work are necessary to overcome obstacles in life. I won’t spoil the movie, but I’ll just say this, I cried a river at the end.
This movie also made me think about children and how they grow at their own pace. Depending on the environment, kids adapt and develop the skills they need to survive. Then, I thought about me as a cave mom–dressed in leopard skin and with shaggy hair–and I imagined that I would had probably sent my son to pick up T-Rex eggs for breakfast.
But life evolved, and today as a modern mother, I try to protect my off-spring from every danger, known and unknown. However, that protection is not bullet-proof, and I actually found myself responsible for his tears recently.
Three weeks ago, I visited my best friend who lives in Orlando, and she invited us to Hollywood Studios. After a few mellow attractions, we decided to ride the thrilling Rock’n’Roller Coaster encouraged by my friend’s kids who are 9 and 10 years old.
Before getting into the 50 minute line, I looked up the ride on my phone to check the height requirements to be sure my little guy could ride it. I also checked the pictures, and the coaster seemed very safe for my four-year-old. I mean, it was a self-contained car and not something where we would be hanging in mid-air. Besides, at that point, he was determined to jump on board no matter what.
I sat next to him and fastened both our chest harnesses. My heart was racing so fast I couldn’t breathe. What happened next is a horror story. The online reviews were very specific but neglected to mention that the ride was completely in the dark and filled with loud music–the two things my son fears the most. I put my hand on his little leg, as he cried and screamed for the length of the ride. I’m sure it didn’t last more than a minute but it felt like an eternity.
When it stopped, I removed the harness and hugged my little baby; I could feel our heart-beats pounding each other’s chest. We walked out of the ride into the shop and he kept crying inconsolably. I caught a few people looking at me as if yo say, “What kind of crazy mom does that to her own child?” As much as I tried to amuse him, he was really in shock and it took him at least 10 minutes to completely calm down. Well, actually less, because I bribed him with his favorite junk snack, Cheetos.
When we got back to Jacksonville, my husband—who had to stay behind—couldn’t believe what I had done. He didn’t get too upset, but he pointed out that no matter how older our son looks, he is indeed only four. “Did you think about his neck? You know that if I had been there, I would have never let him ride that.” He was right, so I kept my mouth shut. Needless to say I felt like the worst mother, for a moment. But, then I thought, “At least now he knows what to expect from roller coasters.”
Well, soon enough, he was able to test himself again. The weekend before Thanksgiving we went to Universal Studios in Orlando. This time though, my husband and I let him decide what he wanted to ride. As soon as he saw the huge Optimus on top of the building of the Transformers 4D simulator, he pulled us that way.
Thanks to early admission we got in without any wait time–my husband and I can’t stand crowds, lines, and especially tourists who are pink from the sun, who carry video cameras around their necks, and have Fred Flintstone-sized turkey legs in their hands.
Once again, he cried and screamed with fear, but the crying turned into fun-screaming and laughing as the day progressed. At the end of the day, we rode at least 15 attractions and even repeated a few. Every time we stood in line though, my little Bubbas asked, “Is this a scary one Mommy?” and because I am a good mother I said, “No baby, this is a cool one!”
I can’t help but think about the future, and I know that my little boy is going to make his own decisions, and just like riding a roller coaster, he won’t know if he is ready to handle the consequences and neither will I. Life is full of waiting lines, and my baby will have to learn, alone, when to follow and when to quit.
Thanks for reading and sharing.