Friday, June 3, 2011

Celebrating Summer Vacation - Part 2

Yesterday I told you about our fun-filled day on the River walk in San Antonio.  What I didn't mention is the fact that we had to get the kids up extra early that morning (around 6:30 AM instead of 7:30/8:00 AM) so we could get on the road before rush hour.  After getting up early, sweating on the boat, swimming at the pool, eating junk for dinner AND staying up late to watch a movie... Sophia was exhausted. 

Because it was vacation, we were not as strict as we are at home with her eating and bedtime schedule.  Isn't vacation the time to break all the rules?  While that seemed like a good idea at the time, I forgot one very important thing.  When Sophia gets worn out, she has night terrors.  Night terrors, where the child is scared, agitated and inconsolable, is not the same as nightmares and experts recommend that you SHOULD NOT try to wake a person having a night terror.  Watching your child have an episode like this is scary and heartbreaking for a parent, but we have learned how to handle them over the past several years by sitting close by and comforting Sophia until she calms down.      

Less than an hour after we went to bed, I heard Sophia start crying in the other room of our hotel suite.  I listened for a few seconds before I recognized the familiar sound and I knew it was more than just a bad dream.  She was sleeping on the sofa bed with Miss K who was trying to console her but when I walked in the room, Sophia was sitting upright in bed, screaming, crying and shaking uncontrollably.  I told Miss K that she was having a night terror and could not wake herself up, but she would be okay.  Then I picked up Sophia and walked down the hallway towards the bathroom.  I felt the warmth on my leg before we made it to the bathroom door, letting me know that she had an accident.

It took about ten minutes to calm her down, get her cleaned up and in a pair of dry underwear.  I could tell by then that she was awake, which usually means she would not have another night terror that night. (If she can't wake herself up, she will often have 2 or 3 in a row).  I took Sophia back into the room with Miss K, who looked worried, but Sophia was exhausted so she laid down and went right back to sleep.

With my sleep pants soaked with pee, I headed back to bedroom and realized I had no clean PJ's to wear to bed.  No problem!  I wasn't going to get much sleep anyway because Sophia's night terrors had woken up Tallen.  He was sitting up in his bad that we had made on the floor and he asked me to hold him.  I laid him next to me in the bed and tried to go back to sleep for two hours but he was too wiggly.  Finally I got up and put him back in his "bed" on the floor... where he stayed until about 6:30 AM when he woke up and wanted me to hold him again.  Oh the joys of sleeping with the kids in a hotel room.

Around 7:30 AM we all got up and started getting dressed for Sea World.  I was in charge of the multiple outfit changes that would take place over the next 12 hours for all four of us (clothes for the park, swimsuits for the water park, dry clothes after the water park) plus snacks for the day (dried fruit, goldfish, crackers, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches).

Our hotel had a hot breakfast (this was a great place to stay with kids) so we all ate before we checked out and drove to Sea World.  Trey was overwhelmed by how many cars were in line when the park opened at 10:00 AM, four lanes of traffic were all going into the parking lot.  As soon as we got out of the car we covered the kids with sunscreen and started our long day of family fun. 

Ready for SeaWorld! Seriously, my kids hate to look at the camera.
First we went to see the dolphins (where Tallen was more interested in splashing his hands in the water than watching the dolphins swim by), followed by the sharks. 

"They look mean," Sophia said.  Trey and I agreed.  Look at those teeth!

We were in line early to get good seats for the first show of the day, Azul, which featured whales, dolphins, birds, acrobats, synchronized swimmers and high divers.  It was breathtaking and actually kept both of my kid's attention the entire show! 

Beautiful acrobat and swimmers during the show

Tallen couldn't take his eyes off the birds and the dolphins
As we left the open air theater, Sophia told Trey that when she grows up, she wants to train dolphins. 
It was noon and it was already HOT so we headed to the water park.  Tallen was in the stroller and on the verge of falling asleep so I found a spot in the shade where I could watch Trey, Sophia and Miss K at the splash pool.  The we moved on to my favorite spot in the entire park... the lazy river.  We made Sophia wear a life jacket so she could swim without holding onto me for dear life, which meant I could float next to her in a tube.  Miss K kept an eagle eye on her and we made several loops around the lazy river while Trey took a break while Tallen was sleeping. 

Tallen woke up grumpy and hated it when we took him to the water while Sophia started whining that she was starving.  Again, we were off our usual schedule and I knew we were on the edge of a major meltdown so we headed to the cafe in the covered pavilion at the water park (water, shade and food were needed NOW).  Tallen didn't eat much again (how does that kid even grow?) but we all felt better after our lunch.  We left the water park and headed to the Sesame Street Bay of Play, in hopes that we could find a spot that Tallen would enjoy.  That kid was not having it... He hated every water feature and cried any time we went near them but Sophia had a blast.

I asked Trey for the time and realized we were going to miss the next Shamu show (it started in five minutes and we were a good 10 minutes away from the stadium and still soaking wet).  We decided to dry off by walking to see the sea lions. 

Hey sea lions!  Look at us over here!
This was Sophia's favorite part of the day.  Trey bought her some dead, stinky fish that she could feed to the sea lions and they barked and splashed the water to get her attention.  They loved those stinky fish! 

Feeding them stinky fish
After the sea lions, we walked way to far to see the penguins which were not that exciting.  It was at this point that I realized that my kids were done with Sea World.

He may look sweet but he is really trying to steal my sunglasses!

In my early years of motherhood, I would have made a big mistake here.  Even though the kids were tired and the next Shamu show did not start for another hour (which meant it would be about 2 hours before we could leave the park),  a few years ago I would have made us all go to see Shamu... because if you come to SeaWorld then you have to stay to see the big whale!
Do you now what?  My kids have no idea that they missed out on anything that day.  They saw so many beautiful animals and we had a great family vacation.  Don't worry Shamu... we will be back to see you soon.!

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