Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

I Did SeaWorld with 3 Boys and Lived to Tell the Tale

SeaWorld in August. Four Words. “Hotter Than Three Hells.” Wow. There were so many highlights I don’t even know where to begin.

We dressed accordingly, cotton t-shirts and shorts, good shoes, hats and I had everyone screened with SPF 50 Bullfrog. We were set.

I think the first highlight was when the boys convinced me we really needed to sit in the Splash Zone for Shamu, the 7th row. It was the 11:30 showing. We were facing right into the sun. We were melting. I must’ve been suffering from heat stroke when I said yes. They inform us this is salt water at 52 deg. That’s COLD water. So we’re sitting there and I’m feeling sweat pouring down my face onto my shirt when I look down and realize… I’m wearing a tight white cotton t-shirt. I’m sitting in the soak zone. This has the potential to turn into a Wet T-Shirt contest of sorts. I spend the next 15 minutes trying to figure out which way to cross my arms for maximum chest coverage. I was loving life when they brought out this frickin’ 12, 000 pound killer whale to do the final soaking. The Gods of Shamu were shining upon me, however, and we did not get wet, much to the dismay of my three sweaty boys. Next time they want to sit in the first row. I think they’ll drown.

The next highlight was when I was coerced into taking them to this Journey to Atlantis ride which is like Splash Mountain at Disney, except you plunge twice. It was a 45 minute wait. We’d been waiting for 10 minutes when Son#3 looks at me, grabbing himself, as he does way too much, and says the immortal words, “Mom. I have to pee.” I looked at him and said, “No.” A look of complete horror crossed his face, eyes wide open and mouth agape he said, “You’re going to make me pee in my pants?!” and I replied, “No. You’re going to hold it.” And he did.

Twenty minutes into the wait, Son#2 informs me his stomach hurts badly. He is lactose intolerant, he had pizza for lunch and I forgot to give him his medicine. Now my feeling is of anger at myself for forgetting and horror at the thought of him hurling in this ride. The pain subsides. Usually it subsides with the passing of the foulest smelling paint peeling gas you have ever smelled, but the hundreds of people standing around us were spared, as was I. Thankfully.

Finally we get to the front when they tell us that I cannot sit with all my kids. Only two to a seat and an adult has to sit with both Sons 2 and 3 as they’re both too short to go with another kid. Now I’m the one that wants to vomit. As good fortune would have it, a woman and her husband, in their 50s with her Mom who was in her 70s come up next. The SeaWorld guy asked if one of them would sit with Son#2 and they were THRILLED to have a child experience this ride with them. They sat behind us and were the nicest people. I think they were mid-westerners. Just really down to earth and sweet. Just as we were starting the last ride to the tippy top, Son#2 leans over to his new companion, the Mom, and says, “I want to tell you. I’m a screamer.” They all laughed and sure enough, he screamed his bloody head off the whole way and we could not quit laughing. We had the best time. I think he made that ride for them too.

Next highlight was when I was convinced yet again that we should sit in a splash zone for the dolphin show. I thought, “Please? How wet can you get from a daggum dolphin?” Answer? Pretty damn wet. Luckily I had already practiced the arms crisscrossed over chest maneuver and somehow I stayed pretty dry. The same cannot be said for the boys. They were very happy.

But I think the true highlight was at the puffin/penguin tank and the Manatee exhibit. We are watching the puffins in this tank/simulated environment. There are probably about 30 people standing around. Son#3 yells, “Mom! I think that puffin tooted!” I’m ignoring him. I figure if I stand away and don’t make eye contact nobody will notice he’s mine. Even though he has my blue eyes. And even though he looks like a blonde hair blue eyed clone of my brown Italian Son#1, whose hand I’m holding. Not to be ignored, he yells, “Mom. Mom. Mom. Are you looking? Really he’s tooting! Look at all those bubbles.” Now all three boys are over there talking about it and people are kind of staring or maybe I’m just blanking out this whole thing as I kind of wanted to die. So I walk over and Son#3 is still carrying on, “See? See all those little bubbles? What do you think, Mom? Huh? What do you think?” I replied, “I think he’s kicking his feet and making bubbles” and I grabbed them up and we moved on. Who knows. He could have been passing gas, but I just had no desire to sit there analyzing puffin poop or gas or whatever it was, in front of 30 strangers.

Off we move to the Manatees/Gator exhibit. Why they MUST see gators I do not know. They see them sunning on the banks of our canals all the time. You would think they are a novelty. Hell, they serve gator tail in all our restaurants. I had just spent all this time explaining to them how their Daddy and I swam with Loggerhead turtles and Manatee when we used to scuba dive. (True stories.) So we’re watching these big globby fat mammals and one of them swims up to us and poops. There was no doubt. It was just gross. Poop is floating everywhere, breaking up, it’s nasty and fish are coming to eat it and I just want to vomit. But oh… not my sons. Son#3, “Mom! Did you see that?! That manatee pooped!” and on and on and on. It made their day. Not mine. I kept thinking, “I am never diving with Manatee again. I may not dive again. The ocean is their toilet.” Blech.

A good time was had by all. We left the park at 8 and I’ll tell you what… I was beat. I had gotten a double stroller figuring it would be easier to keep them close if two were in a stroller. So I pushed 100 lbs of stroller in that hot FL sun for just over 10 hours. Son#1 helped me the last few hours because I was just flat out dragging ass. (Actually, this is cool. He looked over and said, "Mom, I didn't realize how hard you've been working. Let me help." He's a good kid.) It was 2 ½ hours home and I got lost trying to find the turnpike as a lot of the signage is still gone from Charley. Orlando took a pretty big hit and it was disturbing to see the damage, even 2 weeks after the fact.

So I’d do it again. The boys had me in waves of going nuts type conniptions combined with a lot of laughter. I’d do it again. In a heartbeat. Skipping the Manatee Poop.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Bou. You took twenty+ years away and took me back to when the kids were little and The Boss and I were young. Peter.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Sally said...

Since we don't have decent theme parks, that was really great to read. I don't envy you pushing the stroller in that heat though. The things we do for our kids!

4:48 AM  
Blogger Tammi said...

I am not surprised to hear Son #1 step up like that. He has such a beautiful "old" soul.

How was the shark tank? Everything #3 was hoping for??

What a great time you guys had. Glad you missed the soakings, but just as glad the boys got theirs. They were SO looking forward to that.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Harvey said...

Pooping's not TOO bad.

Just be glad they didn't mate while you were watching.

Which happened to me with the Gorillas at the Milwaukee Zoo, once.

Where I had taken my date :-/

9:12 AM  
Blogger VW said...

Sounds like a blast. I can't wait until my two get old enough and we can do a caravan over there. Or for me just to be able to take them myself. And the heat? Heat index on this side of the coast was 100 degrees F yesterday... you must have toasted over there. Can't wait to hear were you take them next. How about Alaska? Go to the other extreme in temps!

9:15 AM  
Blogger Anathematized1 said...

You are a brave soul.

Glad you and the boys had fun - though flatulating puffins would have made my day too. But, I must just be immature for my age cause I still can't get enough of the fart jokes :P

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can identify with the middle aged couple who got to sit with the boys. Not much is better than seeing through a child's eye.

Really great post. Thank you.


10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL - Bou you are a far braver woman than I am. I readily admit to this. At the very least - your boys said "poop" and "toot" and not some other far more embarrassing words. *grin* so thank heaven for small favors.

Anyway, congrats on making it through the day in one piece. You rock!
-- Teresa

3:56 PM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

Oh Tammi, I forgot about the 'shoiks'as Son3 calls them. He LOVED them. He wanted to combine exhibits. "Mom, what would happen if we put the Killer Whales with the penguins?" Me:"That is called the Food Chain." Him:"Mom, could be put the sharks in with the polar bears?" and on and on.

Harv: I'm glad they did not mate. I was actually wondering. I've got a whole post on that stuff. I'm glad you reminded me. My kids always think its cool that one animal is nice enough to give the other a piggy back. It really is getting time for 'the talk'.

8:08 PM  

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