Animal Kingdom

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Animal Kingdom is my favorite park with kids. One of the best things to do there was go on a safari ride to see the animals.

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When we went with the kids, they got their faces painted. We did an African dance and played instruments. Each part of the park has separate continent themes to enjoy the animals native to that area. This time they even had an area dedicated to Avatar. It was over a 2 hour wait to go on the ride, so we didn’t.

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I think that this park was the hardest for me to tour without the kids. I felt sad that they had grown so fast until I saw the little kids cry. The parents seemed surprised that their children weren’t happy the whole time they were at the happiest place on Earth.

I had expectations at one time too. I thought that my children would get along. I thought that if I provided the right kind of environment for them that they wouldn’t argue as much as they do. It took me until my 2nd child was 6 months old to figure out that expectation wasn’t going to work well for me.

The evening we went to AK, we ate at the African restaurant at the AK resort. I loved seeing all of the animals, but I like to people watch too. I saw a couple with a small child at the table next to ours. When he got a little fussy, they handed him a cell phone. They relaxed instantly to know their boy wasn’t going to make a scene. But I thought ‘how sad’ in my motherly mind…they don’t know this yet, but in another decade they will be trying to pry the phone out of their teenager’s hand to have a conversation.

I have learned so much, but there is still so little that I know.

I really thought I had this parenting thing down. I mean, my oldest adult daughter and I are like best friends. She tell me things that I would never share with my mom.

But what worked with her did not work for my other 2 children. With them it is more of a struggle.

This week I had to tell my son that he needed to do his homework. He is a very smart guy but doesn’t care enough to do the work. He has been sliding by the last couple of years with C’s and D’s. He thinks that he will be able to get into a decent school by just having raw music talent. I also told him that he needs to wear his seat belt although he argued that he has never been in an accident and will not die because he is young.

My youngest daughter thinks that she is stronger than me. She said that she could beat me in a short race. I reminded her of the 5k we did a few years back where I placed in my age group and she came in last place overall. Seriously!

These are the types of conversations that I have with my teens.

But despite my insanity from parenting teenagers, I missed them when I went to the AK park. I missed all of our trips to the zoo when they were little. I missed their excitement and awe over seeing the animals. I wish I could recapture that again. Maybe with my grandchildren someday.

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