Monday, August 2, 2010

Today's Handy Baby Tip: Line Jumping

Every day, Max learns amazing new things that take him one step further from the womb, and one step closer to becoming a fully realized person. Meanwhile, every day, I develop new aches and pains, forget where more of my possessions are, and find new things growing on my skin. It's the nature of things, and it favors Max by a landslide. 30 years from now, he'll be in his prime, and I'll be a smelly old man marching toward death. (Actually, Jackson would argue that I'm already smelly and old, but that's another discussion.)

Since you can't teach an old dog new tricks (not actually true, as the love of river rafting I formed in my 40s illustrates), we'll focus on the young dog.

At this stage, Max's new tricks are too many to list. He's eating more and more solid foods, and has become intensely curious of the foods the rest of us eat. He's sitting well enough to be left for minutes at a time, seated on a blanket and surrounded by toys, as Sarah and I take care of various household tasks. He's looking at us for approval after he does something like hit a drum, and has figured out that by looking at a mirror, he can watch people without actually looking at them. Oh, and he's screaming and grunting at us if he feels like we're not paying enough attention (like now).

Heck, he's even going on thrill rides. Two weeks ago, we made a pilgrimage down to L.A. to see family and go to Disneyland, finding out that he's even good during 6-hour car rides. Sarah and Max weren't going to join us at the park until I booked a room at the Disneyland hotel, assuring that swim breaks and naps would be accessible via the Monorail. (In fact, the day featured his first time ever in a pool.) While easy access to the hotel was critical, the day's real clincher was finding out that, with a baby and stroller, it's possible to avoid just about any waiting in lines.

By coupling Fastpass tickets (which allow you to skip the line during a pre-determined hour) with parent swap passes (which allow two people to enter through the exit after others in their party ride), we never stood in a line longer than 15 minutes. (My cousin Zack--if he's reading this, which is a long shot, since I've never known him to read anything other than the sports page--would protest my sharing this tale, but don't worry, Cuz', the real secret is safe with me.) We also lucked out in that the three rides Max took in (Small World, Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean) had minimal lines. Max, being the good natured thrill seeker that he is, loved them all. And his day was capped by the 9:30 fireworks show, which thrilled and captivated him before turning in for the night.

Then it was on to Santa Barbara, where we spent a couple of relaxing days swimming and strolling and shopping, with Max as happy as can be throughout.

I don't know what Sarah and I did in past lives to deserve a child that's so cooperative and, yes, easy to travel with, but it must have been something special. Of course, both of us are braced for the first time he gets sick, the terrible twos, or, shudder to even think, the horrifying pre-teen years, but for now, we're just enjoying the wonderful ride he's taking us on. And just like Disneyland, there are no lines to speak of.