Day 2

Today was magical and amazing while at the same time being challenging and full of negotiations and talking tos. We woke up and started the day with tubs for everyone because they just weren't happening last night. Caroline put on her Ariel tutu and crown and Connor wore his best muscle shirt and off we headed to the Magic Kingdom to meet my cousin Vic. Caroline danced around outside the entrance and that is when all the "good morning princess" business started. All day long that outfit and crown made her a princess. She loved it.

Connor busied himself with the stroller, pushing it in tight circles. We head down main street and towards the castle where our magical breakfast awaited us. Caroline was hesitant at first in cinderella's greeting room, but she managed a brave moment and took the princess' hand. Photos, video and smiles were plentiful. Snow white was already making the rounds and then suddenly, right in front of our princess' eyes, first Aurora, then Ariel, and finally Belle entered the dining room.

I will fully admit that I cried when I saw Ariel. Tears people! I was relieved and excited. We had a talk on the way over about what would happen if Ariel was not there and to know that she was, that Caroline had her Ariel outfit on and was going to meet her, that just pushed me over. We collected autographs and gave many hugs to the ladies. Connor on the other hand dove off his booster seat the moment snow white approached. Dove off his seat in terror.

We rode dumbo after catching a glimpse of jasmine and Aladdin and their friend tiana heading off to the park. Then she saw snow white and I don't know why I didn't out my foot down, but she was so excited and Steve said go with it and it was a gross error of judgement. To say it was a scary adventure is simply not terrifying enough. She was afraid of everything else we went on in the morning, even small world. small world! It's ok now. We are moving on and trying to be brave. By the end of the morning we had her in a better place, willing to try Buzz Lightyear and Monster Laugh Floor. We even ran into chip and Dale in tomorrowland. Connor on the other hand loved everything, well, almost everything.

We caught the Dream along with Mickey show by chance in front of the castle. I'm sure we will catch it again on our last day here. We grabbed lunch. We caught a little parade on our way out for a rest. Connor slept through it and so seeing the wait to meet Mickey was just 5 minutes, I took her solo to meet him. Connor did not care for characters. As a special surprise, we also got to meet Minnie! Mickey spun caro around in her dress and she was just so happy.

Pool. Slides. Swimming. A short rest. An unsure plan. We headed back to the magic kingdom to catch a few more rides before going to the studios for fantasmic. Caroline was pushing all my buttons waiting for the bus and we had an audience, which always makes those moments so much better. She stepped over the yellow line for the bus stop - the safety line- and I had to take her behind the stop to give her the "we do not go over the yellow line" talk. When we returned I was complimented by our audience, "excellent parenting." I was feeling two inches tall watching her acting out, making spit noises with her mouth, stepping over the safety line. It felt good. I needed that reassurance. Caroline is four and four in so many ways. She was so full of energy and spunk and excitement today that it just bubbled over the edges. I know this.

It didn't stop me from questioning our motives to return to the park when we had to hop off the bus for an emergency bathroom break. Nor did I stop thinking this when 45 mph winds and driving rain soaked us head to toe under the bus stop at the park. Or when a giant puddle blocked our entrance to the gates.

It dried. Her mood improved. She found her bravery and I found my sensitivity and we all forged ahead. To tiki room and dumbo and the carousel. Second wind on the way to the studios and third wind with some dinner. The kids made it to and through fantasmic and they loved it, well most of it. We captured their faces on film. The awe and excitement. A perfect ending. It was what I thought this whole trip would be like; smiles, cheers, awe. It can't all be like that, I know that, and I also know that expectations can be dangerous.

I understand how it happened that she could love Fantasmic and be fearful of Peter Pan. She knew and understood the story of the show. I had assured her that it might be a little scary, but Mickey would save the day. She knew this and because she knew, she was ok. She has no idea what the peter pan ride will do, what she will see, if the witch will be lurking there. She is like her father and my brother. If she doesn't know that she loves it, how could she love it?

We are aiming to get her a bit braver as the days go by, but feeling ok if she doesn't care to try anything more exciting that the tea cups. Tomorrow the kids will meet some animals and enjoy a safari, wearing maroon and gold.


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