Family “Vacations” with an Infant

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Family Vacation at Sea World

Family “Vacations” with an Infant

Hi! How are ya? What?! Where have we been?!  Well, I’m glad you asked; let me tell ya.

First, I’d like to preface that if you’re a parent (who parents like me) then you have no time at all to yourself. Nada. Zero. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being “no time to yourself” and 10 being “Oh, look at me living like I’m a carefree, childless 20-something; maybe I’ll go to Starbucks and do some social justice warrior retweeting and look up ‘impeachment'”, being a parent rates at a whopping -10,000. NEG-A-TIVE TEN THOUSAND!

With that being said a lot has been going on… so much I don’t even know where to start. I feel like I need a table of contents. Oh look… Here’s one now.

  1. Family “Vacation” and the reason for my time away from blogging
  2. New Job…on top of owning a business
  3. Baptism- because God (and my mother) demand it
  4. Birthday- you’re all grown up
  5. 1yr check up or a nightmare of needles and incompetence

I’ll try to be concise in my recounting of the past few months because this is the internet and I’ve already lost your attention. That’s OK. We can still be friends.

Family “Vacation” and the reason for my time away from blogging

To be fair, there are plenty of reasons I’ve stayed away from updating my family, friends, clients, and a whole world of strangers about our life. One reason is that I’m not a blogger. This isn’t how I make money. I have plenty of things that require my time and attention that take precedence over an online journal because they either a) keep my family alive or b) …make money that I use to keep my family alive. It’s not that I’m chasing the almighty dollar, in fact I’m running away from it. But it costs money to run this race… like a 5k. So it’s a vicious cycle of me running from money while throwing money away that I pick up along the way. Let me tell ya, it’s tiring.

I digress- vacations. Vacations should be relaxing. So why would I bring an infant? Infants aren’t, by definition, relaxing. Why sabotage my relaxation with a child. I’d like to reference reason “a” in the last paragraph- I need to keep my family alive. I can’t leave her alone, so I take her with me. Plus, I love my kid so we kick it together pretty often. But what did we do, as new parents, that made me avoid writing about our vacation sooner? Well… have you seen Black Fish?

No, this has nothing to do with the inhumane treatment of Orcas. It does have to do with Sea World, though, and that’s where this story starts. My wife and I love San Diego. I love the beach. We love ice cream on the beach. We love authentic mexican food close to the beach with pitchers of mojitos and we wanted to share all that with our child. Everything but the pitcher of mojitos. That’s a mommy/daddy beverage 🙂  (which we avoided this time around because of baby.)

So we’re in SoCal to do the SoCal thing and we thought, “Hey, we should bring Emma to Sea World!” Awesome, right? Best parents ever! 

Now, bringing an infant to a theme park doesn’t seem very logical. You can’t take them on the rides. You’re stuck waiting in long lines to ride by yourself while the other parent watches the kiddo. You’re spending a week’s worth of salary on nutrient deficient carnival food. So we want to avoid places like that until Emma’s old enough to enjoy it. DisneyLand for example, we’ll avoid that place for awhile. At least until ticket prices are double what they are currently… so like next month maybe? We knew Disneyland wouldn’t make an impression on her at this age, at least one that she would remember, but we didn’t want to leave feeling like we just got sunburnt and day drank with an infant covered in melted ice cream and sand. So we bought tickets to SeaWorld. 

“It’s like a giant aquarium, right?” I asked. “I guess,” my wife says reassuringly. It’s not a complete waste of money. We’re not missing out on rides or anything. Let’s do it!

Well, there are rides.

There are lines.

There are seas of strollers parked everywhere and carnival food that costs a week’s worth of salary.

But…there are also animal shows.

As we entered, we were prompted to gather around this pool that’s half above ground and half below ground (with a big viewing window into the deep end). This is where the dolphin trainers warmed up the stars for the dolphin show. A sort of pre-show informational session to learn you good about some porpuseses..es.. Dolphins.

So my good lady wife, Kelly, the eagle eye that she is, spots a shaded area close to the pool and strolls ahead to stake her claim. It was impressive, actually, the way she made a b-line right to the shade. She used that stroller like a seasoned mom in a crowded mall, clearing a path left and right like a battering ram that isn’t carrying a baby. Zero regard for the lives at stake. But hey, we got that shade, ya’ll. When we get up to the pool we notice a rope around it keeping people at a 2 ft distance from the outer wall. A trainer up on a platform says “We’ll drop the rope in 15 minutes so you can come up to the pool and pet the dolphins”

Awesome, 15 minutes to plan how we’re going to cherry pick our spot at the wall ahead of this growing crowd of people. 

Now, my wife is in full on mom-mode. “We’re not losing the shade”, she says. “We can’t get the stroller beyond these ropes”, she says. “Take the baby, put her in the the daddy saddle, and get to that dolphin”, she says.

“Aye Aye Cap’n”, says I.

Dropping the ropes in 5. 4. 3… I’m ready… 2… 1. And the ropes open at specific points no where near us to let in groups of school children wearing color coordinated shirts that flood past us and start filling OUR space!

I look back at my wife in disbelief and she looks at me as if to say, “Idiot man! Jump the rope! Destroy anything in your path! Get to the dolphin!”

At least that’s what I saw.

So I jump the rope. I look back and she rolls her eyes in frustrated approval as if to say, “Yep… duh. And?”

And like a shadow I blow past a sea of children and get my child up the pool wall. I successfully avoided any casualties, by the way. 

Now it’s time for the show and we have picked a cherry spot. I. Mean. Cherry.

There’s the pool, then right in front of us is a little platform area where the dolphin pops up to beach itself for your pleasure. And right there to make sure the dolphin doesn’t become derelict in it’s entertainment duties is a trainer. A trainer in a wetsuit not getting wet. Just standing there in the sun in a big rubber suit. 

So the dolphin comes up, does a few passes and people cheer. Then the big sunburnt trainer in the rubber suit calls the dolphin up to beach itself for our amusement. At that moment I reach out with a sea of children and touch it on its snout nose mouth thing. 

I amazed myself! I’ve always wanted to swim with dolphins, but changed my mind after this. They feel like a block of smooth wet rubber. I’m not getting in the water with that.

It’s then that I look back at my wife with a huge childish grin. I’m hoping to share this joy with her and ask if she wants to change places. She should be there with us enjoying all this and sharing all the people germs with our dolphin friends. She politely declines, but urges me to keep on having a good time. Now at this point I’ve realized a few things.

  1. I don’t want to swim with dolphins
  2. I’m in a cherry location
  3. That dad over there is holding his child over the deep end so he can pet the dolphin, too. Well, I’m in a location that is:
    1. Secured by the dolphin immobilizing beaching platform and
    2. Guarded by someone who is quickly turning into a raisin in a jumpsuit.

So I thought to myself, “My wife has silently urged me to the best dad I can be right now. I need to do something to win her approval. That dude got his kid to touch the dolphin. OK, next time this giant water based mammal has securely beached itself at a safe distance from us on it’s platform that is no more than an inch of water deep so it can frolic with these other children I’ll just take Emma a little bit (all the way) out of her carrier and let her touch the big rubbery fish.”

Golden!

And I do just that. I’m running over everything in my head- I’m at a safe distance. That dolphin isn’t getting any closer, that leggless bastard. If Emma does fall then I can just pick her up because the water is only an inch deep and dolphins aren’t known for eating people. If anything, they’re stereotypically known for saving people at sea, right? That guy over there did it; if there was a rule against it they’d have signs up. Plus we have this raisin looking trainer (God, someone please get her some sunblock) so in case something happens she’s there to help. Here we go.

The dolphin comes up. We lock eyes. I wink at it. It stares blankly at me, but I know it knows that I know that Emma’s gonna give it “gentle touches like we do with our puppy”. It beaches itself, opens its mouth slightly to smile at us and Emma is slightly taken out of her harness (all the way) and BAM. I’m struck by a dry raisin in a wet suit as it screams at me, “NO!”

Embarrassed I withdraw my child to the daddy saddle, turn to my wife for comfort and to clarify “why”. My loving wife looks at me as if to say, “@#$^ing idiot.”

So I jumped the ropes, ran away, and spent a week’s worth of salary on carnival food and pearl jewelry.

I didn’t know how to write this because honestly I wasn’t sure what my mom or Silver Fox would say. I had to tell them in person first before I told the world. In fact, I didn’t know how I felt until I thought about it for awhile. I mean, everything was awesome. I was going to get my kid to touch a dolphin!!! That would go down in awesome dad stories. But no. I was publicly shamed by someone in dire need of some Banana Boat. That shame sat with me for awhile and almost ruined my vacation. But I rallied. The rest of the trip rocked and I realized, if not for that raisin looking dry swimmer, my daughter would have been the youngest person ever to touch a dolphin (unverified).

Well, turns out that wasn’t concise at all. Let’s save the rest of the story for next week. Until then, welcome back to the internet to us and thanks for reading. Of course, as always, Happy Parenting!


1 Comment

Abiel

July 1, 2019at 7:15 pm

Haha! Nice. One day it will happen because the sun burnt tool won’t be there. Then you’ll get the golden smile from all and float on cloud nine!

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