Sunday, March 6, 2011

44 Inches

Well, we did it.  We survived Disney.  Or more aptly, Disney survived us.  It was a very fun, very exhausting trip, and I'm probably good if we don't go back until 44 inches.

Since I was technically there in Orlando on the Disney campus to increase my knowledge of neonatology, here is where I will reference the conference.  It was actually surprisingly fun.  My company knows how to throw a durn conference.  They had more food than a cruise ship, lots of good snacks, and all-you-can-drink Starbuck's coffee, which I think was to help some of us stay awake to play Words with Friends on our iPhones during the lectures that were over my head, such as, say, drug metabolism via the cytochrome p450 system in the liver.  I know, right?     

Chris was a real trooper babysitting the girls.  I know it's not technically babysitting when they are your own kids, but hello?  The dude actually flew, by his self with two itty bitties, and then entertained them for four days straight while I filled my head up with knowledge.  And he had to basically play princess make-believe the whole time, while I'm sure he'd rather be doing something more manly like remodeling a house or hunting bear (not really) or watching ESPN.  I give him a great tip of my hat for swallowing the Disney pill with a smile on his face and minimal, if any, complaints.  He earned his Mickey ears. 

So anyway, in the afternoons, when I would take leave of the lectures, we'd change into comfy shoes, fill the sippy cups, pile into the Magic Stroller and peddle on over to the parks. 

What's the Magic Stroller, you ask?  Well, let me just give a big ole royal-Disney-shout-out to the Magic Stroller.  Oh.  Ehm.  Gee.  This thing is the greatest concept ever.  I'm a smart girl.  Why couldn't I come up with something like this?  It's a stroller rental/delivery service.  You just go online and reserve your stroller with the mere tap of a few keys, and voila! - the Magic Stroller appears at your hotel's concierge desk ready for your kids to trash to whisk your kids away to the happiest place on earth.  The Disney strollers at the park were $31/day.  The Magic Stroller was nine, ya'll.  Nine dollars a day.  What a bargain.

At least, in Disney it was a bargain.  The most magical place on earth also happens to be the most expensive place on earth, but anyway, that's not the point.

Here I would like to point out that I think Walt Disney World is a well-oiled machine.  I mean!  They have everything down to a science.  If a parade starts at 3:00 pm, the parade starts at 3:00 pm.  Not 3:01, not 2:59.  Three, sharp.  You never see the floats or characters before the parade starts, it's like they - poof - magically appear, strains of happy music abounding, ready to wave and smile and sashay their way along Disney's faux conduits to joy.  Yes, I admit, I always had the feeling that everything was a bit contrived, especially the happiness of the characters and the personnel, but for the sake of my two children - especially Aria, who thought it was spectacular that Peter Pan actually waved to HER - I just went with it, and let myself get caught up in all the manufactured fun.

Thanks to my friends, the Disney-goer professionals, I was able to make reservations for a dinner with the princesses, which was probably one of the highlights of our trip.  It was Friday, and Aria decided she wanted to wear her full Cinderella costume - dress, headband, petticoat, and sparkly shoes - to the park, all day.  (I handed her a wand as we were walking out the door, which garnered me a big eye roll.  "Moooooommmm!  Cinderella doesn't carry a wand!"  Silly me.)  I took a change of clothes for her in the backpack, thinking she'd probably get tired of riding rides all day in that get-up, but no way, not my princess.  She stayed in that costume all dang day.  It was probably given the fact that everyone who worked at Disney would bow to her when they saw her.  Clever little marketing tactic, I admit.  And in true princess form, my child Ate. It. Up.

At the dinner, she met Belle, Snow White, Ariel, Jasmine, and Cinderella.  Halfway through the meal, which was Norweigan and I don't know why that's important except that I was pleased to see my children gobble up all that fish, they announced the little princes and princesses in attendance were invited to join the Big Princesses and process around the restaurant.  And dang if my child didn't hop right out of her chair, grab Snow White's hand, and process.  Oh, how she processed.

Princess Caroline enjoyed Disney too, although she's the kind of child who could enjoy just about anything.  Despite her early months of colic, she is a really low-maintenance baby, and as long as she had her sister by her side, a full belly, and a place to lay her head (Magic Stroller!), she just rolled with whatever we did.

So, in summary, here is what I learned in Orlando last week:

-Early Fentanyl exposure in premature babies reduces cerebellar width (don't you automatically feel smarter now?)
-I am somewhat less maladroit than before at interpreting neonatal head ultrasounds
-The Blue Man Group is really funny, and delivers a skewering moral message if you pay attention
-Both my kids love salmon (who knew?  Thank you, Norway)
-The caudate nucleus is the part of the brain responsible for memory
-We are not giving newborn premies enough protein in their IV fluids
-Maybe I have a small caudate nucleus, because I'm definitely not as good at Words with Friends as I thought I would be
-44 is the Disney Magic Number - it's the height, in inches, you have to be to ride all the cool rides

(The video is Aria dancing to a deejay spinning tunes with Pluto and the Chipmunks).

Dear Disney, thanks for the memories.  We really enjoyed it, but probably won't be back until 44 inches.  See ya then!  Love, The Thomas Family


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